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Formula 3

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Formula 3 La Grande Casa album cover
3.13 | 63 ratings | 13 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Rapsodia di Radius (5:21)
2. La Ciliegia non e' di Plastica (4:33)
3. Liberta' per Quest'Uomo (5:33)
4. La Grande Casa (5:27)
5. Cara Giovanna (4:58)
6. Bambina Sbagliata (4:44)

Total Time: 30:38

Line-up / Musicians

- Tony Cicco / drums, percussion, vocals
- Gabriele Lorenzi / keyborads, bass, vocals
- Alberto Radius / guitars, bass, vocals

Releases information

Numero Uno (ZSLN 55655)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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FORMULA 3 La Grande Casa ratings distribution

(63 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(16%)
Good, but non-essential (57%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

FORMULA 3 La Grande Casa reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by soundsweird
3 stars While their previous album, "Sognando E Risognando", has a deservedly better reputation (there are simply more good tracks), this followup is worth getting. The first track is about as good as anything on "Sognando...", and there are a couple of other good songs, too. Of course, a 30-minute album is (usually) not going to have a lot of great material!!! That seems to be a common occurence with Italian Prog; PFM's Italian-language albums were too short. Hmm...maybe it was the fault of Numero Uno....
Review by andrea
3 stars "La grande casa" is the fourth studio album by Formula 3 and was released in 1973 on the Numero Uno label with the historic line up featuring Tony Cicco (drums, percussion, vocals), Gabriele Lorenzi (piano, organ, Minimoog, synth, bass, vocals) and Alberto Radius (electric and acoustic guitar, bass, vocals). This time the album was produced by Mogol who took charge of the lyrics with results that, in my opinion, are not always up to the music composed by the band. For prog lovers this work might be considered a step backwards and a disappointing return to shorter, simpler pieces after its excellent predecessor but it's not without interest and in some way it anticipates the sound of Il Volo, the band born from the ashes of Formula 3 with Alberto Radius and Gabriele Lorenzi...

The melancholic opener "Rapsodia di Radius" starts by an excellent acoustic guitar intro, then the music and lyrics conjure up the image of a world where there are many open spaces but there's no room for love. It's a world where rage and selfishness rule and where freedom gets drowned in a moot. Fear looms large and life is like rag a falling down between feet of lead while man seems incapable to look after himself and is like a dove that risks to die before taking off to the sky. Anyway, the beautiful, dreamy instrumental coda lets the light of hope shine through the clouds...

"La ciliegia non č di plastica" (The cherry is not of plastic) is a simple pop rock song about a beautiful, independent and veracious girl attracted by the sirens of advertisements and tabloid stories that make her insecure. The music and lyrics invite her to be more confident because she's round, sound and tasty like a cherry and point out that her sense of freedom could be frightening for some men...

"Libertą per quest'uomo" (Freedom for this man) begins softly and with a dark mood, then the rhythm rises as the keyboards introduce the melody. After another calm instrumental passage the voices of a choir begin to soar repeating in a loop like a mantra "freedom, freedom for this man" and bringing a ray of light in the darkness...

The melancholic "La grande casa" (The big house) evokes in music and words a deep sense of solitude. A man is driving back home and his new house is big but empty. When he opens the door, all alone in the silence, he feels like a stranger, he can hear nothing but the sound of his steps echoing in the dark. This is not what he desired and now he dreams of someone to hug, someone who could tell him that he's not alone any more...

The bittersweet "Cara Giovanna" (Dear Giovanna) begins by a romantic piano solo intro that gives way to an acoustic guitar arpeggio. Then the music and lyrics depict a man talking to a woman about their love story that is ending. According to the man, his partner conceives love as paper that she wants to burn, in her eyes he sees a strange light and the desire to search for new adventures. For him it's hard to accept her choice...

The last track, "Bambina sbagliata" (Wrong baby), depicts another troubled love affair between a young man and a girl. The man seems disappointed and escapes from the charms of the girl who fails to bind him with her sweet, sugary ropes and whipping looks. For him the only solution is going away, forgetting, flying, running away...

On the whole, a good album but not essential in a prog collection.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars ".the street is mud-spattered, I keep my hands upon the wheel, the great house has been just builded up."

Formula Tre is one of the most popular bands in Italy at the beginning of the 70's because of their long collaboration with greatest song-writer Lucio Battisti who took them to the Numero Uno label producing their first album and writing many songs of their repertoire. They represented his rock face.

Fourth and last album of the seventies was La Grande Casa (The Great House). I think it is an important album due to the fact of the group's split from Lucio Battisti's production and compositions. The album was in fact produced by lyric-writer Mogol (the lyric-writer of Battisti) with original music by Alberto Radius. There's a large use of acoustic guitar here with a very interesting mix with the keyboard sounds.

Alberto Radius (guitar, vocals), Gabriele Lorenzi (keyboards, vocals) and Tony Cicco (drums, vocals) are good musicians but here they seem to imitate Battisti's songwriting, in particular in the song La Ciliegia Non č di Plastica (Cherry is not plastic made of), a good and humoresque song with good combination of rusty doors' noises.

The album is not completely progressive, only being a couple of GREAT songs and with varied arrengements: Rapsodia di Radius (Radius' Rhapsody) and La Grande Casa. Also Libertą Per Quest'Uomo (Freedom For This Man) is remarkable and very well played and composed.

Without any doubt, I feel that that 1973 album deserves a three stars rating! What a pity that total time is only about 30 mns...

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars This weird trio was one of the earliest of the Italian scene, and LGC is really only their second real album: I don't really consider that Dies Irae and the eponymous album as real/proper albums because none of the songs were simply never written by them, but rather with the Battisti/Mogol writing team. Both of their first two album are completely uninteresting to progheads (developing a beat-pop) except for the odd track - the title track on the debut and the 11-min opener on the second (and even then it is weak). The better Sognando concept album, still plagued with poor pop tracks from that writing duo, but at least their trio's songs now existed and were much better than the ones from the hired team. With their final album La Grande Casa, the group parted with the team (well they kept the lyric writer anyway), but all of the tracks were written by the trio, two of them getting the help of outsider Marrow.

While there are not epics like Ultima Foglia (from Sognando) on this album, this album has personal touch that none of their predecessor has, and this is why advise progheads to start here. With the very intimate Rasodia De Radius as lead off, one can hear some real prog, developing some real moods and ambiances. The following Ciliegia is however a rather surprising track (sounding rather out-of-context with the rest of the album), unsettling because it is unusual with recording level bizarrely upfront and quaint acoustic guitar string strumming, but clearly the group is falling on Battisti syndrome withdrawals. Much more in line with the rest of the album is the quiet crescendo Liberta, but in the end manages to sound a bit cheesy.

The flipside starts with their best (IMHO) track ever, the title track is also a nice crescendo, building up twice to its enthralling and catchy climax. Cara Giovanna is definitely more in Battisti realm, but does not present the glaring weaknesses than Ciliegia. The closing Bambina is again a bit too close to Battisti realm for comfort, but the group manages not to fall in the obvious traps by installing a strong groove in the closing section.

While their previous album gets the nod from a majority of progheads I prefer this one because it is much more even, almost not presenting any atrocious/cringing Battisti pop stuff, but don't get your hopes up too high, none of Formula 3 records are really worth your hard-earned cash, even if you indulge gladly in Italian prog. From what I know, only singer/bassist/guitarist Radius (the better musician of the trio) will pursue in music. Their best, but hardly essential and unfortunately too short.

PS: This F3 album is most likely the only one I will bother with, the first two being complete waste of time (heard them through friends that were trying to get rid of them;-), and I got rid of the third one long ago.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Great album for wine at the summer house.

La Grande Casa is the underappreciated little brother of the previous Formula 3 album that gets all of the accolades. But this little kid is charming and should not be written off by those who appreciate early 70s acoustic rock albums. It is not typical of other Italian Symphonic genre releases in that it has an almost folksy hippie rock feel courtesy of generous acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies. The music has an intimate, romantic, communal vibe that occasionally reminds me of the Californian rock of the period though it doesn't give up its own identity either.

"Rapsodia de Radius" begins with acoustic guitar before keys and electric join in. The short 30 minute length of the album plays out like one extended piece with different sections: fairly mellow acoustic moments, quiet vocals, then up tempo and slightly more rocking moments with nice lead guitar. In this way there is some resemblance to the early PFM albums. Apart from the quiet vocals there are moments where we get sort of a group sing-along which helps impart the communal feel this album has. We even get some nice sound effects of our characters arriving at the big house at the start of the title track. At 3 minutes is a lovely near-spoken word vocal to piano before things pick up for a rocking ending. The album closes with "Bambina Sbagliata" which has a very sentimental flavor to the lead vocals and longing acoustic guitars. The ending is left to the bass player who riffs a little over keys and mid tempo drumming; not a very memorable ending for this album but it's a minor complaint.

The photograph of the "big house" that graces the inside of the gatefold cover is absolutely stunning and would be perfect at full size hanging in your living room. It shows the big house in the country on a summer day behind a sweep of yellow wildflowers. If you're a collector of great album art you will need the mini-LP cd Japanese gatefold reissue for your collection. While not essential this title should please Italian rock lovers and 70s acoustic rock fans.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This joyus record is introduced by Alberto Radius' percussive acoustic guitar and is picked-up by Gabriele Lorenzi's bright-sounding synthesizers, setting an airey but powerful and romantic mood on 'Rapsodia di Radius'. The nutty 'La Ciliega non e di Plastica' is a questionable second cut with a bit of White Album silliness and blues slop but 'Liberta per Quest'uomo' reaffirms this band's prog tendencies, showing a booming symphonic influence and lots of Italian-style sentiment. The emotional 'La Casa Grande' has slight Brazilian colors and sad contemplations, 'Cara Giovanna' is a shameless gushing-heart love song, and 'Bambina Spagliata' ends on a tribute of voices, synths, guitars, drums and Sergio Leone's visions of the American west. Not an easy record to start with on your Italian prog journey and, at worst, it is an uneven affair, but it is a lovely collection of songs and probably deserves its cult status.

Review by Tom Ozric
3 stars 'La Grande Casa' is a charming album, even if it's a bit short (6 tracks ranging between 4:33 and 5:33). This is the only record of theirs I have, so going by what's on offer here - beautiful acoustic guitaring from Alberto Radius (also playing lead electric and some Bass), the elegant keyboard arrangements of Gabriele Lorenzi providing a rich and full-sounding symphonic soundscape, and the simple, but effective drumming of Tony Cicco. All members contributing vocals, but not often in a 'massed' way. The melodies are memorable, the songs constructed in a way which demonstrates many moods, from mysterious, brooding intro's to harder rocking sections, but never losing focus or taking off on any 'tangents'. A fairly consistent and accessible album where its rather 'safe' nature belies its strength. 3.5 stars.
Review by Neu!mann
3 stars The last of four albums released in the early 1970s by one of Italy's most Italian bands is by any definition only marginally Progressive, and suffers from both its amateur, unpolished production and skimpy length: only thirty minutes, hardly long enough to even qualify as a complete album. But for armchair travelers who can't afford the airfare it's the next best thing to a Mediterranean vacation, the musical equivalent to a plate of linguini con pesto at the local trattoria.

The half dozen short songs (none of them even approaching the six-minute mark) are closer to mild psychedelic pop than traditional Prog. But the best selections, including the evocative title track and the oddly self-titled "Rhapsodia di Radius" (named after its author, the band's guitarist) build to moments of room-filling quasi-symphonic grandeur, all the more impressive coming from a mere trio.

"Liberta' per Quest' Uomo" is another imaginary movie soundtrack (with political overtones?), again featuring lots of ominous acoustic guitars and grand choral effects, complete with melodramatic kettle drum fills. But "La Ciliegia non e' di Plastica" (any English translation of such a colorful title would only ruin it) is a prime slice of slightly skewed Neapolitan pop, probably intended as comic relief.

That leaves only the final two songs: a sentimental ballad smothered in faux-orchestral effects ("Cara Giovanna"), and the album closer "Bambina Sbagliata", close enough in style to be the same tune, slightly rearranged. Neither would sound out of place blaring from a cheap transistor radio in downtown Salerno, and like the entire album show hardly any influence from emerging musical trends outside the country. This is Italian music for Italian listeners, and needs a forgiving pair of ears to hear it in any other context.

A personal postscript: before discovering the South Korean CD re-issue (on the Si-Wan label), the last time I heard the album was in a used record shop on Grant Street in San Francisco's North Beach district, a few addresses away from one of the best Italian bakeries in the city. The music of Formula 3 and the smell of fresh focaccia bread: now that's a perfect combination.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The last album of their classic era is the one that embraces the wonderful Italian style. While psyche and prog heaviness were very much present in their first three albums, one can note a much deeper Italian sound in here. And I can only say that I like this one better.

It all starts magnificently with the fine and emotional opener: ''Rapsodia di Radius''. It is a jewel of sweet moments combined with harder passages (it reminds the structure of ''The Musical Box''). This joy though is seriously jeopardized during the weak ''La Ciliegia.''. A weird rock song, at times bluesy, that is best avoided as far as I am concerned. Fortunately, it is the only of that kind featured.

One is projected back into the ''Trespass'' world with the beautiful ''Libertį.''. A wonderful and passionate expression of what symphonic prog is all about. The harmony is incredible, the music is poignant and the crescendo finale is just superb. Another highlight of this ridiculously short album.

The title track has a more rocking feel than the other tracks. Almost spoken lyrics are combined with piano only parts and quite rhythmic sections as well. A transitional number in awaiting of the sublime ''Cara Giovanna''. Another great track from this album. Again, the traditional ingredients of the genre are featured: emotion, delicacy, skills and passion. I have to say that the instrumental sections is particularly well crafted and should give the shivers to an ice cube.

The closing number of this half an hour of music is not very convincing I'm afraid. The chorus of ''Bambina Sbagliata'' is especially painful.

I have a mixed feeling about this work: some pieces are brilliant while other ones are average. At the end of the day, I will rate this album just as each of their previous ones: three stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Formula Tre's fame even reached Brazil in early-70's, as the band played at the Festival Internacional da Cancao in 1972.In 1973 the band releases its last album of their early phase, now moving away from the shadow of Battisti and based on compositions mostly written by Radius.Its title was ''La grande casa'', another product of Formula Tre on Numero Uno.

The fourth album of the band is actually a Progressive/Pop record, creating mixed feelings and with a rather soft still decent result.The opening ''Rapsodia di Radius'' is propably the best cut of the album, atmospheric and light Symphonic/Space Rock with the distinctive guitar style of Radius in evidence and some great choirs.''La ciliegia non e di plastica'' is a dull Pop track, based around Radius acoustic crescendos and Lorenzi's piano with a bad result.''Liberta per quest'uomo'' shows a return to the melodic Symphonic/Art Rock of the opening track, excellent performance by Lorenzi on organ and piano, nice choirs and good work by Radius both on electric and acoustic guitars.The eponymous track is a fine piece of lyrical Art Rock with solid musicianship, while ''Cara Giovanna'' is a ballad with sensitive vocals, relaxed synthesizers and piano and a nice acoustic solo by Radius.The closing ''Bambina sbagliata'' is another poppy track that haves a strong musical content with keyboards and acoustic guitars in evidence but the hillarious choirs and its syrupy atmosphere make it quite an amateur composition.

Formula Tre disbanded in late 73' with Radius joining Il Volo as well as having a decent solo career and Cicco forming a self-titled short-lived project in 1974.They returned some 15 years later with the original line-up and the band is still active in the new millenium, producing albums with reworkings of old songs, before Lorenzi quit in 2002 to be replaced by several keyboardists ever after.

In fact ''La grande casa'' was the last contribution by Formula Tre in Italian Prog, a sufficient yet very short album with an artistic nature and some nice atmospheres throughout.Recommended, especially if you love some Italian romanticism in your music.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Welcome to Eurovion Pop Festival. This is not even remotely Prog - beyond that the same instruments can be used to create many different types of music. Just how this band sneaked into PA remains a mystery to me. I feel that I got duped by the dealer spruiking up this CD and seeing that it's ... (read more)

Report this review (#1194911) | Posted by Anon-E-Mouse | Monday, June 16, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An album made in Italian Progressive rock vein but a litle bit comercial songs. Some Psichedelic progressive parts or some sinphonic parts, but the most important parts have Lirics in Italian and give the comercial concept of this work. The begining of album it's a beautifull sinphonic music bu ... (read more)

Report this review (#295143) | Posted by Joćo Paulo | Wednesday, August 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It makes to the fourth work released in 1974 and the last album "La Grande Casa". The style changed completely, and became a vocal album. The more romantic world is invented in this work. Music is arranged melodious and considerably in detail. Eminent great board that ability of group is demon ... (read more)

Report this review (#65914) | Posted by braindamage | Sunday, January 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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