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Le Orme - Florian CD (album) cover


Le Orme


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.81 | 138 ratings

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5 stars By 1979 progressive rock was a kind of music on the wane. While some bands tried to survive turning to pop or even to disco music, Le Orme went against the tide and released an amazing album with a strong classical flavour, "Florian". All the tracks were completely played with classical instruments and this work sounds like a kind of "ante-litteram unplugged" blending classical chamber music and progressive rock forms. The line up here features Aldo Tagliapietra (violoncello, classical guitar and vocals), Antonio Pagliuca (piano harpsichord and harmonium), Michi Dei Rossi (vibraphone, marimba, glockenspiel and percussion) and Germano Serafin (violin, acoustic guitar, bouzouki and mandola). In studio they were helped by their historic producer Gian Piero Reverberi and the result is excellent.

The opener title track is a beautiful long and complex instrumental. Well, Florian is the name of an ancient, famous and typical Café located in the main square of Venice, Piazza San Marco, where you can usually listen to classical music while sipping a drink and this piece tries to evoke a timeless and dreamy atmosphere. Violin, piano, vibraphones and percussion perfectly interact drawing magnificent musical landscapes where lights and shadows chase each other. From Venice in the past the ships of the merchants set off on the routes leading to the Middle East. On this album from Venice we can set off on a musical journey through the Mediterranean Sea as well...

Our next destination is "Jaffa", an ancient port on the coast of Israel. Music is delicate and dreamy while lyrics contain some references to the Holy Bible. "Long time ago Moses struck a rock with his staff / And the coolest water sprung out from nothing / The sun hid itself, bread came down from the sky / And peace came back...". It's just a way to make you reflect on the present... Today they dig a dream on the hot sand and a river of sweat waters new roots while a new paradise comes into view and the desert smells of orange flowers. Well, Israel is one of the main producers of orange fruits and it's a paradox that they have to destroy large amounts of oranges just to keep high the market price while nearby so many people are starving... "In my country the old olive trees are praying / They hold necklaces of black pearls / The golden fruits that the sun gives you like dew are seeding rage, sacrificed in the ditches...".

The lively and sarcastic "Il mago" (The wizard) warns you against false promises and charlatans... "I met a wizard who can cure any ill / He can save you from evil spells and drive envy away / He spies the planets in the sky and manages your future...". According to an old interview with the band the character of the wizard was inspired by the then president of the U.S.A. Jimmy Carter and by his ephemeral recipes for peace, "good like peanuts!". Music has a strong Mediterranean flavour and in the lyrics you can even find some references to the Odyssey... "Pick up the omen Circe, your spells are outdated... Follow the new charm / Peace rules all over the world / What a magic power has a charming smile...". It's a fact that peace in the Middle East is still a very difficult goal but who can tell what kind of surprises the future will reserve to us?

"Pietro il pescatore" (Peter the fisherman) was inspired by the character of St. Peter. Music is quiet and dark... "The sea is silent in the mystery / It doesn't give you its treasures anymore / What have you done my dear old Peter during this long winter? Maybe your nets are corroded by time...". Here the character of St. Peter is a metaphor to describe a difficult moment for the Catholic Church that seemed incapable to understand the needs of the new generations... "Listen to these voices coming from afar / Now they're crossing sacred mountains and large rivers / You stand still on the cliff to contemplate another sunset / While the echo frees new truths in the evening songs...".

"Calipso" (Calypso) is another committed track dedicated to the United States of America. Calipso was a nymph in Greek mythology who lived on the island of Ogygia where she kept Odysseus for many years. According to the band, here Calipso is a metaphor of the U.S.A. keeping Italy in a golden captivity through their politics. But Italy is by now a country which follows the way lighted by the immense statue of Calipso, the statue of Liberty... "Set your beloved hero free / You welcomed and fed him / Now he's very sad / He want his country back / Even if the night was so warm under the starred flag... Set your beloved hero free / He's a friend of your dreams / Now he's awake, you know / He can't wait for the day / Even if the night was so warm under your starred flag...". There is no rage, the music is sweet and melodic. The band express their love for some American ideals and dreams but you can also find in this track the pride for their Italian roots leading to the quest for a new freedom...

"Fine di un viaggio" (End of a journey) is a fine track about the end a musical journey. A delicate classical guitar arpeggio and soaring vocals set the atmosphere... "Here the long journey you made came to an end / Now you have to wake up from your sleep / I leave you to your destiny / I'm not following you anymore / My ship has reversed its course / Stop to dream, my friend...". Well, in 1979 the magic ship of prog could seem just as a wreck, as an useless shadow to forget and it was high time to change musical direction, to drop out the drums and to go out looking for new sounds...

We are now back in Venice for the last track of the album, the long instrumental "El gran senser". In the dialect of Veneice the "senser" is a matchmaker, one who arranges or tries to arrange marriages... In this track the band manage to blend the classical legacy of Antonio Vivaldi with more experimental forms. Just close your eyes and imagine to walk through "calli", "ponti" and "campielli", the streets, the bridges and squares of Venice while breathing the magic of time. When you're tired you can sit in a café in Piazza San Marco and listen to this album again...

andrea | 5/5 |


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