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Angelo Branduardi - Concerto CD (album) cover


Angelo Branduardi

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A huge live recording that is making a great dissection of Angelo Branduardi's career (up to 'Gulliver').

This lengthy live record is a bit of an oddity: for a folk or progressive rock or italian music enthusiast it could be considered a gem. The biggest flaw - in my opinion - is actually the same characteristic that could be applied to the entirey Branduardi's catalogue - it's a bit soft , even from a folk point of view I think it's often missing the 'beef'. But don't let that discourage you, it's not 'new agey', and it's not to poppy neither. Musicianship is great - and if you enjoy RENAISSANCE for their technical side, you will enjoy this one too, it's only less 'hollow'.

It's a good dissection of Branduardi's work, varying from the calming folk lamentations to the toe-tapping pavanas, often stepping deeper into prog rock territory, with sudden changes of pace and mood. Some of the songs were sung in English (Old Men And Butterflies; The Song Of Eternal Numbers...) , there's a version of PENTANGLE's 'The Trees They Do Grow High', called 'Gli Alberi Sono Alti' (and it fits nicely signor Branduardi's voice), there's a fair amount of songs from each of his albums, and my two favourites are enchanting melody in 'Cogli La Prima Mela' and a great prog folk 'Il signore di Baux'. There's also a great usage of clarintets, oboas and ethnic percussions that realy made epic porg folk masterpiece - this live record contains a few more gems up its sleeve, but you should find it yourself.

My complaint, as usual, is a about the length of the record. Unlike many live records of the erea, this one is too long - while the material is very good, it's not always outstandingly excellent - which is not a bad thing per se, but at the end of the day, it does drag a bit. There's a moment when he's announcing every band member on stage..including the lighting technician. However, there's a lot to be appreciated, but it might require a while to get into and show itself in its full perspective: a huge, lengthy recording, varying from excellent to average folk. However, I recommend it.

Report this review (#179633)
Posted Friday, August 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars A live concert in Italian Progressive context. Very spacey, with lots of keiboards sounds and classic guitar parts. Liric in Italian that give a litle bit of comercial in this work. Some folk parts are broken with some psichedelic space rock parts. It's a good concert, boring for those that expect some music fast parts, but beautifful for those like some calm music with quality. It's a pure Italian Progressive but not so obscure just some Italian bands. When we listen public intervention we think that it's a popular musician in Italian Scene. Sound is nothing special but musicians performance give to this work, a quality that made a good adiction in Italian progressive collectors. I give 4 stars and recomended for all people that like progressive folk and calm Italian progressive rock.
Report this review (#284423)
Posted Tuesday, June 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Concerto", Branduardi's first ( and extremely huge - 3 vinyl LPs on 2 CDs ) Live Album followed three extremely successful studio-LPs and was meant to be "the best of everything", but it ended up as being "too much of everything" with, has to be said, an inferior sound. Don't get me wrong, it's very beautiful, but sometimes the performances are being stretched to over-length ( "Alla Fiera dell' est", "L'Uomo e la Nuvola", "La Luna" ) with rather self-indulgent noodling or intros than really outstanding performances, especially Branduardi's fiddling can strain at times - for he himself said he was not that good and here you can witness he was right - but that was then, and he became a great violinist during the years imo. It's a "big spectacle" nonetheless, comprising most of Branduardi's best loved tunes ( let's say the "most important" from all 5 of his previous studio-albums, some in English language such as "La Serie dei Numeri" ) performed by very good musicians and it's a treasure-box for his fans, but as often with big projects like that, it's not really keeping the promise of being that "ultimate collection" for the average record-buyer that intentionally ( and obviously ) had been aimed at, it's rather a welcome addition.

There are outstanding moments, especially "Gli alberi sono alti", "Donna Mia", "Confessioni di un Malandrino" - all from the second album and all rather intimate, brilliantly performed and not asking the man at the mixing-desk for too much . But with the full band he was overburdened more than once I think. While the previous studio-album "Cogli la prima mela" somewhat had suffered from over-production, this one - featuring recordings from several concerts small and big - rather suffers from under-production, with the full band's sound lacking body, bass and drums disappearing in the middle were most of the other instruments are gathering... and the acoustic guitars sound too flat. It's like an "alright bootleg", but when there's such an overweight in middle and higher frequencies and the instruments don't get their separate room while the singing doesn't really come upfront... oh my, every additional instrument is becoming too much and a big cake such as this is becoming a cake too big to swallow.

The medieval feast sure worked in the concerts itself with and for the audience, but at home... well, all the studio-albums are preferable if you're not that a big fan of the artist. Being a sonic disappointment already in its time, it's needless to say that It has not aged too well, in spite of some inspiring performances at keyboard/electric piano ( Franco di Sabatino ) and Maurizio Fabrizio's splendid guitars ( Branduardi himself is a good player, too, but what's really fascinating is the two of them together - "Confessioni" ! - with Fabrizio delivering the best ) that may really be something for the prog-lover. There's quite some tracks here on which Branduardi and his band were at their best, but in order to really appreciate it I'd need a better sound, for this one here it's 2 stars being appropriate, while the music itself gets a bare 4. The resulting rating has got to be 3, of course.

Branduardi himself does not seem to be keen to get this package re-released ( most of his albums have been on the "Tri Colori"-Label ! ), as far as I know it's out of print since many years after only having been released on CD by EMI at the end of the 90s and being deleted in the new millenium. It's not so bad that it wouldn't deserve better, but it's not quite essential if you're not a fan. It's a testament of its time, well worth the money cause this was Branduardi and his band on stage during their most successful phase, but it's not the best you can get - I recommend another "big package": buy as many studio-albums as you can get until you're not willing to follow anymore. That's what I did in the 90s. And lately ( 2009 ) I got hungry for more to discover that "Pane e Rose" or "Il Ladro" are somewhat underrated. I do not own "Concerto" anymore - only had it on vinyl - and I'd gladly re-buy it on CD later but it's far more interesting now to get stuff that followed "Domenica e Lunedi" for I'm quite satisfied with my studio-albums.

Report this review (#634867)
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars It was a triple vinyl. When a friend of mine, very fan of Branduardi purchased it, he was very excited and he immediately put on the first of the three albums. I should have been present at one of the gigs when it was recorded. I hitch-hicked all the day from Tuscany to Rome to be in Villa Pamphili on time, but when I arrived the concert was canceled for heavy rain and I had to find a way to get back home....of course I was very young.

When later that friends put the disc on, I didn't like it. The instrumental intros to almost all the songs appeared just "tied on" to make them sound a bit more rock or pop. I gave up listening to it at all and I went back on it only years later when I rediscovered some interest in Branduardi. It happened after meeting him in an airport. About 30 years were passed since the last time I saw him in a concert, and his expression was still the same. There should be something "true" in that man....

So I picked up the double CD and this is what I think today:

Let's first say that in the lineup we have people from the top of the RPI, almost the complete BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO, just to mention some.

A hint: the songs on this albums are sometimes different from the studio original versions. For comments specific to the tracks I remind you to the reviews of the studio albums. The songs have been recorded during the whole tour, anyway, so that some are translated into English.

The intro to "L'uomo e la Nuvola" is long and very different from the song. This is what I mean for "tied on". It takes to minutes before it becomes barely recognizable. Not that it's bad, surely it's more prog than folk and I think I've been to harsh actually. It's tied on but not so disconnected. A three minutes song here is about 12 minutes long (9 of intro). This is one of the reasons why this album is so long.

"Tanti Anni Fa" has a country arrangement. Unfortunately Angelo was entering in the 80s when he attempted some failing experiments with country-blues, guesting Jorma Kaukkonen on one of his worst albums. This is how a song shouldn't be massacred.

"The Stag" was one of the most representative songs of Branduardi. The people claps at the first notes and the arrangement includes some Bouzuki. This transforms what originally was a sort of Andes song into a Greek/Mediterranean one. Only the pan flute preserves the original ambient.

"Under The Lime Tree" has an arrangement more rich than the original in terms of instruments, but it's almost the same song.

Now the classic: "Alla Fiera Dell'Est". The most famous Branduardi's song, the one which made of him a pop star has some added instrumental parts. Those interludes are poorer than the original violin solo, or maybe I loved so much the orginal violin solo that I can't stand with this version. After the claps comes a tarantella played by traditional instruments, then a repetitive violin starts an instrumental crescendo...and we are back to the song. Maybe on stage it worked well but I really prefer the studio version. I remember him playing a long violin solo a couple of year before, really better than this.

"Se Tu Sei Cielo" is not bad. This version is probably better than the studio one.

What comes after is Branduardi's masterpiece. "Confessioni di un Malandrino", from his first album is still today the best thing he has ever written. As usual, he plays classical guitar and vocals alone with a second guitar in the back. The lyrics are a poetry of the Russian poet Esenin. The one he wrote as farewell with his own blood before committing suicide.

After that song, "Il Gufo E Il Pavone" seems insipid.

"La Pulce D'Acqua", title track of one of his most successful albums is quite identical to the studio version.

"Lady" comes from the early albums and differs from the original only for the English lyrics.

It's singular that after some Italian songs translated into English we have a traditional British translated into Italian. "Gli Alberi Sono Alti" is "The Trees They Do Grow High". I know versions from Pentangle, Kay McCarthy amd am instrumental version of Blackmore's Night.

"Old Man And Butterflies" is arranged funky. It looses all the emotional and dreamy flavor of the original. Well played but I think the wrong arrangement for this song, and the first CD is gone.

The second CD is opened by "Il Signore Di Baux". It's a good start for this second part f the concert which contains the songs which are most connected to the medieval music with an arrangement that's the most prog thing of the whole live. A great performance, IMO.

Now a song that has a particular meaning for me and is massacred by a sort of Hawaiian arrangement, not only the slide guitar doesn't have anything to do with it. I can't understand what the drummer is doing on this song. The song is good even with this arrangement.

The addition of a piano intro to "Donna Mia" is not bad. Not all the arrangements of this album are bad. The piano on the original was more classically oriented.

"Re Di Speranza" has an intro useful just to give room to the instrumentist. Those excursions into country/blues/funk are a symptom of the bad that will come in the 80s. A song killed by a completely inappropriate arrangement. What did they have in mind? Of course this rhythm works well live, but this is not what I was looking for hitch-hiking under the rain.

Another title track for another successful album. "Cogli La Prima Mela" is one of those songs that Mr Blackmore would be happy to play and this time the added intro is medieval and really not bad. It doesn't have anything to do with the song but it's a good piece of medieval music with a second, Middle-Eastern, movement. More than an intro it's a proper instrumental. Since when the song starts it's quite close to the original.

"La Luna", is another title track, of the album that I prefer from the early ones. The guitar intro after seashore noises in the initial passages reminds me to "In The Court Of Crimson King", but just for few passages. Regardless KC, this intro is very good even if, as for most of the intros of this live, it doesn't have anything to do with the song. It's just tied on. The second part of the intro is based on the song's melody, then it proceeds for 6 minutes as an intrumental track, so that a 3 minutes song is extended to 10. Maybe a bit too much but not bad.

"The Song Of Eternal Numbers" (aka La Serie Dei Numeri) is conformant enough to the original and is one of the highlights from "Alla Fiera Dell'Est".

Now another classic with a singular story. Both Branduardi and Blackmore have taken inspiration from the same medieval song. None of the two has copied the other. Both have copied from the history. The subject of the song is Death, so the dark instrumental intro doesn't sound bad and is also one of the most prog moments of the album. You have to wait about 4 minutes before getting into "Ballo in Fa Diesis Minore".

"The Lady And The Falconer" is another good song opened by Branduardi's solo voice.

Finally Angelo introduces the whole crew before closing the gig with "Il Poeta Di Corte", another of his most famous songs. Unfortunately the tempo is too fast respect to the original. Good to close a live, but this song would have deserved a better treatment.

This double CD is a good introduction to Branduardi's early albums, but even with excellent elements on stage, it doesn't add much to the song, and sometimes the live versions destroy the originals. It's a pity. I have seen Branduardi on stage several times before, and he wasn't used to arrange his songs so heavily. I have the impression that he has actually been forced by his label, so even if full of good songs and excellent musicianship I'm really generous in giving it 3 stars.

Any of the first 4 studio albums of Branduardi is light years better than this live.

Report this review (#755931)
Posted Monday, May 21, 2012 | Review Permalink

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