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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Storia Di Un Minuto CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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5 stars So beautiful melodies and arrangements!!! Masterpiece. Moreover, it's pretty skillfully performed. Extraordinarily rich music. These guys seem to be overflowing with ideas and it's too sad the album is so short. I heard even some celtic inflections (4th piece).. But 2nd side goes so deep into mind - there is no time to think of the origin of this stream, flowing through your brain, imbedding in your memory and making feel magnificent and ineffable pleasure. It's just a paradise for true Art-Rock admirer. Strongest recommendations! Friends, you'll love it :-)
Report this review (#15788)
Posted Tuesday, December 16, 2003 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

PFM's debut SDUM (Story a minute long) must certainly rank among the best "premičres ouvres" in the music world (and certainly of Italy with QVL and PDP's respective debut) ever published and unlike many other such works, it had the chance of wide public notice. But in fact of experiences, these fives were no rookies at all, and had way more experience than their average competition. Recorded in late 71 and early 72, SDUM was released early 72 and obviously they had heard some of the UK canons of the genre such as KC, ELP, GG and even Genesis whom had toured for the first time in their country. The album has a superb contrasting gatefold artwork, hinting at dark (night at the back) and bright (day at the front of the album) history that obviously lasts more than a minute since it seems to come down from prehistory (the inner gatefold), but on galactic time, man's history is about a minute's time.

After the short self-explanatory Introduzione, (which I find a good condensé of what PFM is about), the group's best known track comes in triumphantly, taking its inspiration between KC's debut (the drumming could be Giles') and ELP's Lucky Man, but adding a typically pompous Italian slant. Starting on sizzling guitar riff Festa could've been an early 70's British heavy prog song (ala Atomic Rooster) if it had an organ instead of moog answering the riffs, but soon enough a piccolo and weird Focus-like vocals interrupt the reverie and the madness continues, with the mellotron holding the centre of the debate.

One of the rare real critics I have for this album is the way they divided the album centrepiece over the two sides of the vinyl, but this less a problem on the Cd. Dove Quando's first movement starts in typical PFM fashion, having those soft vocals over mostly acoustic music that is close to classical music (at times) The second part is an instrumental expansion of the musical themes developed in its first movement, but dares pushing a little jazz in the arrangements. And a bit later going wild in the call and response. Both Han's Car and Thanks are excellent tracks that are again within the realm of the music developed on the A-side of the album.

Rumours has it that these seasoned veterans chose to play this album live in the studio and I can easily believe it as it's got an exciting feel to it that other PFM albums don't. And if this was indeed true (live in studio), why the hell didn't they apply the same treatment to the patchy PUA and the soporific LIDN.

Report this review (#15792)
Posted Thursday, February 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is another absolutely essential Italian progressive jem from the '70's. "Storia Di Un Minuto" contains some of PFM's finest moments and stands alone as perhaps thier most notable release ever. This masterpiece is full of great songs and musicianship with some of the most memorable songs of the '70's. This would certainly rank up there on the scale of most popular Italian prog releases.
Report this review (#15795)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars PFM and Italian Progressive Rock are almost synonymous; the band is often used as a benchmark against which other Italian bands are measured ("Do they sound like PFM?"). This is understandable, as PFM were in a class of their own. The musicianship and consummate songwriting is immediately evident on this, their first album.

"Storia Di Un Minuto", "Per Un Amico" and "L'Isola Di Niente", the first three PFM Italian albums, are all Progressive Rock classics. In fact I also like the Anglicised versions of these ("Photos Of Ghosts" and "The World Became The World") plus quite a bit of PFM's later music too, even though the band developed a more jazzy and pop sound and became less Progressive.

The music on this album is so melodious, with oodles of acoustic guitar, piano, synthesizer, Mellotron and organ. Not forgetting bass, drums, flute and violin. The sounds from these instruments are weaved together expertly and provide a joyous musical texture. Frankly, this music sounds so good I couldn't care less what genre of music it comes from.

I like all the tracks very much, but the more well-known are 'Impressioni di Settembre', 'Č Festa' and 'La Carrozza Di Hans', these becoming the band's anthems at concerts by all accounts. No wonder, as they are superb. I marvel at how 'together' each track sounds. 'Č Festa' (which could be translated as "it's a party", "it's party time" or "it's festivity") is almost onomatopoeic: it's so vivacious, so infectious that I put it on sometimes just to get a lift. Great bass, guitar, keyboards, drums and flute. 'Grazie Davvero' is also a favourite of mine, with calm parts, big-band sounding parts, great acoustic guitar, and melody, melody, melody.

I can't really say which other bands, if any, the music reminds me of, although it does feel very Italian in style and there are definitely some reminders of classical music, perhaps baroque, plus Italian country tunes. I like the way the music is constructed: there are many changes in melody, tempo and mood in each track.

'Č Festa' plus the tracks from the band's second album "Per Un Amico" were rehashed with English lyrics (except 'Il Banchetto', which stayed in Italian) by Pete Sinfield for the PFM album "Photos Of Ghosts", released by ELP's Manticore Records and which is perhaps better known outside Italy. So if you are familiar with "Photos of Ghosts" you will recognise 'Č Festa' on "Storia Di Un Minuto" instantly, and you should be delighted to hear for the first time the band's anthem 'La Carrozza Di Hans' (I like so much the calm interludes using acoustic guitar, vocals and organ). The original vocals in Italian on all these songs are very pleasant indeed.

Even though the album came out in 1972 the music does not sound at all dated. At only 34 minutes, it's over all too quickly but, as with PFM's other albums, I get up feeling invigorated. In my opinion this album is a classic and I unreservedly recommend it to you. I cannot give this album anything other than 5 stars. Don't hesitate to get it.

Report this review (#15797)
Posted Saturday, July 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I got sometime to get used to it, first are two great rock tracks, then comes classic music influence with great acoustic guitar in dove quando, and jazz in dove II falling in the crazy stop-and-go of la carrozza di hans, ending with the classic piece of grazie davvero that leaves a blend ofan alien feeling in the end when the acustic guitars call you back in a misterious way.
Report this review (#15798)
Posted Thursday, July 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
Tony R
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars 5 Star Masterpiece-no doubt at all. Buy this album and cherish it with its two siblings "Per Un Amico" and "L'isole Di Niente".Right up there with the best Genesis in my view! First up,most reviewers seem to fall into two camps:English lyrics or Italian lyrics? Me,overall I prefer the Italian originals as the vocalist seems to struggle with the English ones,which is by no means a criticism.

PFM throw every "Prog" instrument into the mix to wonderful effect. Acoustic guitar, flute,Moogs and Mellotrons, and violin. It all blends so fantasticaly well,with wonderful melodies and moods.Magical.

Standouts, if you can call them standouts on an album this good:E Festa-a riotous, joyous, bombastic workout with its infectious keyboards and anthemic hooks. Impressioni di Settembre is beautiful and a masterpiece of 70's prog meets classical subtlety - this track is so wonderful. Heck, the two Dove Quando tracks are brilliant too and so is La Carrozza di Hans.

At 34 minutes the album is short but perfectly formed and as other reviewers have noted - it all still sounds so fresh. The songwriting and performance are right out the top drawer- definitely one to own and show off!

Report this review (#15806)
Posted Saturday, May 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album undoubtedly debit of the majority of the progress. was considered to be a masterpiece of the italian progressive .from here bands took PFM's example. As for the music it is of the major quality and it is possible to estimate the style that is forging from here up to the final.this time it is not the apex of what is premiata but assurance gave step to which everything else suggests. Impressione di spetembre it is like a anthem for my . And "e festa" is incredibly well realized by it. Dove quedando 1 and 2 are specially sweet and you feel an atmosfera of easing going theme. The last two pieces are from more than 8 minutes. "The carroza hans" is also together with grazie davvero of the more special and beautiful compossitions that i have heard. this one of the maxim expression of what is the Italian porgressive. The first time that i herad this i was totally amazing about the sound and the well maded pieces. and also by the new and innovate thing here. totally remomended for anyone who likes the good italian progressive music.pfm need to be recognized as the great band that it always been. the italian progressive its very underrated by many of the progressive listeners but just hearing this youll change you way to see things about music and also life. A VERY VERY VERY must have.
Report this review (#36582)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my opinion this is the greatest classic prog album. I think it's a little bit underrated because they're an italian band, but this album is better than English masters like Yes or Genesis. An essential masterpiece in every aspect, the inspiration, the melody, the technical skills, the arrangements, the lyrics. Every prog fan must face this masterpiece: essential!!!
Report this review (#36849)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Pastoral, symphonic Italian masterpiece. To think that this was their first album and they used not just the basic guitar, bass and drums but flutes, violin, some brass and the mighty melotron is just incredible. And speaking of the melotron, they use it for dramatic effect as well as King Crimson and Genesis. Song-wise, there isn't one over seven minutes but they use every second magnificently. Take "E-festa" for example, for a song under five minutes, it incorporates numerous time changes, uses many instruments, yet rocks and is extremely memorable, if it's not one of the greatest prog songs under five minutes you'll have to prove it. "Storia di un Minuto" and the next two albums by PFM are at the pinnacle of symphonic prog rock, wholely original, beautiful, and essential. For those who want to try out the Italian scene, give it a spin and tell me you're not impressed. A no-brainer five star album.
Report this review (#37039)
Posted Monday, June 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars 33 years have passed since the release of this album: but it is still now absolutely actual... And, if you go to their live show (this summer is forecasted in the Americas), you will listen to a great part of it. As underlined by somebody, this PFM first album is perhaps their best, even though PFM kept their style (together with their lineup DiCioccio-Mussida-Premoli, soon joined - in 1974 - by P.Dijvas coming from Area) for all their career, up to now (the only difference is the fact that now not always - and rarely in today live shows, in that case you'll be lucky... - is present the violin, that saw two great performers such as Pagani first and Fabbri then). This album is very clean, full of players outstanding performance, and show a fantastic merge of themes and instruments, plus the typical italian athmosphere. All of the pieces are in fact masterpieces, with a great amount of innovation, meaning that it is "new" even today! "La carrozza di Hans" is (perhaps?) the most various piece, sweet and strong, soft and loud, suspended and never-ending (something similar to "E' festa"), with the violin (solos) at its apex, and the instruments running after each other in a simply unique way. "E' festa" is quite an opera piece, combined with the strenght of rock, while the organ movements of "Impressioni di settembre" are PFM trademark. Better to listen to it, instead of writing what words can't express.
Report this review (#38046)
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
5 stars The debut album "Storia di un minuto" has strong echoes from early King Crimson, especially the 'feminine' side. In general the seven compositions (all around the 5 minutes) contain beautiful and mellow climates featuring lots of acoustic guitar, soaring keyboards and warm vocals, interfered by bombastic Mellotron drenched eruptions and fat synthesizers. At other moments you can hear shifting moods with fiery electric guitar and swinging rhythms. The highlight is the track "Dove-Quando Part Two" delivering a great variety and a wide range of instruments, from flute, piano and violin to organ and electric guitar. IT'S ONLY 34 MINUTES BUT I PREFER QUALITY ABOVE QUANTITY, THIS IS A CLASSIC ALBUM SO I CONTINUE THE FIVE STAR PARTY!!
Report this review (#39525)
Posted Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Debut work announced in Italy in 1971 "Storia Di Un Minuto". It the Italian locks to the content wonderful. The technique must be superb of all differences from other groups. There are energy and grace in Italy. It is a tune that provides with construction and the delicacy. Music is exactly made though as for this work, there seem to be a lot of expression of feelings and obedient tunes. The performance is also extremely exact. The melody is extraordinary and beautiful. It is a work of a super-first class.
Report this review (#45549)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A powerful and beautiful album that despite its obvious debt to King Crimson and Genesis has a potent identity all of its own.

An emotive Italian response to the mellotron dominated and more pastoral elements of early UK Progressive Rock, perhaps the greatest compliment Per Un Amico can be given is that it's wholly worthy of being considered alongside the likes of Nursery Cryme and In The Wake Of Poseidon.

An excellent sense of drama and dynamics, coupled with unexpected arrangements and haunting melodies, make this a classic of the unfairly underrated Italian Prog scene.

Report this review (#56196)
Posted Sunday, November 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars WONDERFUL! A real great opera. One of the best known progressive rock bands to come out of Italy is Premiata Forneria Marconi, or PFM. They actually had the benefit of having international exposure because they recorded for ELP's Manticore label and recorded in English (with help from Peter Sinfield, the same lyricist for King Crimson and later ELP). But their first two albums, Storia di un Minuto and Per Un Amico, both from 1972, were released only in Italy and sung in Italian, but both are very highly regarded as some of that country's greatest prog rock. The fine playing of Mauro Pagani, Franco Mussida and Flavio Premoli, despite the lack of a good role singer (always one of their limits), create a highly regarding sound that's still valid today Possibly the best album ever released. Songs like the second one IMPRESSIONI DI SETTEMBRE or E FESTA are beautiful! They took the best of early genesis, gentle giant, the sound of the symphonic early King Crimson and made it their own. Simply one of the all-time great Italian prog albums. While many people might be more familiar with the English-language conterpart, Photos of Ghosts, to me, I think the original Italian language version is much superior, as they aren't stumbling with the English language, and it sounds more natural. This was their second album in one year (1972). Mauro Pagani does some amazing playing on flute. The band was obviously influenced by English prog groups, Genesis in particular. I usually criticize bands that are overly imitative of other groups, but this album is a perfect example of the difference between being influenced by something and just imitating it. PFM have enough originality to make the Genesis style of symphonic prog their own/ A must.
Report this review (#59205)
Posted Monday, December 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars An attempt is made here to piece together a history of P.F.M. from their earliest days. My knowledge of the band is rather limited and the information that follows has been collected from bits and pieces that I have found on the Internet. I welcome all contributions particularly from any Italians who stumble upon this humble website and can share some knowledge on the band.

It is safe to say that P.F.M. was probably the only Italian progressive rock band to have enjoyed an international success. Some people have described them as being an Italian "Genesis" but clearly in their earliest work King Crimson was a more powerful influence. However, this is not meant to label them as a copy of King Crimson as they had what can best be described as a unique "P.F.M." sound.

The band originated from a group called Quelli (Those Ones) which consisted of Franco "Yoghi" Mussida on guitar and vocals, Franz Di Cioccio on drums, Giorgio Piazza on bass and Flavio Premoli on keyboards. They were later joined by Antonio "Teo" Teocoli as well on guitar and with Alberto Radius who replaced Franco Mussida when he left to do his military service.

Quelli were quite successful in Italy mainly by doing Italian cover versions of foreign artists such as 'Per Vivere Insieme' ('Happy Together' by the Turtles) or 'Tornare Bambino' ('Hole in My Shoe' by Traffic). Due to their musical skills the group was also very popular and requested in recording studios as session musicians. They played for Mina, Battisti, Nomadi, Camaleonti and even at international events where they had to play 'hidden' behind stage while somebody else was monkeying about in the limelight!

Teocoli left the group to work in a cabaret and Radius later left the band to set up "Formula 3" when Mussida returned from the army.

In autumn of 1970 Di Cioccio, Mussida, Premoli and Piazza formed a new band, which was in need of a name. After spending a few days toying with a bunch of silly words the names "Isotta Fraschini" (a famous car name) and "Forneria Marconi" (a pastry shop in Brescia county, Italy) were left standing. The band preferred the name "Forneria Marconi" but felt that something was missing. Alessandro Colombini the artistic director of Numero Uno, the label they were signed to, suggested the word "Premiata". "Premiata" was a title awarded to famous craftsmen and it fit in well with the ideals of the band. So in the end "Premiata Forneria Marconi" was born. The name in a nutshell translates into English as "Marconi's Award-Winning Bakery", "P.F.M." for short. Not everyone at Numero Uno liked the name but the band stuck with it based on their philosophy: difficult to remember, more difficult to forget.

At this time P.F.M. was joined by Mauro Pagani who 'melted in' perfectly with the progressive ideas of the group. In 1971 they played as support band for Yes, Black Window, Deep Purple and Procol Harum. With King Crimson as their inspiration they wrote 'Impressioni di Settembre' using a synthesiser which was at that time quite unusual in Italy. Both the first and the second albums were great successes due (mostly) to the outstanding qualities of Mauro Pagani who on stage was equal to musicians like Ian Anderson and Darryl Way.

In 1973 the group signed a contract with the Emerson Lake & Palmer owned label 'Manticore'. This saw the release of their third album, "Photos of Ghosts", which was basically an English version of "Per un amico", their second album. Pete Sinfield, of King Crimson, wrote English lyrics (not direct translations of the Italian ones) for most of songs on this album. An English version of 'Č festa' from the first album was also added plus an instrumental song entitled 'Old Rain'. Oddly enough at this point in time Pagani became 'Paganini' outside of Italy due to his performance on the violin.

P.F.M. toured the US as a support band for Santana, the J. Geils Band, the Beach Boys, Poco, Frank Zappa, the Eagles, the Allman Brothers and ELP. At this stage Jan Patrick Djivas, from Switzerland, had replaced Giorgio Piazza on bass.

Their fourth album "L'isola di niente" followed and was again released with English lyrics by Sinfield under the name "The World Became The World". An English version of 'Impressioni di Settembre' was added and given the title track of the album. The association with Sinfield ended at this point and as Pete was kind enough to write me I shall allow his own words to shed some light on this period in the P.F.M. story.

"The boys did ask me to write the lyrics to "Chocolate Kings". I remember it well one evening at Greg Lake's house, if I would write the words for what was to become that album. However they insisted, as folk do on the cusp of success, that I must pay more attention to what 'they' wished to say and that it must be much more political and anti the US involvement in Vietnam. Since I lean naturally to the left, as it were, that should not have been a problem. However I declined. One because I had other work to finish, two because I couldn't face the thought of more endless vocal sessions but most importantly because I could not comprehend the irony of a European band on the verge of acceptance in the USA wishing to piss on their audience. The political views of the band at that time went from left to right. . .I wonder if you can guess which one was the 'communist' with a holiday home in Sardinia."

It is an unfortunate footnote that the Americans labelled P.F.M.'s style during this period "Spaghetti-Rock".

In 1975 Bernardo Lanzetti joined the group with vocals on "Chocolate Kings". Many people described his style in terms of Peter Gabriel (with laryngitis) but the album was far away from the direction of Genesis at any time in their career. Lanzetti's voice might well be judged as one of the best ever in Italian Rock Music. After the 1976 tour Pagani left the group to return to teaching and studying. He was shortly replaced by Gregory Bloch (violin for Mark Almond and It's a Beautiful Day) for the recording of "Jet Lag". At this point they embarked on their fourth and last US tour.

The following albums "Passpartů" and "Suonare Suonare" saw a lot of personnel changes with exceptions of Franz Di Cioccio and Franco Mussida. The band collaborated with Fabrizio De André for an Italian Tour of his music, which was later released as 2 albums. The album "Suonare Suonare" clearly shows the influence of this collaboration.

The beginning of the '80s saw a less internationally minded P.F.M. with all of their music geared toward the Italian market. Their later music became less 'progressive' and more accessible in a 'pop music' vane. Nonetheless P.F.M. have shown throughout their musical career, talent, versatility and an ability to venture into new directions without succumbing to the repetition of a set formula.

P.F.M. reunited in 1997 and produced a concept album entitled "Ulisse". They made radio and television appearances in Italy and an Italian tour in the fall and winter of 97/98 produced their latest live album " (il Best)".

Report this review (#73760)
Posted Saturday, April 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars 1975 was a great year for me: just entering my 18th, becoming officially an adult (according to Brazilian laws), getting my driver's license, being able to go to wherever I wanted, starting the University, etc. I'm quite sure that it was also in 1975 that I realized that the music I'd listened to for a couple of years until then was named progressive. It was the year I met PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI.

I believe that the 2 first PFM's albums were released in Brazil in the previous year although I wasn't aware, but when I got into them a new world flourished for me. Then, progressive was not an exclusivity of English-speaking bands and the Italian language fitted very well for the genre: some mediaeval spelling mixed with the tongue's modern sweetness gave a special flavor to the genre. Hearing "Storia Di Un Minuto" was and still is a great experience - a fantastic one when I remember my first time.

We didn't know at the time but now we know clearly that PFM line-up was outstanding: Mussida is a great guitar player, many times overlooked when compared with other guitarists; Di Cioccio, a splendid drummer furtherly to become a successful and charismatic front man; Pagani and Premoli, both skilful and talented and the forgotten Piazza, a fair bass player - his later replacement by Djivas added even more quality to the band. This gathering of craftsmanship helped to bring Italian prog to a deserved front row and to place PFM among the most expressive actors in the prog scene.

The general production is fair specially if one considers this to be the first band album (in fact, PFM existed previously with a different name). For some reason, even do not knowing the album content there's a feeling that we are facing a great work - more or less as we feel with King Crimson's first output. Opening track, properly named 'Introduzione' starts in a lazy manner only to give room to a powerful final section that acts like a really overture for the following songs.

'Impressioni di Settembre' is now a classic prog song and not only in Italy; the way the theme is developed bears the characteristic which shall be a kind of PFM's trademark: a slow and peaceful beginning followed by a grandiloquent and majestic core. Voice, guitars and keyboards work together to convey the listener to an astral voyage, a pastoral-like progressive symphony; all spiced by continuous drops of soft flute and heavy drumming.

'Č festa' shows PFM's rock face in a grand mood. I'd prefer to hear this track as the album finisher (or at least, a reprise) - just like they generally do when in concert. The song is really a feast, a delightful banquet, irrigated by magnificent instrument playing.

'Dove. Quando. (parte I)' has doubtlessly one of the most beautiful and progressive intros I had the opportunity to listen to; amazing and astonishing. The song itself is a tasty ballad dominated by flute and acoustic guitars. The singing in Italian adds an extra charm to this bucolic and gorgeous theme.

'Dove. Quando. (parte II)' is really a different song, sharing with previous and homonymous track some chords and the general theme. During 6 precious minutes the hearer is carried through diverse natures: jazz, classical, a bit rock and folk - all instrumental. The result is superb.

'La carrozza di Hans', another classic, is the great overall progressive moment of the album. Everything works in a great level but the guitar solo, the tempo changes, the hard passages, the fusion contribute largely for the song grandiosity, giving it epic contours.

'Grazie davvero', the finishing track, is also the most Italian-style song - PFM should never forget their roots: the peninsular smell is pleasantly omnipresent. Grazie, PREMIATA.

Some could say, and I agree partially, that PFM was influenced by other progressive bands, specifically those from Britain, however this album is unique since it shaped not only band's particular style but also helped greatly to give the final weaving to what we presently call Italian prog; consequently, a MASTERPIECE. Final rating: 5.

Report this review (#74679)
Posted Tuesday, April 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars When PFM released their first album, all the members of the band were already experienced musicians and their live performances were excellent. So, according to the band, they chose to record "Storia di un minuto" playing "live in studio" to keep the freshness of their concerts and the result was a "fresh" and very personal blending of progressive rock, classical influences and Italian folklore, powerful and delicate in the meantime.

The first track "Introduzione" is just a short introduction with reminiscences of King Crimson that leads to "Impressioni di settmbre" (September's Impressions), probably the best known PFM's song. Still echoes "from the Court of the Crimson King", while the suggestive lyrics written by Mogol "paint" the feelings of a man "looking for himself" in the countryside on a foggy September's morning. "How many dew-drops around me / I'm looking for the Sun but I can't find it / The country is still asleep, maybe not / It's awake, it's staring at me, I don't know / Already the smell of the soil, smell of grain / Comes up slowly towards me / And life beats softly in my chest / It breaths the fog, I think to you / How much green all around here and even further / The grass seem almost a sea / And my thoughts fly lightly and go away / I'm almost afraid they get lost... But in the meantime the Sun is leaking through the fog / As always the day will be!". The instrumental refrain is really catchy, with the powerful sound of the moog in the forefront, "ŕ la Emerson Lake & Palmer" (according to the band, "Lucky Man" was really a source of inspiration for this track). The album version is slightly different and more dilated if compared to the single version that you can usually find in the anthologies (for instance in "Prime Impressioni" or "Gli anni settanta"). In 1973 "Impressioni di settembre" was released in English as "The World Become The World", with lyrics by Peter Sinfield. But I prefer by far the original version!

"E' festa" is another outstanding track. It's a kind of joyful and frenzy "Rock- Tarantella" almost completely instrumental with a short vocal part. "As always that's the feast of a light bird that keeps on flying." Here elements of Italian folklore are blended with classical influences. The English version of this song was released on "Photos Of Ghosts" as "Celebration", though in my opinion the Italian version is better.

The first part of "Dove. Quando." (Where. When.) is a dreamy and delicate ballad about a man longing for his sweetheart. The inspiration for the music comes from XV century and the shy vocals get along very well with melody and lyrics. "Where do you live? Where are you? / Just inside of me / What are you doing? How do you look? / Just as me / Inventing you here and there is an old game by now / It's already knocking the hurry of you. What would I do my love, what smile will you have? / From your ayes and noes what will I learn? / Serene princess from Heaven who will be mine / It's already knocking the hurry of you.". In the second part, completely instrumental, the band develop the theme of the first part trying to blend their classical influences with jazz and rock and the result is definitely good.

"La carrozza di Hans" (The carriage of Hans) is my favourite PFM's song. The piece is built up around the amazing guitar work of Franco Mussida. I dreamt many times to play it properly with my acoustic guitar and when I was a teenager Franco Mussida seemed to me like a merchant of musical dreams, but my guitar never turned from a "pumpkin" into a magnificent carriage like in Cinderella's fairy-tale. "Look! Search! Run far away, fly! / Hans the merchant is waiting for you, fly..." By the way, in this track there's not only amazing guitar technique to be found, but a perfect interaction between the guitar and the other instruments. The album version is slightly different from the single version, but I love them both.

The last track "Grazie davvero" (Thanks a lot) is another good track with a melancholic mood and lyrics about the rain that brings life to the world, the "ageless water" playing with the colours and sounding falling on a pond. "It's already raining / It rains softly, it rains on me. Thanks so much for living / Thanks for the day that's here / Thanks for the time that will come. It's already raining / It rains softly, it rains on me." A great finale for one of the most important albums of the Italian prog scene of the early seventies.

In the whole an album without weak moments and that helped to draw an Italian way to progressive rock. Essential in every prog collection!

Report this review (#85167)
Posted Sunday, July 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The first appearance of Moog synth on Italian record should be reason enough to have this album in your collection, not to mention the fact that it's used wisely, perfectly blended with the rest of the instruments, utilizing lovely melodies. Speaking of melodies, this album contains the sweetest flute solo that I ever heard. It's only 5 seconds long, accompanied with harpsichord, but it's wonderful. Speaking of wonderful, "Impressioni Di Settembre" is one of the most wonderful songs that I ever heard (again). Speaking of impression, the grand finale "Grazie Davvero" is very impressive, utilising fanfare-like sounds in absolutely bombastic arrangement in 3/4 time measure. Speaking of time measures, there are some simply lunatic ones (I was never able to count them) where you can hear lunatic interplay between Hammond organ and electric guitar. Speaking of electric guitar, acoustic guitar is doing even more nice parts, ranging from fast and raging to dreamy and quiet. Speaking of quiet, album opens very quietly and gradually grows in loudness until it reaches it's finest moment with extraordinary vocals. Speaking of vocals, lyrics are excellent as well. Speaking of lyrics, album's inner sleeve contains them and you suddenly realise this is a concept album. Album cover is beautiful. Drums are perfect. Production is lovely. Bass, mellotron and piano lines are remarkable. Album is full of fine of humour, but that is noticeable only if you listen to the instrument's passage very carefully. I think the guys had a great time in studio.

The only bad things about this album are a) it's way too short and b) album will cause loads of boring good reviews in years to come.

Report this review (#96119)
Posted Saturday, October 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, Clarke 2001, here's another boring good review. What a massive achievement this album is. That Storia, like Per un Amico was unheard by most prog freaks until the 90s is criminal. I've read on this site that nobody 'really' matches up to Yes, Genesis, ELP etc. I used to believe that sort of anglocentric rubbish too, until I heard Focus and this lot. Recorded in 1971 - with moog and mellotron far in advance of Yes and Genesis - this went straight to the top of the Italian charts and probably was a major factor in Genesis' career - without PFM's success, it's questionable as to whether Genesis would have broken through in Italy in 72. I'd place this in any prog top ten, probably above King Crimson, as the use of classical influences is less strained, less kitschy - the use of (mellotron?) cello in Dove Quando? and the sparing use of woodwind are hallmarks of top-notch musicians irrespective of the genre they inhabit. The harmonies are sublime, subtly alternating bluesy changes and chords between jazz and classical melodic shapes and scales, which doesn't so much relate to what music they've taken it from as to where music can go from here. This is what ELP would have sounded like if they'd kept their egos in check. Not only quite beatifully crafted, but replicable onstage also. I know these guys have a high profile in prog, but the fact that they weren't superstars in the 1970s - despite Greg Lake's best efforts - remains a scandal. I guess they didn't help themselves, being openly communist and supporting the PLO - but between 1971 and 1975 they were among the very, very best there has ever been.
Report this review (#98475)
Posted Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars What an incredible first album ! This is truly a masterpiece of Italian Progressive Rock. You have to have this next to your Genesis and King Crimson albums ! Open your ears to Italian prog. This is the best that you can get. You can then work your way in their discography. You won't regret it. This album contains real classics of progressive music with incredible musicianship. These guys surpass their British counterparts by very far.
Report this review (#98983)
Posted Wednesday, November 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars It's hard to believe that music can get any better than the first two songs on this record. "Introduzione" opens so quietly with a vocal, flute and piano melody, only to build to a loud drum, guitar and flute soundscape. "Impressioni Di Settembre" is one of the best songs ever ! Opening with gentle vocals, guitar and flute, the melody is amazing.They really contrast the gentle and heavy well in this song. Lots of mellotron too.

More mellotron on the next song "E Festa" an uptempo song with piano, guitar, flute and drums. At 2 1/2 minutes the sound gets dreamy with vocals, then back to the uptempo passage again. "Dove...Quando...Part I" is melancholic and it features soft vocals with acoustic guitar and flute. While part 2 of this song is completely different with organ, violin and a piano melody, this is followed by a violin melody with piano. The song closes with a jazzy passage. "La Carrozza Di Hans" has many tempo and mood shifts. Great song ! "Grazie Davvero" is melancholic with acoustic guitar, although it changes throughout.

This really should be in the collection of every person who loves beautiful music.

Report this review (#100289)
Posted Friday, November 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars If you have any sort of affinity for Italian symphonic rock, then you should definitely own Storia di un Minuto. This is the debut effort from one of the best Italian acts around in the seventies, Premiata Forneria Marconi (which I have no idea how to pronounce).

The album starts out with Introduzione, obviously "Introduction", which goes from soft and peaceful guitars to extremely loud guitar, horns, and drums. I'm guessing this is supposed to grab the listeners attention. The next track is Impressioni di Settembre. At this point I should probably mention that I do not speak a word of Italian, but trust me, that does not matter. Now, that I have gotten into Italian symphonic rock, I actually enjoy the Italian lyrics, as they go well with the music; and heck, Italian is just a nice sounding language. Impressioni di Settembre is a beautiful and powerful song with swelling mellotron, altering soft and loud vocals, interesting drums, and great guitar. Obviously, PFM are a bunch of talented musicians who know how to use their talent. E' Festa is a more light-hearted song that starts out sounding like an Irish jig that really rocks. There are some great dramatic shifts in this song. The song has a few lyrics, but is basically an instrumental and a great one at that. Next is Dove... Quando... (Parte I), which is even more beautiful than Impressioni di Settembre, with classical sounding guitars, flutes, and maybe even a harp (or something that sounds like it). There are no drums in this song, and it sounds very classical. The first side of the album is great, no filler.

The second side of the album, in my opinion, has the best song and the worst song. Dove... Quando... (Parte II) is my favorite track on this album. It starts off by stating the theme from the first part, and then turns into something unexpected. You are smacked in the face with head-spinning piano, bass, drums, and various keyboards that are complex and little dark. This moves eventually into a more orchestral section with violin being the key instrument. This part is equally as compelling as the first. At the drop of a hat, a jazzy piano riff comes in, joined by bass and drums. Improvised flute is played that is interesting, not super-melodic (more experimental jazzy sounding), and the resulting effect is sounding like your in a smokey, dark night-club listening to some cool jazz. Alright, I know I probably spent too much time describing this song, but it really is that good. La Carrozza di Hans is the next song, and starts out with a heavy intro that leaves you wanting more of the same; instead the song goes into a softer section with singing and guitar, with some soft keyboards. The middle section is acoustic guitar soloing (no backing instruments) with no trace of any kind of time-signature. This gives way eventually to a rocking end that restates the theme from the beginning. The last song Grazie Davvero is in my opinion the worst song on the album. It's not horrible or anything, it just doesn't jive with the rest of the album. It reminds me in some parts of a darker Beatles song or something (and I love the Beatles) but it doesn't work very well. Some parts of the song in the middle sound disjointed and the end intrumental part for the last 30 seconds or so seems totally random.

In the end I would say that this is a highly recommeded album, but I would not call it a masterpiece (if you want a masterpiece, listen to the more mature sound of Per Un Amico, PFM's next album). If you like Italian progressive rock, then you can't go wrong buying this album. Man, 1972 was the best year ever for progressive rock: Storia di un Minuto, Per Un Amico, Uomo di Pezza, Close to the Edge, Trilogy, Foxtrot, Thick as a Brick...

Report this review (#108460)
Posted Tuesday, January 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a very good debut album by the best Italian Progressive Rock band that I have listened to until now.

I think that this band was very influenced then by King Crimson`s early albums (particularly by "In the Court of the Crimson King", "In the Wake of Poseidon" and "Lizard"). But this band was clearly very Italian in style, with influences from Italian Classical Music composers, and I also think that most of the musicians in PFM were Classically trained musicians, so the music is very good, and the musicians too, particularly in the cases of guitarist Franco Mussida, multi-instrumentist Mauro Pagani and keyboard player Flavio Premoli. Drummer Franz Di Cioccio`s style is very influenced by Michael Giles and Andy McCulloch, both former drummers of King Crimson.

"Introduzione"and "Impressioni di Settembre" are nostalgical musical pieces with good musical atmospheres and with a vey good use of the mellotron.

"E' Festa" is clearly a very "Happy Italian Song" with very good use of the synthesizer playing melodies.

Both parts of "Dove... Quando..." are beautiful, also "very Italian" in style.

"La Carrozza di Hans" and "Grazie Davvero" are good songs, but less interesting for my taste.

Maybe if I could understand the Italian language I could enjoy this album more. But musically this album is very good, and the singers are also competent.

PFM is a fine band.

Report this review (#111973)
Posted Tuesday, February 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I started collecting PFM when got acquainted with the music of other legendary bands such as Gensis, ELP, Yes, and Pink Floyd. So, when I listened to this album for the first time, I thought that the band was heavily influenced by Genesis and in some parts ELP and King Crimson. The only difference is probably that PFM uses violin and flute. I started the journey with PFM when I had "Chocolate Kings" album which I immediately liked it at first spin. The music of PFM is unique and it has a class of its own. The music of PFM has nice pastoral melodies combined with dynamic style from low to high points and vice versa. I also like the "Photos of Ghost" album which has a very catchy "River of Life".

"Dove...Quando...(Parte I)" has excellent acoustic guitar and horns in mellow style, continued with Part II which adds violins and pianos, resulting a music in symphonic style and surprisingly being interjected with jazzy style with flute as the lead instrument . "E' Festa" is taken from Italian version of "Celebration" (Photos of Ghost). "La Carrozza Di Hans" has pretty similar style as Genesis, especially when organ enters the scene. The inclusion of violin (which never happened with Genesis) adds an excellent nuance to the music. "Grazie Davvero" has a flavor of circus music and it has varied styles and textures that make great composition. It's really an excellent track!

Overall, this album is a MUST for those who want to explore further on progressive music as this album has become legendary by now. It has excellent songs as result of powerful songwriting and composition. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#120949)
Posted Monday, May 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A classic of the Italian Progressive Rock movement in the 70s. Rarely I have heard a progressive rock band start so strong in a debut album, especially during that time. This album shows a lot of potential and the musicians being very comfortable with each other. The songs are definitively very progressive at that time, borrowing a bit of influence from bands such as ELP and King Crimson, but it really has its own identity. It sounds a bit pastoral and besides using rock instruments (including the mellotron), it uses the flute and the violin as well. The final result is an elegant, romantic and joyous Italian experience that makes you look back at an earlier time in history.

Talking of elegance and romantic moods, the song that follows the introduction tune Impressioni di Settembre has plenty of it. This is the clear highlight of the album and is my absolute favorite tune to have come from Italy. It begins with very soft acoustic guitars, flutes and some of the best vocals I have ever heard, building up to an unexpected magnificent moog synthesizer motif under an addictive groove. The second verse is a bit different and with drums, and again all of a sudden, some other moog theme appears accompained by an amazing rhythm and gorgeous vocals. The verses appear again for a brief time before the first moog theme comes again and is repeated a few times with different arrangements, including a solo in the background. The last two minutes focuses on vocal harmonies.

The other songs are of consistent quality and don't disappoint. E' Festa is a festive song with constant use of the mellotron and moog synthesizer. The song never lets go and features many time signature changes. Dove Quando is an excellent composition, beginning with elegant guitar and very mellow and timid arrangements (Parte I) and finishing in pure complex Prog fashion, blending classical music, jazz, and rock. (Parte II). La Carroza Di Hans is mostly subtle and low in volume, with nice use of acoustic guitars until a big climax arrives with great use of the violin. the closer Grazie Davvero is a more traditional (Italian) song, with the use of an orchestra, but it keeps changing tempos and themes frequently like any of the songs here.

Overall, Highly recommended to a newbie of Italian Progressive Rock. The vocals are exceptionally good and I would never like to hear them singing another language. The only big problem with this album is the short duration.

1. Introduzione (B+)

2. Impressioni di Settembre (A+)

3. E' Festa (B+)

4. Dove... Quando... (Parte I) (B+)

5. Dove... Quando... (Parte II) (A-)

6. La Carrozza di Hans (B)

7. Grazie Davvero (B-)

Report this review (#130949)
Posted Tuesday, July 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars As so many of Prog Archives' seasoned reviewers have pointed out, this album offers proof (if proof were needed) that classic symphonic prog didn't develop in England alone. If you like early King Crimson, classic Yes and Genesis, STORIA DI UN MINUTO will be a real must. On the other hand, I don't believe this album is the masterpiece some people make it out to be.

I came to this music without preconceptions. Although I've enjoyed prog since the mid-seventies, I didn't discover PFM until this year (2007), thanks to Prog Archives recommendations, and I really believe the band now seem a little dated. Those lazy vocals on "La Carozza di Hans", for example (most probably influenced by the Beatles' WHITE ALBUM and ABBEY ROAD) sound sleep-inducing, although the band give this track an absolutely astonishing instrumental ending. "Grazie Davvero", on the other hand, sounds like an Italian take on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", complete with over-insistent brass section. (I well recognise the genre! In the late 1960s, Boudewijn de Groot, the Dutch version of Bob Dylan, tried similar things.) So at certain moments, you might say, PFM are very much a product of their time, or of the times that came right before them.

Other tracks, though, feature solos, sudden tempo-changes and adventurous group playing that will knock you out flat. PFM fans will know that I'm thinking especially of "Dove...Quando...(Parte 2)", which features the most exquisite playing on (among other things) piano, violin (or is it really a viola?) and flute. If anything, such music (recorded in 1971, as far as I can tell) sounds more varied and sophisticated than anything Yes or Genesis were trying to do at the time; it also runs more smoothly and remains highly enjoyable.

Overall verdict: three and a half stars.

Report this review (#132613)
Posted Saturday, August 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The main reasons for which PFM rhymes and proliferates with the Italian Symphonic movement can be various, focusing on the strength and the fascination of the genre's language,and reasoning (incontestably) with music being a spiritual isolation, a beautiful act class and, given the band's primary ideal, a valorous and distinctive value. PFM surprise even nowadays, through music and concept, but, mainly, they share three albums, classically stamped, which reflect a giant movement's most popular and grand expression, by a small delicacy of interpretation. Does PFM, knowingly one of the best bands, torment themselves into getting an entire extent of fabulous rock and art? Absolutely not, though they do play and seek, intentionally, a clear-obscure personality, an endless caprice, fully bathed in essences, and a gullible mild sublimeness and nostalgia, on the real edge of rock and complexity.

To my shame, a imagined a lot of softness and biased ardor in Italian Symph's regular inspiration, only for one of the best such expressions (and, incidentally, one close to being my first ever experience from the entire universal-lengthen catalog) to prove me wrong. The italienesque sapience comes indeed with linguine morphs of passionate, sweet-ceramic or soporifically suave, otherwise the accent would fall on gainful dappers or gigantic tones. But PFM finds a different approach, with no stop at it, combining the sweet candor (and a quite original candid warmth) with notch and fruitful hard arrangements and artistic challenges, much to complement dynamic and suspense, under empathies and lucid vocalities. In rest, the band (and most awarding Storia Di Un Minuto plays and sings under genuine and basic treats of excellent music and extra-viral emotion. The music vibrations of this album are deceitful at times, but always masterful. The dependency is pure progressive, but also aspires and supports originality.

A work like Storia Di Un Minuto, not that heavy at all but surely more shaped than within a "minute"'s veritable splendor, is profoundly something of genius, but most especially of a major sensibility. It has most of the classic prog puzzling instrumentality, describing it with an indulgence of a careful expression. The art sounds simple, in terms of fantasy and numbness, colors and serenities. The band here consists of musical poets, who are also aggressive melomans. With a huge effort of mixing the traditional rock band weight with instruments of finesse and radical expressions (mandoloncello, ottavino, clavicembalo!!) and a contrapuntal vocal spirit (almost all the artists know to sign a bit from the tale), Storia Di Un Minuto is an album of very good inspiration, drying a lot to signal a suple supreme progressive act. My personal hero is Mauro Pagani, playing wonderful flute macro-arrangements and ample sonorities - somehow, I am also sure many will love the piquant guitar frenzy, interpreted by Franco Mussida, and di Cioccio's vocal ethereal lead. All the rock passions and lyrical impressions conserve PFM's out stand and show a soul conditioned musical act; there are full caprices of all the beloved dynamics and symphonic dialects, sensing and scoping the artistic embrace and the full demise of imperfections.

The walkthrough that follows is the easiest impression yet, since the entire album burns under a clever light of ingenuity. But it is true that each piece enchants specifically. Introduzione is a "prelude-simfonietta", with a hard climax. Impressioni di setembre is agil and tasteful, a first melodic fantasy in the album, with a grand tumultuousness of a prog deep rock rhythm, by scenic keyboards grave choruses. E' Festa is absolutely sensational, as an embalming musical play, going from sensibility till plenitude. Flawless, really, if only the vocals wouldn't oscillate so darkly. Dove...Quando... is a bipartite compositions (disturbingly cut between the two sides, if you have the LP or the vinyl), which overwhelms, under a mini-fantasy of music and complete fragrances, the surreal, the corpulent and the "tempestuoso" of the music. La Carozza di Hans is unnaturally splendid and charming, mostly loving crazy and eclectic rock fireworks, under a mindful melody and beloved heartbeat. Grazie Devvero ends with another full effect, in a constrict ensemble of movements and a graceful freedom; the orchestral-touch beholds the simple guild of the final flair.

Storia Di Un Minuto is wonderful, as a typical PFM magic-clasp, and as a simple and hallucinating classic album motive. I'd hate to say that this wouldn't be a five star grand creation, a strong and charming music and, most gently said, one of the most lucid Italian symphonic dreams, sharing a pretty immortal essence.

Report this review (#133579)
Posted Saturday, August 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is for me directly linked to "Per un amico" and is "as good as" with all that makes us dream: the creativity, the musical know-how, surprises, hypnotism... The last album which is probably the best recent album from an "old star", I mean by that a group that more than 30 years ag began to enrich "rock" music, with talent. Most of the initial big band have change their mind. PFM have coming back, with a great album. But, in some aspects, (for instance comparinfg "Impressioni di settembre" with the last version make me feel that what was created then will last, while the second versions, even if very goo will not replace the original.
Report this review (#137198)
Posted Saturday, September 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Worth.

Introduzione is just a little starter, reminds me of King Crimson's Lizard 1,8*

Impressioni Di Settembre - quite fat sound. The melody is weird. I good and bad. 1,

E' Festa. Very festive people. The part (starts at 2:51) that isn't in "Celebration" (album: Photos of Ghosts) sounds like it's been glued into it. But the end of the song there's few nice extras, too (Celebration has also nice part's that this version hasn't) 3,2*

Dove...Quando... (Parte I), flute, more like classical music. Nice but too humble for me. 1,7*

Dove...Quando... (Parte II) is very nice, quirky piano and drums. Then light string orchestra. Then jazz with ragtime flavour, flute fusion added to that in the end. 3,5*

La Carrozza Di Hans - alternative light pop, I don't like it much until the last third of the song starts (the previous wasn't anything). Jazz, Wobbler, dynamic, Italian dynamic !! !! 4* for that !! !! !! !!

Grazie Davvero - occasionally much like Pink Floyd's Brain Damage's "The lunatic is in my head" (album The Dark Side of the Moon). It has different kind's of thing's, even Rick Wakeman. Symphonic, semi-light but dynamic. But also in this song some moments sound little bit irrational, I mean, not odd, but maybe there'ss too much break's or something; but maybe it is just the classical music symphoniveness that's like that. However, didn't hit me so hard.

So this album has much good in it. I just feel it hasn't got enough heart in it. So 3 stars.

Report this review (#143717)
Posted Thursday, October 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Introduzione" is an incredible and condensed resume of this PFM debut album. Extremely quiet and peaceful.

Since I discovered the band in 1975 with "The World Became the World", I was surprised while listening to "Impressioni Di Settembre". It is actually the Italian and original of the song "The World." Both versions are rather different. This Italian one is softer, more delicate while the English one is more bombastic. It is hard to tell which one is best, but what's for sure is that "Impressioni" is the best song out of this debut album. Extraordinary melody, wonderful fluting and strong finale. One of my preferred PFM songs.

"E' Festa" is a very dynamic song that makes me irresistibly think of "Hocus Focus" released a few months before this one : same incredible beat, great instrumental part. The hardest parts are ewxquisitely combined with the sweetest and most melodic ones. A great achievement.

Both "Dove." are not of the same interest to me. While "Part I" is light, pastoral and rather tranquil, "Part II" is fully jazzy and therefore not very appealing TO ME (but the band will be rather jazz influenced on some later work).

"La Carrozza Di Hans" has fully "Crimson" / "Genesis" flavor ("In The Court." / "Trespass" albums). Scary intro and extremely sweet and pleasant piece of music. Very much like "Dove, Part I, this song is almost acoustic except for its finale during which the violin adds an original touch.

"Grazie Davvero" is a bizarre track, somewhat experimental and chaotic. Probably the most difficult one to approach. Still, it features some melodic and appealing moments.

I can hardly consider this album as a masterpiece. It is historical and rather different at the time of release ('72) but it is too much inconsistent. The best ("Impressioni", "E Festa") is balanced with the average ("Dove... Part II") or the good ("Dove... Part I", "La Carrozza Di Hans").

Seven out of ten would be the most accurate rating as far as I'm concerned. But I'll upgrade it to four thanks to the two great songs it is holding.

Report this review (#150988)
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album has it all musically. There are swirling keyboards, soaring guitars, driving rhythms and mesmerising vocals (even if they are in Italian). I suspect that Genesis must have had a great influence on PFM (and Genesis certainly spent a lot of time in Italy early in the 70s). If you don't believe me, check out that galloping musical section in E'Festa - which I feel also contains a hint of Jethro Tull.

I've never been one for doing track by track reviews and I won't do one here. There are plenty here already which have done the album more justice than I could in that regard. What I will say is that Impressioni di Settembre has very quickly become one of my favourite tracks. I just love the way that quiet verse segues into that amazing chorus. The rest of the tracks are similarly catchy but in very different ways such as the pastoral feeling Dove... Quando... (Parte I) and the concerto-jazz flavoured piano in Parte II. Marvellous stuff which I can't recommend highly enough.

For a debut, this is outstanding and I am eternally ashamed that I have only recently discovered it. So thanks to PFM for making this music and to this site for helping me to see the light. This one is another must have.

Report this review (#151018)
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Dreamy beginnings of a legendary group.

As an Italian music fanatic I do love PFM but I have to say that I find the deifying of this group to be puzzling. Perhaps people consider them the essence of Italian because of their long history with many releases whereas many of their counterparts were one or two-shot bands. I personally find that many of those one-shots are much dearer to my heart than PFM, whose music may be more polished and sound closer to their English rivals, but in pursuing that sound have less of the intrinsic Italian traditional flavor I hold so dear. I'm less interested personally in hearing the Italian take on English influences than the actual unique qualities that draws me to those small groups that cooked their magnum opus straight from their heart and hometown, with little thought about what the foreign press were raving about. But that's just a personal impression not meant to diss PFM in any way. They're definitely one of the greats and Storia is a fine early Italian release. I just cringe a bit when people imply that to hear PFM/Banco/Orme is to have sufficiently sampled Italian prog...far from it. There is so much more out there than the big 3.

I agree wholeheartedly with Guigo that this and Per Un Amico should have been released together as PFM's White Album, the two go so well together. You will find much the same magic here as on the slightly more consistent Per Un Amico: Agile, thoughtful piano, great guitar work, flutes, superb arrangements/production, and very pleasant Italian vocals. "Dove.Quando part 1" is a perfect example of PFM in this era, rather mellow with wistful flute and finger-picked acoustic guitars. This album has a dreamy quality with lots of acoustic moments to counter the heavier symphonic portions. It is very well played with a good sound although as I mentioned I think Amico is a slightly more impressive overall composition. PFM newbies wishing to check out this band should start with Per Un Amico. If that works for you try this one, L'isola, Stati, and Chocolate Kings. The 2003 BMG mini is made in Europe and does not have the lyric sheet like the Japanese ones do. The sound seems good though. 3 ˝ stars, a very good debut.

Report this review (#156801)
Posted Thursday, December 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 4.5 stars really...

The legends of the Italian progressive rock scene were formed in Milan in 1970 by ex-members of a band called ''Quelli'' along with multi-instrumentalist Mario Pagani,coming from ''Dalton''.After a few gigs,PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI recorder their debut ''Storia di un minuto'',a milestone of the classic italian prog sound.Inspired by the works of GENESIS and KING CRIMSON and adding their typical mediterrenean flavor,they blended classic rock with elements from classical music and the italian tradition to present a superb work full of memorable moments,demanding orchestrations and ethereal italian vocal lines,led by nice mellotron work,smooth flute parts and delicate acoustic and electric guitars.Very close to a masterpiece of the italian and global progressive rock world and a must-have for anyone's collection!

Report this review (#159745)
Posted Friday, January 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Italian Prog Specialist
5 stars It is perfectly clear now that Italian progressive rock has a certain something. A distict flavour of southern Europe, very hard to describe in mere words, even harder when you're trying to describe it in something else than your native language. Now, since this is only my first dabble in a vast and surely varied genre of music, I might just be jumping to conclusions. But could this kind of romantic melancholy and joie-de-vivre (yes, both of them) have been born in any other place? The melancholy isn't melancholic in that dark Anekdoten-esque kind of way, the lighter, happier parts are in no way as bubbly as they tend to be with Yes. And from an outsiders view, Italian just sounds...fresh, even while just picking up the meaning of a few words here and there.

Having aired those few thoughts, music doesn't get much better than this. I put this record on late one night a couple of weeks ago, sat down in my comfy armchair with a glass of whiskey by my side. And what happened was that I couldn't get past the introduction (Introduzione, naturally), Impressioni Di Settembre and E' Festa. I just repeated them once, twice, three times before I could even continue with the rest of the album. Now, a masterpiece album for me always tend to have these characteristics. Some songs that just resonate so deeply with your soul that you feel them, physically, be it by galloping heartbeat or restless legs or not being able to resist laughing out loud, all by yourself. Storia Di Un Minuto not only meets these criterias, it surpasses them with ease.

Now what is this beast of an album if I, against my will, try to break it down musically? I see that many other reviewers cite early King Crimson and Genesis as obvious influences. I agree upon hearing a little KC, but instead of Genesis, I'd say that the biggest influence here is Jethro Tull. The early, jazzier Tull. The period from This Was to Benefit. And I can't help noticing something else, much mure subtle in there. A certain relationship to more proto-prog-like bands. Early Deep Purple comes to mind. Even some Lucifer's Friend. Harder stuff. But it's played not as a tribute, not even as an influence, no, more like as it is expressed sub-consciously. If this seems hard to follow, don't worry, it is. Better to listen and judge for yourself.

Instruments you'll find here include things such as aggeggi, dodici, mandoloncello and ottavino. Exotic names that say very little to me, but they must have a tremendous effect on the music, and certainly add more of that unique, dreamy and often laid-back feeling. I love every instrument, tone and word here. Can't single out what is best, making this the only album I've come across so far, where all instruments are played at the right moment all the time, creating the right mood and atmosphere all the time.

I realise this has rambling praise written all over it, but I hope that the reasons for it are somewhat clear, and that everyone who haven't listened to Storia Di Un Minuto will listen to it in a near future. Worth every penny, and just a little more.


Report this review (#164740)
Posted Sunday, March 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I suppose it's always a bit artificial when you are coming to an album having listened to the later greater stuff. For a start you know the end, or at least the middle of the story before you hear the start. Therefore, you can sagely say (cut to pompous professors arguing over a brandy and cigar at the 'club'): Well, it's not per un amico: (response) Well obviously not (or no sh*t Sherlock), but I can hear the birth pangs of the classic Italian symphonic prog genre ...) yadda yadda yadda (or blah blah blah if you're from the UK).

So attempting (badly) to review the album without prejudice

The introduction is suitably mellow but then there's a sort of the Horslips meet some spaced out Italian folk proggers/Glam Rockers moment. Odd, but true: ask any Italian Irish glam-folk rockers if you don't believe me. The very short first side never really lifts me beyond that strange mediocre mix.

Flip the record and the second side opens with piano. This is a little bit more like it. Mmm overtones of Yes, we have the symphonic sound properly engaged. My question is: are they really trying to mix classical with prog? It's too brash and, for me, doesn't work. Having packed that in for a game of soldiers PFM move swiftly on to a full-on anything Tull can do we can do better track. And, hey, they pull it off! (Finbar Saunders would definitely put in a phnaar phnaar here). There's a pleasant acoustic guitar track. Maybe that's the defining characteristic about this album: dabbling with many different ideas and sounds but there does not seem to be defining band signature.

It's good but not essential to a prog collection. Maybe, if you have not listened to any PFM this is the best place to start provided that you listen to "Per un Amico" next. You will realise how good Per un Amico is and be very pleasantly surprised.

Report this review (#164972)
Posted Tuesday, March 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Storia Di Un Minuto is the debut album from leading Italian symphonic prog rock band Premiata Forneria Marconi. The album was released in 1972 and is clearly influenced by some of the big european progressive rock bands from that time.

I hear a strong King Crimson influence ( Early King Crimson) where especially the mellotron waves point in that direction. There are also a very obvious influence from the Dutch band Focus which is mostly due to the use of classical inspired flute playing and early Genesis is also an influence. The big difference here is of course the Italian lyrics. The quality is very high throughout the album and Premiata Forneria Marconi really know how to vary their music to keep the listener excited all the way through the album.

The album is not very long with its 34:34 minutes but it´s quality music all the way. Not a moment is wasted time. Songs like Impressioni di Settembre and La Carrozza di Hans are IMO extremely well written songs but all songs are great. Besides the symphonic prog tendencies there are also a bit of folk influences here and there and even a bit of jazz in Dove... Quando... (Parte II).

The musicianship is excellent and the use of violin, flute, moog and mellotron really adds some nice touches to the music. The vocals are pleasant and calm.

The production is warm and organic.

Until I listened to this album from Premiata Forneria Marconi I only knew the Chocolate Kings album which I bought in a used records store when one of the other customers said that they sounded a bit like Genesis. Storia Di Un Minuto is an excellent progressive rock album and it´s understandable that some people regard it as a masterpiece and give it 5 star ratings. For me Storia Di Un Minuto is a deserved 4 star rating. This one is highly recommendable to fans of early seventies symphonic prog like King Crimson, Genesis and Focus.

Report this review (#181752)
Posted Thursday, September 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Essential!Great,beautiful music.The italian scene has remarkable artists and bands.So gentle and well arrange music.I can say something,about two of the songs.I heard Impressioni di settembre and E' Festa in their cover versions from my favourite band in my country Bulgaria - Formation Studio Balkanton (FSB).And I was really surprised when I began to listen to PFM and discovered that this songs are cover versions,but not real FSB's music!I was a little bit disappointed by my countryside band.But that is another thing.This album is really twin album to some of the best albums by Genesis.The harmonization works and musicianship by PFM is really perfect;with so much jazz and classical influence.At the same time you can hear so much different instrument in such a perfect musical balance.Every little song on the album is true masterpiece!
Report this review (#184263)
Posted Wednesday, October 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars A Masterpiece of Progressive , that cannot be compared to any other releases , of 1972 , unique , full of challenge , beautiful harmonies , amazing companionship . So , in your opinion what can we say about this excellent work . In 1974 , i had the chance to get three albums for PFM , at the same time , Cook , Per Un Amico , and Storia Di Un Minuto . the three albums gave a new meaning to my taste in music . By all measures , this album , imo , start as an instrumental album in 1974 , but today , after learning SOME of Italian language , and after getting the chance to translate approximatly all their lyrics , and after enjoying all their performances and acts around the world , specially the new live versions of Impressione di settembre , Dove Quando and E' Festa , this band , and the early releases was able to create a new bridge between civilazations , cultures and languages . A must for all proggers ....... as it was for a humble Arabic Middle Eastern , since 1974 ( album released in 1972 , but came late as imported to Lebanon , during the Civil War )
Report this review (#187827)
Posted Monday, November 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars If you really think, this may be the best prog debut ever besides ITCOTCK

I bought thisalbum after Per un Amico and being already accustomed to Italian Prog it only took 3 entire spins in that same night to like it.

Although this album is IMO weaker than Per un Amico (because Per un Amico has longer songs,which is better for developing ideas and music, and better structured IMO) it is still very good because its a very even album. It may not have many excellent songs like Per un Amico but even the weakest here are great ones.

The one thing that still annoys me a little in this album, is that the ending of most of the songs are a little confusing and sometimes are much too long, for endings that is.

Introduzione- This track will set the mood for the album beginning with sweet vocals, flute and acosutic guitar in crescendo exploding in a very musical part in the end of the song, carrying the feeling to the next one. Its a short one yes, but a track that defines PFM wonderfully: the folk-ish part, the vocals, the melodic part. 8/10

Impressioni Di Settembre- I think Introduzione and impressioni should be listened to as a whole because they fit perfectly. Again this track starts sofly with the vocals and acoustic guitar alone. They are slowly joined by other instruments (the flute, the drums and keyboards). Then begins the main riff of the song with a very beautiful keyboard taking a main role here. The softer part is played again this time with electric guitar.The song carries on intercaling the softer parts with the powerful ones. In general this song is excellent. You hear almost all instruments played by PFM here and the music has many powerful musical moments.But still, the last part annoys me a little, but the track ends before it becomes relevant. Its definitely a highlight in this album. 9/10

E' Festa- Similar to Generale. This track is indeed A Celebration. Very dynamical rhythms. The main riff could sound familiar to some rock music but it was really advanced for the time. The keyboards here remind me of ELP but they are original. They hardly repeat exactly a part here, only the tempo remains. The rythm sections is very good here. The vocals start and they too seem familiar to a rock track. Here the track softens and the vocals sing a little more. Then begins a mostly rythm-based part. The electric guitar plays a little and the music turns very soft and how I love that flute!!! Only wish that part would last longer. The band plays a variation of the riff and then returns to the main riff before a grand finale. 8/10

Dove... Quando...(pt1)- Mostly an acoustical song. Very sweet full of melody and lovely vocals.This also has some really nice flute but the hightlights are really the vocals and acoustic guitar. I dont think this music is boring. I think its just a smoothing and calm one. 7,5/10

Dove... Quando...(pt2)-This track shares some chords or motiffs with the previous one (including the initial ones but with different instruments).Dove 2 is very different from Dove 1, almost at the beginning, at the piano part, the music begins playing very fast and quickly adding some drums and guitar. The music calms down and now is one of the best moments. Inittialy its jsut the piano playing but then comes the violin(or cello I dont know) and playing a very beautiful and sweet melody over an also beautiful piano. The music goes in crescendo and then theres a transition to a very jazzy part. The piano plays an important role, the flute joins in, the drums are playing very well. The music begins slowing down at the end and whn you think its over the guitar begins playing and you have one of those strange finale's and the music goes directly into the next one.This track is very good and a highlight in this album because it contains severall different parts and tempos and all of them are very good and very well executed.No vocals on this one and no need to. 9/10

La Carrozza Di Hans- This song has a very strange intro and soon begins with heavy guitar riffs only to be end right away. But now begins the acoustic and vocal part, also with some very nice flute playing. Usually when PFM plays these acoustic/vocal parts they are very well succeeded. The verse is played twice and then is an acoustic-guitar-only part. It has some good moments but some times it seems to go nowhere (for good or bad all moments are played very well and gracefully), THe acoustic guitar begins played faster and then comes the drums along with the keyboards and violin. Also a kind of jazzy part but an excellent one. The band plays the initial riff but with the violin playing the vocal part. Then is one of those endings that seems to push it a little over the edge but its still a good one. I only give 8/10 to this one because of the extremely well played jazzy part. 8/10

Grazie Davvero- Wouldn't call it exacly a hightlight here but one of my favorites. Begins with a very graceful acoustic part that reminds of Brain Damage (Actually is Brain Damage that reminds me of this one!!) the vocals are also worth of mention here. The verse is played twice and then theres a musical explosion and after a calm-down begins a part that I love. It seems a kind of circus music because of the brass section, the vocals are also good here. Theres an interlude with some non-spoken vocals. Then its a very well synchronized and played instrumental part with the flute, bass, piano and drums. Then the band takes us again to the circus-part but they dont get to the vocal part and go right to the initial acoustic part but this time with drums and brass section. To end the song, my favorite ending of the whole album: very heavy brass instruments playing and the ending in crescendo and diminuendo acoustic-guitar. Overrall its not a very complicated music but I find it just wonderfull. 9/10

My rating: 8,4/10 = 4,2/5 rounded down to 4 stars (but dont get fooled by the final rating because its almost a masterpiece, not just an excellent album)

Report this review (#202190)
Posted Monday, February 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars PFM is named the best Italian Progresive (RPI) band. There is their debut album right now.The music is as usual for italian neo-classical musicians very melodic and pfofessional. You can hear neo-classical pieces with some earlier rock arrangements. If you like it, I believe, this album is very strong example of it.

It's pity, but I affraid that I like more "rock" in progresive rock music. So, even understanding how high quality is this music, it doesn't take me deeply. Sorry.

I like some classical music sometimes, so , looking from that side, I realy hear plenty of beautiful harmonies and originality in this early music of PFM. But from other hand, when I listen classic, I prefer true classic, when we are speaking about rock, it will be nice to find more rock sounds there. Classic melodies, acoustic beauties, very sweet and soft sound ( all italian beauties in one place), so - what about rock there?

Too often it reminds me of popular translation of classical music to listeners, for whom real classical sound is too complex and boring. Good job, but - what about rock?

So, all in all, I think ( because of my very personal point of view) this is beautiful and original sympho - sympho - rock ( what means plenty of sympho and few rock accessories). If you like it, it's perfect example, if you prefer more rock in your prog, just leave it.

Report this review (#239331)
Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars If you check the prog rock page on AllMusic there is not a word about the Italian scene. There isn't even a link in the more then a 100 artists counting list. What a mistake to make on an otherwise pretty comprehensive site. No wonder that I and so many others hadn't heard about RPI in our entire lives.

Premiata Forneria Marconi is the most popular band of the scene and there are moments where that status seems deserved. They are just so sweet, emotive, creative and accessible. However, judging from the little I heard from this scene, there are bands out there that appeal more to me. I also don't find PFM albums to be entirely consistent. There's always a dip in the song writing or an experiment to digress from their basic romantic sound that doesn't feel really accomplished. I sure appreciate their willingness to take risks and progress their sound, but the result can't always convince me.

The debut is quite consistent though, the only track that feels out of place is E'Festa. It has a charming playfulness but overall it isn't very impressive and has aged pretty badly. It's decidedly less compared to the wealth of beautiful dreamy music around it. I even like the fanfare at the end.

Another reason why I prefer their debut over the second album is that I hear a much more personal sound here. On the second album, the presence of the great UK prog bands is felt much more prominently then here. This one is all gentle sounds, acoustic guitars, flutes and mellotron with at least as many campfire moments as your average Simon and Gartfunkel album. Of course PFM plays in another league where it concerns composition and musicianship, it's just that the gentle melancholy feels similar. There are some toy synths in Impressioni Di Settembre that are somehow inadequate but overall the use keys is not too disruptive.

This album only lasts for 34 minutes. Given that I could have lived without E'Festa, the album is unsatisfactorily short. Nevertheless, the 30 remaining minutes are very solid and packed with creativity. Something that is largely preferable over 80-minute albums that don't get to the point.

Now, I really wonder what further surprises this scene has in store for me.

Report this review (#260551)
Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The PFM first release is a must. A symphonic, lyrical, renacentist album. The melodies are superb, the musicianship outstanding. La introduzione with its guitars and its briefly sounding riff makes the way for "impresioni di septiembre" a clasic, with its emotive liricality and wonderfull melodic mellotron chorus. "E Festa" is a superb upper in the progresive way, with kind of renacentistic chanting sections and an infectious begining. "Dove..Cuando" is a fantastic romantic song with great acoustic and simphonic arranges. "Dove..Cuando II" is a great totally different song with upspeed sections, jazz, and a little bit of everything. The last two songs are also great with acoustic brilliancy and some surprises. This album is soo enjoyable, utterly sweet and melodic but also uplifting and with good alternance between the softness and some touches of hardness. Four starts.
Report this review (#271070)
Posted Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars The debut album from Premiata Forneria Marconi was released the same year as their breakthrough follow-up Per Un Amico but there are quite a few differences between the two releases.

Storia Di Un Minuto features a much less consistent production with uneven mixing where on one instance the music seems too quite but once the band gets into a more energetic section it becomes a bit too loud. This is of course understandable considering that it was recorded in 1972! Although Per Un Amico also has some of those difficulties I consider it a much better production which ultimately results in me playing it a lot more. It can be considered unfair because the material on both these albums has that distinct Premiata Forneria Marconi style with many of these tracks easily being interchangeable between the two releases which would even later be proven on Photos Of Ghost.

The album begins with an an introduction number where we also get to hear the first example of uneven production. No matter where I set the volume on my speakers I always have to pick up the remote and adjust it as this one minute tune progresses. Eventually I always end up lowering the volume significantly during the last 20 seconds! Fortunately the album's highlight compositions comes early in the shape of Impressioni Di Settembre and lightens the mood. It's such a beautiful composition with one of the most memorable Moog performance ever put on a studio recording.

I would assume that E' Festa is considered this album's highlight since it's the only track off this release that made it to the band's English-language re-release album a year later. Personally I never considered it as such although it's nonetheless an interesting performance. Next up is the two part Dove... Quando which I guess had to be split up due to the vinyl record's length limitations although it still doesn't explain why the compositions couldn't be moved around in order to place it all on one side. I prefer the first part of this composition slightly more because the second part is a wild instrumental number that goes all over the place and in the end feels slightly less then the sum of its parts.

I strongly recommend listening to La Carrozza Di Hans with earphones on because it definitely enhances this performance, plus you won't have to adjust the volume as much. This has to do with a great acoustic section which unfortunately is played much too quiet in comparison to the second act. There is a similar problem with Grazie Davvero which also features a distinct Brain Damage-sounding guitar riff that I just can't overlook. I realize that Dark Side Of The Moon was release a year later but no matter how I twist and turn this idea in my heard I like the Pink Floyd version better.

This album's material is well worth a high ratings that Storia Di Un Minuto has received so far but the production ruins some of the moments for me and so I shall settle for a shaky excellent addition rating.

***** star songs: Impressioni Di Settembre (5:44)

**** star songs: Introduzione (1:10) E' Festa (4:52) Dove... Quando... (Parte I) (4:11) Dove... Quando... (Parte II) (6:01) La Carrozza Di Hans (6:47) Grazie Davvero (5:52)

Report this review (#274355)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Just like those people in class who always got As without having to pay attention or even kiss up, PFM just make creating solid--sometimes incredible--progressive rock seem so easy. And just like these geniuses in school, not everything they did turned to gold, but they were always capable of making unique creative contributions.

Enough of the analogies--PFM is a very talented band that made some great music, starting right here in their debut. In Storia, I hear a group of musicians who are quite comfortable playing with each other, as well as playing off each other, but still left a bit on the table in the songwriting department.

Highlights for me include Impressione, E Festa and Dove. Impressione is one of those quintessential tunes, just like the opener on the following album, that set PFM apart from any other progressive band, alternating between dreamy verses and powerfully beautiful choruses, and with expertly placed flute and tympani. Simply wonderful, and the high point of the album for me.

E Festa shows a different side of the band from the rest of the album by rocking out a bit. I probably would prefer this as the album closer, but that's a minor quibble. The Dove series shows the variety of the band, with a very mellow and pastoral opening, followed by some uptempo, quasi-improvisational instrumental work. Here it's hard not to be impressed by their collective musical ability.

Due to somewhat uneven flow and quality of songs, I see this as an overly qualified 4-star album--particularly considering that this is a debut in 1972--but just short of a masterpiece. However, it's hard to imagine any progger not finding this a meaningful addition to their collection.

Report this review (#285995)
Posted Friday, June 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now this is prog !

Especially when compared to the successor Per un Amico this debut is even much more hard to grasp prog. I've listened to the album many times now but I'm just unable to get hold of it in any way. I still don't know exactly how good it is, I just know it's good and it's also very special.

The short opener with the logical title Introduzione is setting the tone already with several moods and styles within one minute. Second is the famous Impressione di Settembre song which sounds both accessible and intricate to me. E Festa is much more rocky all over sudden showing the diversity within PFM's possibilities. Typical seventies this one. Next up are the the Dove Quando tracks which are my favorites really. And also the best examples of what I mean in my opening lines. This is prog of the highest caliber. I mean I could get all 5 songs of Per un Amico under my belt but these two songs are true enigmas, I just don't know what to think of them, what to feel for them, they're like ghosts or something. And at the same time they secure a four star rating definitely because of that. Because this duo is what prog is about: be complex, creating incredible feeling/atmosphere and be hard to grasp. And that's what these tracks are. Truly amazing !!

The two remaining songs La Carozza di Hans and Grazie Davvero aren't the very best of this special debut but are still very much worth while and don't really diminish the value of the album's greatness. They're just less exiting and significant.

So why did I say before that the Dove Quando tracks secure the 4 stars and not 5 ? That's the crucial question here. Well, that has simply to do with my personal taste that hasn't got the right attitude to deal with Italian Prog in general. Like I also said in my review of Per un Amico: I'm glad I did the dive into these two very special and indispensable albums for any progfan. So in other words: this album scores 5 stars objectively and 3,5 for my personal taste. But I could never decide for 3 stars here simply because it's too special for that. Special and also unique are the best words to describe the two masterpieces of PFM. Don't miss out !

Report this review (#303762)
Posted Wednesday, October 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not the highly touted masterpiece most people laud, this is a nice album that exhibits well the the complex song structures and virtuosic instrumental capabilities of these obviously well-(classically?)-trained musicians. IMO, the album suffers a bit from going into too many directions--even within the space of a single song. To me, this shows that the band is still gelling, still lacking a cohesive, coherent vision. 1. "Introduzione" (1:09) opens with a pastoral voice and flute that gradually builds to a burst of full rock band power. (8/10)

2. "Impressioni di settembre" (4:23) has a kind of MOODY BLUES/PROCUL HARUM feel to it. I thin this has something to do with the 60s sounding recording effects as well as the musical sound and development. The vocal is bluesy and the unified synth, bass and drum sections (B) are also a bit familiar, steeped in blues-rock. (8/10)

3. "E' Festa" (4:51) has quite a BEATLES/ELP vibe going on in the A Section. The more prominent electric piano in the B Section has a cool feel to it--almost dragging it into JETHRO TULL territory. Group and then yodeled vocals make a brief appearance just before a significant, albeit brief tempo and mood downshift. A MOODY's like bass-led rhythm is then established for a time before shifting again to some variations on the previous sections' themes. Definitely an exhibition of some classically trained musicians. (7/10)

4. "Dove . . . Quando . . . (1 Parte)" (4:10) opens with a kind of SERGIO LEONE Spaghetti Western cinematic intro before settling into a gentle, airy multi-voiced lyric with Latin guitars and gentle flutes in support. A very beautiful pastoral song (8/10) which sets up... (Side Two's)

5. "Dove . . . Quando . . . (2 Parte)" (5:45) opens as a kind of vaudevillian piano jazz piece before the electric rock band joins in. Mellotron and cymbal crashes denote a change in directions at 1:50. Chamber strings and classical piano interlude is replaced by a Beat-generation-like jazz section set up to present some flute pyrotechnics. Feels a bit like Brubeck's "Take Five." (7/10)

6. "La carrozza di Hans" (5:42) starts out with a heavier JTULL approach before shifting into a very fast section of a very tightly played group weave. This, too, fades away and is replaced by a very soft and delicate vocal section. At 3:25 an acoustic guitar leads us up and into an uptempo bluesier section. The band joins in and an excellent violin solo takes its turn. Back to a fast-played group weave rock before ending with a some chant-like "aahh's." (7/10)

7. "Grazie Davvero" (5:52) is, to me, the harbinger of things to come for PFM--a snapshot view of their next album and their first masterpiece, Per un amico, but still a far way off. An awkward song with mystifying dynamic and instrumental variations. (7/10)

A nice album to introduce yourself to this band of classically trained yet diversely interested musicians, but not one for masterpiece status nor is it essential to one's collection. Too scattered and lacking goals and direction (unless those were to show off skills and imitative abilities).

Report this review (#338001)
Posted Monday, November 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Storia di un minuto" is certainly one of the best debut albums of all times.Are 34 minutes (only this?) the best progressive rock that Italy has in offer.The, along with the album after the PFM, "Per un Amico", one of my favorite albums of all time.

The first two tracks, "Introduzione"and "Impressione di setembre", are average, but "E'festa"is really a masterpiece! this was the first track from the band that I heard (here in Progarchives) and is now a of my favorite ever of band.The two parts of "Dove...Quando"are excellent, although the second part, an epic packed with Mellotrons instrumental, stringed instruments, flutes, etc.., easily surpasses the first. "La carroza di Hans" was the track who I most took me to like it, but now I realize how fantastic it is.Despite of his strange introduction she calms down and grows increasingly by a wonderful guitar section culminating in a jazz-fusion and subsequently a great mellotron that closes. "Grazie Dawero" is another candidate for best music of album.The brass instruments works perfectly here, and the choruses are in their best.A fastly information: the introduction of this song is similar to that of "Brain Damage " by Pink Floyd (which was released a year later in "Dark Side of the Moon").

Anyway, this album is nothing less than perfect, so I'll give you 5 stars.

Report this review (#340178)
Posted Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Prog F***ing Monsters!

The first album of PFM is a perfect example of the great influence that the English prog had on the Italian music scene in the early seventies. The style is inspired by bands like Genesis and King Crimson, with great use of mellotron, violin and wind instuments, and general references to symphonic prog with bombastic arrangements in classical style, and a lot of rhythm variations.

It is one of the great classics of Italian prog, but in my opinion not the most beautiful record, nor the most representative of the genre. The band has no real role singer, so the vocals are rather weak. Except for Impressioni Di Settembre the lyrics are banal, so I think it's much easier to appreciate this album if you're not Italian. Fortunately, the quality of the music is very high and so the technical skill of the musicians (and guitarist Franco Mussida overall). Although the group makes extensive use of electronic keyboards (mellotron and moog especially) the real protagonists are the traditional instruments like the flute (Dove ... Quando part 1) the harpsichord and violin (Dove ... Quando part 2), and classical guitar (La Carrozza Di Hans).

The music remains at high levels throughout the album except for the last track, the insipid Grazie Davvero. The delicate initial prologue immediately leads to Impressioni Di Settembre, the most famous song of the band. The lyrics by Mogol (one of the most famous authors of the Italian pop scene) are amazing, but what will go down in history is the chord sequence of synthesizer that, here in Italy, was a kind of small revolution compared to the canon of classic Italian song. E' Festa is a song full of rhythmic variations and large displays of virtuosity. Dove ... Quando is another classic. The first part is a delicate melody sung with the accompaniment of classical guitar and flute (pity about the lyrics, really depressing) while the second part is an instrumental piece with an amazing performance by Mauro "Paganini" Pagani. This second part is, in my opinion, one of the best song of the album and is a sort of prelude to La Carrozza Di Hans, another classic of the band's career, with a great solo by Mussida and extraordinary changes of time sig.

Recommend to everyone, especially lovers of symphonic prog.

rating 8/10.

Best song: Impressioni Di Settembre

Report this review (#428701)
Posted Thursday, April 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Premiata Forneria Marconi's debut album - which includes re-recorded versions of two songs from their debut single from the previous year - showcases their wonderful brand of pastoral prog. In terms of approach, Genesis is the obvious influence that I can detect - not surprising, considering that Gabriel and company had just made it big in Italy the previous year - but at the same time PFM attain a sound which Genesis themselves never quite captured on their own albums. It's a perfect blend of the acoustic, medieval-tinged music of Trespass and the more bold and brassy approach showcased on Nursery Cryme, with some jazzy interjections reminiscent of early King Crimson. Blending these elements seamlessly, PFM create an individual sound and an album unique of being considered alongside the best of their inspirations - and a perfect entry point for anyone wishing to explore the Italian prog scene. Five stars.
Report this review (#491059)
Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars PFM are far and away the most popular of all Italian prog rockers, Le Orme coming in a distant second. On this, their debut album, these seasoned musicians would craft one of the all-time classics and become highly successful in their native country, eventually leading to international fame. In my opinion one of the five essential groups in Progressive Rock, the others being King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, and ELP. It may not be fair to compare a band to itself, but PFM would perfect their sound on the next album, Per Un Amico, leaving Storia Di Un Minuto a hair short of perfection. Still an excellent listen for any symphonic rock fan, and one of the best from the classic Italian period (1971-1973).

The dreamy "Introduzione" gives way to "Impressioni Di Settembre," which is still to this day the band's most well-known song. An English version would later appear on The World Became The World. Analog synth freaks will love this one, as there is slippery Moog all over the chorus. Pay close attention to the drums and guitar in the second verse: the level of musicianship is so high and the playing so inventive I still smile every time I hear it, and I've probably heard it hundreds of times. "E'Festa," or Celebration, takes the energy up a notch. Always a concert favorite, there is more amazing musicianship on display here. PFM really was a band's band. "Dove...Quando" Parts 1 and 2 are probably my least favorite songs on the album, but still very good.

"La Corrozza Di Hans" features some astounding acoustic work by Franco Mussida, one of the true virtuoso guitar players, maybe ever. Check out some live PFM on YouTube if you don't believe me. I can't single him out though...the entire band, but particularly Mussida and Pagani on violin, are wonderful players; not just in the technical sense but in a compositional and emotional context as well. "Grazie Davvero" brings a close to one of the most important rock albums in Italy's history.

Report this review (#491235)
Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The debut album by PFM already shows their amazing musicianship, though it doesn't have the very complex orchestration that you can hear on PER UN AMICO. The result is outstanding anyway.

The album starts with a 1 min. introduction that leads to Impressioni di Settembre, perhaps their most popular song. It isn't very much progressive because it has too much "Italian singer-songwriter" feeling, but it's nice. Then we have "Č festa", a very good song, with a strong RPI feeling and overdriven guitars. The next track, "Dove...Quando..." is split in two parts between the two sides; the first one is nothing more than an acoustic ballad (not boring though) and the second one is really wonderful. It starts with the main theme of the song, played by an organ, then goes into beautiful instrumental passages in the real PFM vein. La Carrozza di Hans is something similar, but with a vocal part as well, and I like it even more. In the end, Grazie Davvero is a nice track, but there is nothing remarkable here.

What we get is an album that never sounds boring and with some awesome instrumental passages. It's a good way to start with RPI, but the musicianship gets even better in the next album, so after listening to this go on.

Report this review (#521683)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Storia Di Un Minuto, the debut album from legendary Italian progressive rock band Premiata Forneria Marconi, is often regarded as a classic prog rock album as well as one of the most important releases in Italian rock music. Both of these statements are pretty difficult to argue with - the lush, pastoral sound of Storia Di Un Minuto practically defined Italian symphonic prog for years to come, and this lovely debut also managed to skyrocket to the top of the Italian album charts within the first week of its release. Premiata Forneria Marconi really struck gold with Storia Di Un Minuto, and this still stands as one of the most beautiful albums in its genre. I personally think that Premiata Forneria Marconi improved even more with their next album, but there's no denying that this is a terrific and downright essential example of Italian prog.

On this album you'll find a rather eclectic style of symphonic progressive rock that rests somewhere between early efforts from King Crimson, Genesis, and ELP. Storia Di Un Minuto is quite different from all of these bands, though, and the classically inspired instrumentation and songwriting gives Premiata Forneria Marconi a sound that was undeniably distinct during this time period. I simply love how the music is arranged; the wide array of keyboard and guitar tones, violins, and flutes always compliment each other perfectly within the context of the music, and every song is performed with high amounts of raw energy and beauty. Even this early in their career, Premiata Forneria Marconi was a group of impeccable musicians with a knack for crafting well-written and beautiful compositions.

At just under thirty-five minutes, Storia Di Un Minuto is a pretty short album, but that shouldn't be seen as an issue since all of the music here is top-notch. Songs like "Impressioni Di Settembre", both parts of "Dove...Quando...", and "La Corroza di Hans" should be seen as absolute masterpieces of progressive rock music, and there is hardly a weak moment contained within any of the other tracks. The production of Storia Di Un Minuto is also pretty great; the warm and organic sound suits the music perfectly. I do find myself reaching for the volume nob an uncomfortable amount of times since the loud parts are very loud and the quiet parts are very quiet, but it's a pretty minor complaint in the long run.

Storia Di Un Minuto was one of the albums that helped define Italian symphonic progressive rock, and it still stands today as one of the genre's most expressive musical statements. I think the band outdid themselves with Per Un Amico (released later in 1972), but this is still a very worthy purchase for any fan of PFM or symphonic prog in general. 4 stars are deserved for this beautiful and highly influential debut.

Report this review (#562878)
Posted Saturday, November 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the more legendary albums in the RPI scene and overdue a review from myself.

I have been listening to it on and off for the last two years, but I have never taken time off to get my thoughts about it collected into a short and concise review.

This award winning bakery (Premiata Forneria Marconi) has taken a more pastoral, Genesis influenced route to RPI greatness than most other RPI bands from the 1970s. And this album is a good example. After a short intro, one of their best ever songs and one of RPI's finest songs Impressioni di Settembre comes. It is a brilliant song. The album also has a lot of other great songs, but side 2 never really gets going for me. It has a lot more pop and folky feel and not that great pastoral Genesis feel as side 1. But this is still a great album. But it is not as good as the follow up album, the mighty Per Un Amico.

Still, Storia Di Un Minuto is a great album.

4 stars

Report this review (#574346)
Posted Thursday, November 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars PFM's masterpiece debut is the place to start for Italian Prog.

Premiata Forneri Marconi are quintessential to the Italian prog scene and their album "Storia Di Un Minuto", translated as "Story a Minute Long", is among their best compositions, and this was their debut. Every track on the album is refreshingly innovative and simply excellent music for headphones.

The band are virtuosos consisting of Franz Di Cioccio on drums, Moog, aggeggi, and vocals, Franco Mussida on electric & acoustic guitar, dodici, 12 string guitar, mandoloncello, Mauro Pagani on flute, ottavino, violin, Giorgio Piazza on bass and Flavio Premoli on organ, pianoforte, Mellotron, clavicembalo, piano a puntine, and Moog.

'Impressioni di Settembre' is a definitive highlight, with a soaring keyboard melody driving it, along with 'E' Festa', the Italian original of the 'Celebration' single. The Italian version is certainly as dynamic and energetic as the remake, and of course the music is upbeat and has a sense of fun. It is one of the best tracks for PFM and most well-known, appearing on their compilations in some form.

'Dove... Quando... (Parte I) and (Parte II)' are excellent PFM tracks. Parte I slows the pace down considerably with gorgeous flute and 12 string guitar. Cioccio's vocals are delightful and it has a lulling melody exuding beauty and memorable instrumental pieces. Parte II begins with a medieval sound with organ and violin. It breaks into Premoli's piano played fortissimo and joined by wild percussion. Pagani's violin is sumptuous and some of the best music on the album is found in this passage. The dreamscape is fractured by a fast tempo of jazz infused rhythms and flute.

After the lengthy instrumentals Italian vocals return immediately on 'La Carrozza di Hans'. There are more lush sounds of flute and ambient keyboards. The vocals are gentle and multi layered with a high falsetto range. The acoustics are well played with extraordinary finger picking prowess and soon the drums crash in to add a very strong rhythm along with beautiful violin. There are odd time changes and some inspirational melodies, showcasing the tight musicianship ranging from intricate passages to lush gentle nuances.

'Grazie Davvero' closes the album with a guitar picking motif that is so close to Pink Floyd's 'Brain Damage' that it is astonishing. The music changes to majestic blasts of brass and the vocals intensify. This caps off an essential PFM album and it earns extra credit for being a debut.

Of course the band went onto become the darlings of Rock Progressive Italiano but here is an excellent place to start, right from the beginning. The albums to follow would continue the mark of excellence and PFM would maintain a consistent influence in the 70s prog rock scene.

Report this review (#613505)
Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yummy Yummy RPI Classic

No tour of Italian Prog would be valid without PFM, and so it was that I acquired their debut album after being pretty ambivalent toward the samples I'd heard. I am not a big fan of early King Crimson or ELP, which clearly heavily influenced this disc. However, one of my biggest beefs with those bands is meandering songs and an overbloated approach. PFM, in contrast, takes the big keys and Moody Blues airiness and adds a much more economic sense of composition and monstrously better focus within each song. Once again, I prefer the 2nd generation better than the 1st in this case.

While each individual song is nicely constructed and consistent, the songs do not relate very well to each other. There is an airy COTKC track, a heavy prog track, an acoustic guitar showpiece, an overture. Each performs its specific task wonderfully. But going from track 2 to 3 it's almost as if I'm listening to a different band. And while PFM often equals or even bests their influences, those influences are often obvious and always looming over the music. Besides the Italian flavor, PFM (at least on this album) really isn't adding anything to prog in general other than great skill. (Unlike for instance Il Balletto di Bronzo's YS which has a place in the greater prog canon without consideration of origin or genre). Similarly, the vocals are beautifully delivered but not distinctive.

But now we get to the real point. These guys can play. And write. This is really good stuff. Each song is good enough to challenge the best in the prog genre. Always it is the entire band playing a piece of music, never a specific player taking over just to show technique. There is no extraneous material, and things move from idea to idea quickly. There are a LOT of musical statements on this disc.

Another excellent addition to any prog collection, but not truly essential to this listener.

Report this review (#651022)
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of my favourite albums of Italian progressive rock and I might add: one of my favourite albums ever. The spirit of early King Crimson and McDonald/Giles clearly hovers over this beautiful "Storia Di Un Minuto", but P.F.M. have so much more to express in their music. The mix of experimental progressive rock with Italian folk elements works out perfectly. The Italian vocals contribute largely to the atmosphere of the album. Songs like "Impressioni Di Settembre" and "Dove... Quando..." sound so very Italian, but at the same time so universal, that it's hard not to love them right away. Right on their first album P.F.M. prove their instrumental skills on the highest level. Violinist/flutist Mauro Pagani and guitarist Franco Mussida are true masters on their instruments, while the Moog driven keyboardparts of Flavio Premoli contribute largely to the unique sound of the band. The vocals, here still mostly performed by Franco Mussida are of excellent quality. The more experimental side of the band is shown mainly in "La Carrozza di Hans" and in "Grazie Davvero". The arrangements and the playing level in these songs show the quality of a new super group right away. "Storia Di Un Minuto" is a milestone in Italian progressive rock. The soundquality of the album surpasses most competeting albums. It's an album that should be in every progrock lover's collection and therefore five stars are the only right reward !

Erik de Beer.

Report this review (#759504)
Posted Monday, May 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Storia Di Un Minuto is perhaps the strongest debut album by any band in the prog genre. Clearly these guys new what they were doing from the beginning. Musically this album is structurally diverse and has plenty of exciting tempo, mood, and style changes throughout. Also, the variety of instruments is impeccable, for which flute, moog, violin and the classic mellotron all play a significant part. Simply put, these guys make beautiful music.

The album opens with the aptly titled 'Introduzione' and 'Impressioni De Settembre.' The latter has some amazing dynamic sound changes throughout and has a gorgeous melody played by a plethora of different instruments.

'E'Festa' is a harder-rocking song with an undeniable energy and happy atmosphere. The heavier parts with the crunchy guitar are mixed flawlessly with the gentler flute and mellotron parts.

'Dove? Quando' has two parts, the first part is down-tempo, tranquil, and flows beautifully with flute and acoustic guitar. The second part is jazzier with keyboards taking a more dominant role.

'La Carozza Di Hans' features some absolutely brilliant acoustic guitar work, as well as some serene vocals.

The album concludes with 'Grazie Davvero,' which has a slight Beatles inflection in the beginning. There is a nice brass section throughout, which is always welcome.

Overall, Storia Un Di Minuto is a cornerstone of Italin and prog music alike. My only problem with this album is that it's too short! Literally, that's it.


Report this review (#843801)
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was my first foray into the RPI scene, and I definitely feel I received a very positive introduction that has motivated me to delve further into it. This album is very accessible, conveys many interesting and deep moods, has stellar musicianship, and presents strong, memorable melodies. The balance on this album between each member is also superior as each voice stands out appropriately as you can tell it was meant to. This helps maximize returns on future listens and bolsters the already strong melodies.

The focal point of each song is its thematic concepts, which I greatly appreciate. That's something I listen to with great preference, so their writing style appeals to me greatly. In addition to that, another obvious feature is the ability to evoke multiple styles effectively, even within the same track. Take, for instance, Dove... Quando Pt. II, in which the more classically-driven section gives way to a more energetic jazz-tinged passage. In spite of the direct, even abrupt shift, because the thematic content is still perceptible, it doesn't become too jarring. In fact, it serves as a great balancing mechanic. This new energy is very welcome and arrives just in time before the track becomes stale. As a whole, the willingness to exploit multiple styles, no matter how disjointed they may seem on the surface, even within the same track, demonstrates the tremendous amount of compositional skill and boldness this group brings to the table. I highly admire that quality.

The group's instrumentation is very noteworthy as well. From the keyboard-driven passages of Impressioni di Settembre and E' Festa to the precise horn and intricate bass parts featured in the closer and my favorite track on the album Grazie Davvero, we are treated to highly memorable sonic textures that catapult the power and feeling behind each player's material to a whole new expressive plane.

This is a milestone album and a wonderful starting point into this band's catalog and the RPI scene as a whole. Aside from a few dull, dragging passages in the second-last track La Carrozza di Hans, I enjoyed every minute of this release. Those few stale moments may hold it back from true masterpiece status in my opinion, but no other substantial detracting details come to mind. I give this album a strong 4.5 and am very much looking forward to hearing more from this undeniably talented group of accomplished musicians.

Report this review (#949050)
Posted Thursday, April 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Storia di un minuto" is Premiata Forneria Marconis debut album and was released in 1972. The album has an artistic cover with the face of a woman, some houses of a city and empty branches of a tree, everything colerful and interesting. This cover makes us expectant to what may come. And this came:

Seven tracks of amazing, dynamic and dramatic music packed in a timeless progressive rock. This music is nothing but essential for a prog rock fan. It is so honest, pure and filled with emotions and musical influences so I understand It must have been hard for PFM to keep that splendor. On this record the band included Franz di Cioccio (drums, Moog, aggeggi, vocals  ), Franco Mussida (electric & acoustic guitars, 12-string guitar, mandoloncello, vocals  ), Mauro Pagani ( flute, ottavino, violin, vocals), Giorgio Piazza (Giorgio Piazza / bass, vocals  ) and Flavio Premoli (organ, piano, mellotron, harpsichord, piano a puntine, moog, vocals ). All those instruments give the music a uinique power.

"Introduzione" is an introduktion which starts with warbling and powerful symphonic rock connects before this short gem cuncludes. "Impressioni Di Settembre" is astonishing in its interlude which is so powerful and really grabs you and wants you to tensing muscles. The verses are carefull. "E'Festa" is variated and very qualified rock. Starts with rock'n'roll and winding keyboard connects. A totally free vocalisation and both chamber piano and flute are included. "Dove...Quando...- I Parte" has a fealing of the Medieval or perhaps the baroque period. This and the soft vocals makes a fealing of different times melting together. "Dove...Quando...-II Parte" is instrumental and experimental with some jazz and some blues and contains an old fasioned symphonic piano. "La Carrozza di Hans" is perhaps the discs most dramaturgical piece with different episodes of totally different music. Finally perhaps "Grazie Davvero" is my favourite track along with the second. It begins acoustic and becomes a strong song with powerful vocals. The music comes with jolts and gives a feeling of film music and perhaps a little bit Beatles. Very strong music.

A little short, but totally escellent record from this Premiata Forneria Marconi. Chocholate Kings which I reviewed some days ago couldn't hide their Genesis influences. This record has other intertexts but not as distinct. It sound just like PFM mainly and that is very good. It could almost be a little sad when a group makes such a good debut. I wonder if the rest is as good as this?

Report this review (#965991)
Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Some rank this 1972 album, the Italian group's debut, as even better than it's highly-praised follow-up, the magnificent 'Per Un Amico'. But they're wrong. Although undoubtedly one of the key Italian albums of that country's golden prog-rock period and filled with strong moments, 'Storia Di Un Minuto', a complex, mellifluous work, can't quite beat the glorious pastoral beauty found at the very heart of 'Per Un Amico'. Of course, there are many fans & critics who will disagree, and even for this writer it's a real close-run thing. Yet there is a darkness in 'Storia Di Un Minuto' that distracts, juxtaposing oddly with the glowing mellotronic warmth found throughout 'Per Un Amico'. One of the more accessible Italian prog-rock albums, 'Per Un Amico' carries an almost universal appeal thanks to it's soft tones and carefully-orchestrated sound, whereas it's predecessor opts for a slightly more oppressive atmosphere(especially towards the album's finale). 'Per Un Amico' simply shines, the opening song 'Appena Un Po' and the glistening title- track showcasing the group at what was arguably their creative zenith, the album's place in the gilded pantheon of all-time progressive rock classics long sealed. It is one of the few European albums(alongside the likes of Harmonium's symphonic-folk masterpiece 'Si On Avait Besoin D'une Cinquieme Saison') to consistently appear in the top ten of various prog album polls, and it is through 'Per Un Amico' that many discover the rest of PFM's material, such is the album's lure. But in the end, all this really proves is just how good 'Storia Di Un Minuto' really is. It may lack the outstanding clarity of it's sister album, yet it features many dazzling moments, especially in the gorgeous melody that underpins ' Impressioni Di Settembre', a song so good that PFM regenerated it for their 1974 album 'L'isola Di Niente' and again on the same year's English-language version('The World Became The World'). Also including the two-part mini-epic 'Dove...Quando', 'Storia Di Un Minuto' almost seems like a dry run for 'Per Un Amico', with a slightly more experimental edge becoming more-and-more noticeable with each subsequent listen. It is certainly superior to the group's later efforts, such as the bombastic 'Chocolate Kings' and the jazz-fusion influenced 'Jet Lag', and upon it's release in 1971 helped to mark the moment that Italian prog-rock really began to bloom. Of course, opinions are divided on PFM's mid-to-late seventies output, and the group certainly didn't enjoy the international success they hoped for after their move to Emerson Lake & Palmer's Manticore Records following the success of 'Per Un Amico'. They would never again make an album as significant as either of their opening pair, and despite almost losing the plot completely with some ill-advised commercial forays during the 1980's(who didn't?), they would retain a large and loyal following through the decades. As of 2010 PFM were still writing, recording and, occasionally, touring, yet the last few years have been quiet. 'Storia Di Un Minuto' is where the story began, and for a brief-but-brilliant few years at the beginning of the 1970's PFM really did produce some truly sumptuous music.
Report this review (#1073587)
Posted Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars After toying with the Italian pop world and then the first proto-incarnation of I QUELLI, several core members of PFM decided to steer their new musical vehicle into the symphonic progressive arena where they decided to keep some of the melody-making pop sensibilities that actually landed them a few hits in their native Italy. STORIA DI UN MINUTO was released in 1972 with fairly instant success and hitting the top of the charts in their homeland and worldwide success wasn't far behind.

The thing that strikes me most about this debut by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI which translates into 'Award-winning Marconi Bakery' (yeah, everything sounds better in Italian!) is that although they may have been influenced by modern progressive acts of the day such as Genesis and other symphonic acts, they are the group in all of prog that I have so far heard that seems to have incorporated the most obvious classical influences. At this stage they leaned less on rock as an influence and more on Chopin inspired piano runs, Paganini inspired violins and classical Spanish guitar to make some beautifully constructed music that clearly emphasized melody above all else. Despite being more influenced by the classical world, there are also many times when jazz, hard rock and beautiful Tull-like flute enter the picture making this something truly unique.

For me the melodic nature of this music is just so addictive that it makes me think of the perfect amalgamation of two time periods of music, namely the classical periods of yesteryear which actually encompasses several centuries and the newer more modern-day era of the 70s when this was created. This is a beautifully orchestrated and crafted masterpiece that will surely be as well-known centuries from now like the influences that inspired it. For me personally, it just gets better after every listen.

Report this review (#1135947)
Posted Saturday, February 22, 2014 | Review Permalink
1 stars Storia Di Un Minuto is another typical Premiata Forneria Marconi album. All compositions are on the same level, quite technical and wel played. However, I wouldn't dare to compare this album with the other prog rock classic offering of Genesis, Yes, Van Der Graaf or King Crimson. PFM is too much second hand, comparing to them, like a derivative, clearly a lower grade. I don't find one really enjoyable song on the album. It is too much main stream, too much average sound and too little actually enjoyable tunes. I think, this is more for the collectors and funs of Italian progressive.
Report this review (#1483538)
Posted Friday, November 6, 2015 | Review Permalink
Magnum Vaeltaja
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars Come one, come all! Join us on a once in a lifetime tour of "La Patria Bellissima", and take in the wonderful sites and sounds of Italy!

"Impressioni Di Settembre". Our first stop brings us to the hills of Tuscany. The sun's fading rays glimmer on the rippling fields, where farmers are reaping their final harvest of the season. A sense of tranquillity permeates through the village. The sky is a rhapsody of colour, hues of red and yellow complementing the aging vines and crisp fallen leaves. Letting out a sigh, you ooh and ah at the rustic scene, taken away by the autumn splendour.

"E Festa". With the midday sun beating down in its unrelenting heat, the village has sprung to life once again. A wedding? A national holiday? A seasonal festival? Merely a family get together? Whatever the reason, the region has been swept up in the festivities. You sit back as the food and drink flow freely. Laughter, cheer, and song fill the air. It's time to ease the mood and have a little fun! With smiles on their faces, the townspeople take to their feet and dance. Why not join them?

"Dove... Quando... Pt. 1". A light fog and a gentle rain fill the valley. The serenity is obscured only by the melancholy. Looking out the window, doubts fill your mind. Your lover is no longer with you. ...Where? ...When? Questions persist, but no one is around to offer answers. The rain persists, the bird's song offers a sole reprieve. ...Why?

"Dove... Quando... Pt. 2". The city is abreast with life all hours into the evening. The sights, the sounds, the lights, the crowds. All surrounding you, engulfing you, mesmerizing you. The urban pace is disorienting, but oddly inviting. Streetlights, window lights, candlelight, the buzz of activity sucks you into its seductive allure.

"La Carrozza Di Hans". Off the main streets, you find a small "hole in the wall". An intimate ambience, some fine wine, and pleasant conversation. It's a cozy fit, but there's plenty of breathing room from the hectic nightlife. A light meal and a private concert, courtesy of the solo guitarist serenading the room; his technique is impeccable, but never distracting from the romance of the setting.

"Grazzie Davvero". The red curtain is drawn back, you ease yourself back into your velvet-trimmed seat. The stage is filled with action, the actors' boisterous voices engaged almost in competition. "Drama" is the name of the game, and no theatrics are too extravagant for this production. Taking a final bow, the vaudevillian troupe is met by standing ovation. Encore!

So there you have it: your very own 35 minute tour of Italy, all from the comfort of your record player. All the romance, the joy, the beauty, the pathos, the atmosphere, the urban and rural, the melding of eras. In short, everything that makes Italy so wonderful, all on one brief album, masterfully composed and delivered. PFM's debut is not just a fantastic, well-rounded, human album, but it's the perfect tip of the hat to the band's home culture, and the Italian musical tradition. If you're a fan of not just excellent prog, but fine music in general, then consider "Storia Di Un Minuto" to be none other than an essential addition to your collection.

Report this review (#1557680)
Posted Saturday, April 30, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars PFM's best album.

This album set the trademark PFM sound, and it is on this album they are most successful at excelling at this. The music is intensely beautiful and musical, and highly diverse, effortlessly weaving together different styles (from baroque classical, to jazz, latin folk, to heavy Crimson-like rock). Unlike Per Un Amico, every track on this album is excellent, and they pull you in, with each new track/segment building on the previous, maintaining interest and momentum. The first three albums all have great singing, and I think this one is best on this front too, mainly because of the sensitivity of the vocalists. The dynamics are incredible, going from soft-as-a-whisper to frontal-assault, but without ever being pretentious. Really excellent music. For me, this is the best album that best represents the RPI genre. I give this 9.4 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 10 PA stars.

Report this review (#1702487)
Posted Thursday, March 16, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favorite debut in prog rock: 9/10

This album is meaningful to me because it was the first I bought without having prior listened to it (and I paid mere 13 dollars!). Until then, I had little contact with PFM other than their long and eccentric name - as the band members say, ''the more difficult to remember a band's name, the more difficult to forget it" - and the high rating of their first two albums. Assuming this is a debut, the acclaim is at the very least suspicious, "how can a new band start right off the bat so strongly?". Well, thing is that by the time PFM released their first album in Jan, 1972, the band members had experience on jamming various genres in their earlier band I Quelli ("Them [Weirdos]"), including prog rock. It is no surprise that their first release would be as strong as a veteran band's at their prime, mostly because they were so.

The first thing that called my attention on STORIA DI UN MINUTO is its eclectism, far broader than other contemporaneous Italian bands such as BANCO or MUSEO. They, as usual, syncretizes symphonic classical and traditional Italian music to the rock context of the 70s, except that they take a step further and also pour in healthy doses of blues and folk, the latter taking the limelight on most occasions. Also, their vocalist isn't the strongest point, differently from the aforementioned bands. That brings in a vacancy of prominence, solidly taken by the instruments, which range from heavy synthesizers (an innovation for Italian music) to pastoral flutes and further beyond. Long, varied instrumental parts are the norm.

While most songs aren't inherently complex, at least on a technical level, the intricate melody and its metamorphic nature confer a continuous flow of varied influences and sections, all unique to their own, almost in an incoherent fashion. Such as on Č Festa, bringing the hardest rock La Premiata offers that, after dissolving into a jazzy interlude, changes yet again to a folksy recap of the intro. Things of this nature are common in STORIA and that makes me think the musicians forgot about the quality of bonding (musical) concepts together, opting instead to just jam whatever they felt like. Another point that diverges PFM from their contemporaneous counterparts. They're far more dynamic.

Perhaps the first distinguished RPI record, both home and abroad, something that probably has to do with their mildly solid fan base prior to its release. Nonetheless, PFM's success was a moral victory to all aspiring prog Italians, as they observed a fellow of theirs triumphantly roaring. I can only imagine what wonders must it have been to finally see prog penetrating in their peninsular homeland as they played PFM's record once and twice and thrice and so on to capture every nuance and absorb every song at its fullest. To this day, PFM remains as a legend, rightfully so, because this stuff is, plain and simple, legendary.

Report this review (#1769308)
Posted Monday, August 7, 2017 | Review Permalink

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