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Le Orme - Piccola Rapsodia Dell'Ape CD (album) cover


Le Orme

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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4 stars Le Orme could have so easily remained in the "ELP-like" genre and kept their fans. That they chose to explore increasingly acoustic areas having more to do with the Italian classical greats than continuing to emulate ELP counts as "truly progressive" (and not retro- progressive) in my book. While "Florian" was more classically-oriented pieces, "Piccola Rapsodia Dell'ape" dares to incorporate more of a pop feel into its tracks. On one end of the spectrum is the stellar instrumental title track (which comes close to the spirit of early- era Gentle Giant in acoustic/classical form), as well as the similarly-inclined "Fragile conchiglia". On the other end is the catchy "pop" tunes that begin each side of the album (The obviously danceable 'single' "Charango" plays like post-punk/new-wave as performed in an unplugged atmosphere... yet the actual single release was the title track itself! "Il Treno" puzzles in its juxtaposition of complexity with pop hooks... from a country where even the most complex and progressive rock music was considered "pop"). The remaining tracks on side 1 come across as closest to the classic non-ELP side of the group, "La mia bianca sposa" from the vein that also produced "Frutto acerbo", and "Raccogli le nuvole" mixing tempos and feels between sections. As to the remaining tracks on Side 2, these are the most difficult for me to enjoy, although they are by no means "bad" tracks. The chorded-piano intro to "Fiori di Luce" is somewhat upsetting, but balance is restored upon arrival of first the mandolin and high-pitched tuned percussion, quickly followed by cello and violin and switching into a more aggressive mode for the bridge. Only the acoustic guitar arrangement of "Buonanotte" comes too close to pop for a "prog" classification. The short length and inclusion of "Buonanotte" might encourage me to remove half a star from my present classification, but the fact remains that Le Orme dared to be acoustic at a time when their following would have loved nothing more than to hear more ELP-type performances, while maintaining their level of classically-inspired composition (which becomes even more apparent in an acoustic setting) so I'd rather stay at four stars than three. Any opera/Italian-classics-loving prog fan should check this out. And in the age of MP3s permitting one to check out recordings first, there no longer is an excuse to avoid hearing this album.
Report this review (#17912)
Posted Thursday, September 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars In 1980 Le Orme released the follow up of "Florian". The formula is the same, a classical acoustic quartet. Germano Serafin (violin, charango, bouzuki, 12 strings guitar) is the fourth band' members since Tolo Marton left after recording "Smogmagica" (1975).

A collection of 8 short songs, for just 33 minutes. Not a memorable album, not at the same level of the previous one. More un-inspired than that, sometimes it appears to lack in imagination.

I think the only one that deserves to be appreciated more is the instrumental title track. An acoustic-baroque gem, with a remarkable vibraphone played by Michi De Rossi (or Giuseppe, as he used to be called at the time). The music is very interesting and manages to describe a little bee's flight. I'm not the first to notice a vague Gentle Giant's influence on this track. Violin and delicate cello are also played in good mixture.

The other tunes show the band approaching quickly to the pop music. Sadly "Florian" seems to be very far.

1.5 - 2 stars.

Report this review (#77418)
Posted Sunday, May 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes, five stars. I simply adore it!

While earlier albums show LE ORME's masterity in composing great Symphonic Prog pieces for ELP-like trio, they never fall into bombastic category - LE ORME are Italians and they care for MELODIES first!!! This one is pure brilliance - melodies and emotions. No bombastic keyboards at all - acoustic guitars, violas and pianos...My favourite from them, along with recent "L'Infinito".The opener "Il treno" reminds of BEATLES' "Hello Goodbye" - great! "La mia bianca sposa" is another highlight - pretty memorable chorus and Aldo is stunning with his trembling voice..."Piccola rapsodia dell'ape" is an instrumental,very good - acoustic and pastoral,but partly wild!"Charango" is another step away from Prog,but it is amazing song - quirky and firing, humorous in mood. My favourite here is probably the closing "Buonanotte" - simple lullaby with AWESOME melodic chorus...very peaceful and calm piece, proving that LE ORME are more melodists than bombasters. Highly recommended, especially for those who uncapable to get the genius of "classical" albums - maybe, you should try this one like I did!

Report this review (#106729)
Posted Tuesday, January 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is the second acoustic / classical "Le Orme" album in a row.

Actually, this one doesn't sound as classical as its predecessor ("Florian") if you would except the title track which, therefore, doesn't succeed in pleasing me. Chords, marimba & tutti quanti. Not my cup of tea. At all. Same sort of feeling (except the marimba) with "Fragile Conchiglia".

Popish accents are also in place here. And pretty unbearable ("Charango"). Press next.

This album also holds some good tracks to be honest. More in their subtle and delicate style : "Il Treno" is probably the best one to get here and "Raccogli le Nuvole" doesn't fall short. A very nice melody (even if the chorus is a bit weak).

These two songs were a good start for this album but the next pleasant moment I can point out is the sixth song "Fiori Di Luce". A good combination of a passionate and melodic song with an upbeat tempo during the middle part. Very nice.

The title of the closing number is rather explicit "Buona Notte" (good night). Yes, good night and have a nice sleep while listening to this dull song. If I do the total good musical moments from this very short album, I reach the fantastic total of almost .twelve minutes. Not really enough to deserve more than two stars.

Report this review (#160349)
Posted Thursday, January 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not a great Prog album. Piccola Rapsodia Dell'Ape isn't a good album in prog. But in POP yes. Acoustic album Piccola Rapsodia Dell'Ape contain the good songs: Il Treno, Raccogli Le Nuvole, La Mia Bianca Sposa and Piccola Rapsodia Dell'Ape, the first four tracks. For the other, little or more, good songs. For 1980 musical standards Piccola Rapsodia Dell'Ape is a great album. Not in the economy of Le Orme discography. But if you love Le Orme Piccola Rapsodia Dell'Ape is, despite what I have written, a great and very fine example of POP. Piccola Rapsodia Dell'Ape Is everything to reassess.
Report this review (#160757)
Posted Monday, February 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The experiment with ''Florian'' with Le Orme flirting with classical music was rather succesful and so the band decided to move on in the same direction.Just a year after ''Florian'',the new album ''Piccola Rapsodia dell'Ape'' holds strong similarities with the previous work,the last album for the band on Phillips before their first break.

''Piccola rapsodia dell'ape'' is again a very gentle and pastoral release of Classical Music mixed with Acoustic Prog.Strong romantic passages,warm melodies all over the place and nice vocal work by Aldo Tagliapietra.This time Germano Serafin leans towards using more of his mandolin and leave aside his violin,thus adding to the album a heavy and lovely Meditterenean feeling.Pagliuca shines again on tracks like the eponymous one or ''Fragile conchiglia'' with his complicated Classical-influenced piano and the atmosphere becomes even more cinematic with the help of Michi Dei Rossi's vibraphone and glockenspiel.The album is actually carefully balanced between Classical and Acoustic vocal-based Music.The final result is very close to what the album title indicates,a small rhapsody full of smooth acoutic passages,harmonic vocal lines and classical references.

This would be unfortunately the end of Le Orme's best period.''Venerdi'' from 1982 on DDD without Serafin and produced by Roberto Colombo would send Le Orme to the SanRemo Festival but also to their first breakdown.They would reform in 1986 with the classic 1970-1975 line-up to perform a huge number of shows but the 1990 album ''Orme'' was again just horrible pop-rock.The band broke up again the same year,Pagliuca was gone for good and only the 1996 re-formation would show a turn towards a more progressive sound.Meanwhile Le Orme's last document from their early good years is a decent album and if you like ''Florian'',you should certainly go after it.

Report this review (#516821)
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars When Orme shortened their name and ditched their electronic equipment at the end of the 1970s, the effect was like a mild gust of unsullied air in an increasingly stale musical environment. It was a short-lived epiphany, lasting only a little more than a year. And by the time they recorded this 1980 companion piece to their gently unplugged 'Florian' the band was already diluting the acoustic purity of the earlier album, with more assertive percussion and the occasional electric bass guitar (not listed in the credits, but hard to miss).

So the new album was a compromise of sorts, between the classical chamber pieces of its predecessor and the exquisite RPI of the group's better-known masterpieces. The music was still attractively switched-off, but held all the melodic appeal of the best Orme balladry from the '70s, minus only the synthesizers. In an age of Arena Rock bombast and Neo Prog ascendancy, the simplicity of purpose and clarity of presentation was refreshing, precisely because it was so out of step with changing fashions.

The album doesn't rock, despite the emphatic momentum of songs like 'Il Treno', and the atypically forceful chorus of 'Raccogli le Nuvole'. But it rolls with a natural grace that hasn't aged in 35-plus years: the sound of classic (if no longer classical) Orme, stripped to its lyrical essence.

And when Aldo Tagliapietra sings the album's closing lullaby, he's bidding a wistful 'Buona Notte' to a decade of creative music making, the likes of which would not be heard again from this band for another fifteen years. Upcoming efforts would mark Orme as quintessential sellouts in a dumbed-down marketplace. But they at least ended the '70s on a welcome note of pristine benevolence.

Report this review (#1426787)
Posted Sunday, June 14, 2015 | Review Permalink

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