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Angelo Branduardi - Cogli la prima mela CD (album) cover


Angelo Branduardi


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.35 | 18 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars The follow-up to the ( magnificent ) "La Pulce d'Acqua" has been produced in Germany and, having been another huge success, ranks amongst Branduardi's "Classics". Songwise, "Cogli la prima mela" surely does belong to his very best, with the title track being one of his best remembered tunes, beautifully crafted melodic ballads like "Colori", "La Raccolta" and cleverly arranged ear-wigs such as "Il Signore di Baux" or "Donna ti Voglio Cantare"... but the album fails to be as good as its predecessors, still.

With the success of "Alla Fiera dell' Est" and "La Pulce D'Acqua" and the money available, Branduardi and his team decided to go for a "big" and heavily orchestrated production. This is not necessarily a mistake when the music is a marriage of classical influences and folklore while both have a distinct medieval flavor, but here they simply went too far and did too much, there's a lack of space and spontaneity with especially the "faster" tracks ( actually rather mid-tempo with the exception of "Donna" ) sounding overloaded and hastened.

The "Hit" was a deserved one but every time I'm listening to this original version I simply wish for it to be just a little slower and more emotional, and a sparser arrangement would not have been a loss, same for "Donna ti voglio Cantare" that sounds as if the orchestra was in a hurry too, trying hard to hit every note in time, it's been performed too strictly.

The low points are "La Strega" and "Il Gufo e il Pavone", two songs that, though performed in perfect tempo, fail to be the uplifting, funny tracks they were supposed to be ( you can hear the intention - in the footsteps of f.e. "Sotto il Tiglio" and "Il Poeta di Corte" ! ), because they sound too formulaic, unspooled with the aim to make them as perfect as possible and therefore losing their life.

"Se tu se Cielo" is a good example of a very beautiful ballad that has been over-produced as well. So much going on at one time - even electric guitar - and the whole thing gets drowned in strings, with Branduardi's voice padded inside - it simply doesn't deliver the emotion that's in there ! Those songs are close to being wasted no matter how good they are, and that's close to being a tragedy - this album would at least be as good as its predecessor if only the musicians wouldn't have been caged in a corset, allowed to relax and perform just as free as the bits of electric guitar sometimes are pointing at: improvising free, even jazzy.

Having said that, the album benefits from the orchestration on the other songs, "Il Signore di Baux" is very impressive and remains my favourite track, and "Colori" as well as "La Raccolta" are being taken into ballad-heaven, their melodies sounding on and on. The closing track starts out a wonderful meditation that finally makes up for the hastened moments, evolving into a "finale grande", superb.

Another plus is: although we really hear a formula - no other Branduardi-Album does sound like this. It's special for its great moments as well as its flaws and it's not emotionless, it's only over-produced and sounding strained at times. I don't see this as a sign of "prog - influence", though. It's typically Branduardi. It's traditional music, only with a few jazzy colours from electric piano and electric guitar added ( very beautiful: the ending of "Colori" ), flavours, not inventions - there's far more of it on the first album. And it's been a strictly commercial move in order to deliver some more entertainment as was expected - not an artistic adventure - you know, classical orchestration doesn't make things progressive, it's fitting like a glove and is rather easy listening.

No problem. Shortly afterwards Branduardi himself admitted that the album was over-produced. He promised to "make the next one more intimate and lively". The next ( studio ) one was an old one with one new song... but it really kept the promise to me cause I did not know "La Luna". It was all new to me and I was positively surprised with it. It became my favourite Album of the artist. I still like "Cogli la prima mela" but I can't give it more than three stars on this site - and personally it's 3.5, really. The albums that were to follow weren't as succesful as this - and I think that it has something to do with the straining effects that this album can have. A formula doesn't have to be wrong. But being treated like this it can wear out fast, in spite of all the qualities. The "real new ( studio ) album" that was to come is an underrated one, though.

rupert | 3/5 |


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