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Stefano Testa

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Stefano Testa Andrea Il Traditore album cover
4.27 | 25 ratings | 1 reviews | 40% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Prima di tutto (3:19)
2. Il senso del reale (4:31)
3. Good morning, Babilonia (5:34)
4. Notturno 1 (prima di una battaglia) (2:31)
5. Ce n'est qu'un début, continuons le combat! (1:08)
6. Un intermezzo: situazione di sette (1:52)
7. Notturno 2 (dopo una battaglia) (1:08)
8. Valzer del ritorno (2:42)
9. Era acqua che scorreva (1:26)
10. Questa assenza (4:16)
11. Frammenti da un interno (1:48)
12. Asta tosta (2:35)
13. La ballata della leggerezza (6:05)
14. Nel Grande Palazzo Grigio (6:29)
15. Dirindina (ripresa) (:53)
16. Un epilogo (4:43)

Total time 51:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Stefano Testa / vocals, composer, arranger, programming

- Walter Chiappelli / accordion
- Marco Coppi / flute
- Gianni Landroni / electric & Classical guitars, vihuela, requinto
- Damiano Puliti / cello

Releases information

Artwork: Mauro Milani

CD Mellow Records ‎- MMP 538 (2016, Italy)

FLAC download -

Thanks to finnforest for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy STEFANO TESTA Andrea Il Traditore Music

Andrea Il TraditoreAndrea Il Traditore
Mellow Records 2016
$28.13 (used)

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STEFANO TESTA Andrea Il Traditore ratings distribution

(25 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(16%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

STEFANO TESTA Andrea Il Traditore reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Full Circle

Once upon a time I had truly great experiences working with Aussie Byrd and Todd on the RPI team. They have continued to carry that torch for RPI and have fostered much of the love now coming to this music from new and old fans alike-they deserve many thanks. Aside from those days not so long ago, one of my fondest memories remains the chance I had to befriend Mr. Stefano Testa.

Stefano was born in Rome but since childhood he has lived in the beautiful area of Porretta Terme south of Bologna, a special place he acknowledges has a presence in his work. He is most accurately described by RPI expert Andrea Parentin as "a perfect example of "prog cantautorale", a mix of "canzone d'autore" and Italian progressive rock." His lifelong love of music began pretty early and I'll share a few thoughts in this review from my 2009 interview with him:

"When I was 5 I had been excluded "with dishonor" from the chorus by the asylum (kindergarten) teacher, after trying to sing a scale accompanied by the piano. Then I remember a morning in 1958: under a blue roman sky I was alone singing, with great happiness, "Volare", by Domenico Modugno."

In 1977 he released his first "prog cantautorale" opus called "Una Vita Una Balena Bianca e Altre Cose". A somewhat softer, acoustic/pastoral kind of Italian prog, it has been universally well reviewed by fans of RPI despite being somewhat late to the classic prog era party. By 1977 things had changed and despite the beauty of his debut solo work, the label was not especially interested in a follow-up. Stefano got caught up in other things: family, running a theater, a jazz record, and a very good songs-based album would follow in 2012. But there was a follow-up to "Una Vita" and now it is born decades after its original conception! And RPI fans are in for a treat.

"After "Una vita", I proposed to Simontacchi another long suite: " Decadenza e morte di Andrea il Traditore", but it was too expensive for him. I went to RCA, but times were changed and everything was more difficult: terrorism and the Moro's killing had definitely buried that marvelous and free period. There was no more time for creativity and experiments, music had only to reassure."

In February of 2016 the long wait ended and Testa released that follow-up to his 1977 debut, again on Mellow Records. A CD issue will be following soon. The new album "Andrea il Traditore" was born of a profound dream Stefano had one night in 1977 after a particularly bad meal. Some of the material and the dream concept from those days survived, while much more has been written more recently. Stefano was kind enough to provide some insight into the lyrical themes for this non-Italian speaker. The theme follows a man through the chapters of his life and the gnawing realization that he has failed to live up to his personal convictions, he believes he may have betrayed himself. Initial promise of the child from birth, ultimate failure of the man in life.

"But life, the real one, it was water running, too quiet to hear it, too light to see it"

If I understand I think many men have some version of this fear at some point in life. Regardless of the illusion that has led them astray, consciences less than fooled by endless justifications will one day manifest in unpleasant ways. "It's just a dream, but a dream forever" he says at the end. Life in all its melancholy and weight. I don't know. Despite the insight I was given I am still an English speaker, thus no doubt many of the interesting lyrical nuances remain hidden from me.

Musically "Andrea il Traditore" is a feast as well. While the subject matter may be difficult and sad, the music is wonderful. It features sixteen short tracks but has the feeling of a musical play score (or film soundtrack) and should be heard as one complete work start to finish. There is an abundance of dialogue some of which is sung and some spoken. Testa is rejoined by alum of the debut work in Marco Coppi, his original flautist, and the amazingly talented Walter Chiappelli (accordian, keyboards), Gianni Landroni (guitars), and Damiano Puliti (cello). He says the work could not have come to fruition without the passion and artistic assistance of Chiappelli. Upon completion the work was mixed and mastered in Trento by the talented Marco Olivotto, a seasoned veteran of Italian progressive. Testa did some truly amazing and complex work composing many of the programmed sounds and orchestrations that bring this to life. And the team of musicians he has chosen for this work are truly stellar, a joy to listen to.

Stefano's storytelling is wonderfully treated with a warm "soundtrack" of acoustic guitar, generous flute, strings, piano, dramatic backing vocals, as well as the accordion. I found the accordion in particular gives this album a real Italian flavor through and through, it is a lively element to contrast the beauty of the strings and flute. There is a noticeably harder edge to the contemporary side of the music when the drumming and electric guitar kicks in, the latter quite ferocious in places. This Landroni chap doesn't hold back when it's time to rock....he can rip it up! My only real criticism is the general coldness of programmed percussion, the sound and feel so different from the warmth of an old kit. What was actually composed and programmed however was quite good.

Next the delicate sound of carefully crafted acoustic guitar was a favorite element, that pastoral vibe sounding timeless, bucolic, and alive. A nod must be reserved for Stefano's vocals themselves. He comes up with some truly original arrangements, so much care and attention to the details give the work heart and depth. My favorite moments were the softer interludes where Stefano's voice and female backing vocals mixed with spoken word samples and ornate sounding organ, such as "Questa Assenza" and "Asta Tosta." Stefano's voice has aged well, certainly a bit more seasoned than he sounded on Una Vita but far better than many guys his age.

The cello and piano are more ear candy for me but there is so much here that to break down individual tracks would be too much. I think some folks who go only for the sauciest of RPI, the monster keyboard blowouts and avant craziness, will wonder why I rate this one as highly as I do. I suppose because at the end of the day, I love melody and subtlety as much as bombast. Testa's work, while different than stuff like Banco, Area, or Balletto di Bronzo, embodies the heart of RPI just as much. It also still sounds very traditionally "Italian" which for me is the whole point of my love affair with this music....the marvelous sound of traditional Italian songs, with Italian language being essential. Italian prog without Italian language vocals is a steak without the sizzle. It is wine from a box. Cheese from Kraft. You get the point.

Despite the way non-mainstream music is treated these days, or rather not treated, I believe in the case of Stefano's album it was ultimately a benefit. On his first album in a traditional recording setting he was forced to rush things, I recall him saying he sang the entire album in one day! With this new release and the tools available now in the era of less official support there was more time to let the process of arranging and recording play out. The results here are telling as this work feels so fully realized and satisfying to this listener. The album was recorded over the space of two years in Stefano's home studio which allowed everyone involved to immerse in the creative process naturally.

"Andrea il Traditore" will take more than one or two plays to appreciate. It needs to seep into you, it needs you to listen when you are in a patient and absorbent mood. Only free of distraction will the true beauty of certain passages reveal themselves. It is the culmination of a lifetime of dreaming, thinking, pondering mysteries. I imagine Stefano working away in his theater late at night, deep in a moment of thought when suddenly a great idea pops into his head and he rushes to jot it down before it flutters away. The memorable cover art is again provided by painter Mauro Milani, who did Una Vita, giving the two works another common bond. Comparisons between the two albums are hard for me, I love them both. The first one has a bit more of that 70s feel that is nearly impossible to articulate and so irresistible, while this album has the maturity and depth, possibly the result of wisdom, experience, and time. This one has also has some of the feel of the 2012 work "Il Silenzio del Mondo." Perhaps it is the culmination of both styles converging. I suppose I've rattled on long enough but I couldn't help myself this time.

Whether or not he records another "prog" album is unknown but if not, it's OK. Because this one is one of those rare moments in music when one gets to "go home again" and cherish it anew, something both beautiful and timeless. Enjoy...

(Currently you can hear the album on Mellow's Bandcamp until the CD arrives.)

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