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Höstsonaten Höstsonaten album cover
3.75 | 88 ratings | 8 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sinfonia Della Luna part 1 (1:47)
2. Hostsonaten (41:21) :
- i) Sunset
- ii) Starfields
- iii) Forest
- iv) Ghosts Of Summer Evenings
- v) Watersong
- vi) Spirals
- vii) Seascape
- viii) Morning (Zuffanti)
3. Remember You (7:32)
4. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner part I (12:35)

Total Time: 63:15

Line-up / Musicians

- Claudio Castellini / lead (4) & backing vocals
- Carlo Carnevali / vocals & narration (4)
- Stefano Marelli / electric, acoustic, Classical & 12-string guitars
- Osvaldo Giordano / Mellotron, synth
- Fabio Casanova / Minimoog (2)
- Boris Valle / Minimoog (4)
- Edmondo Romano / soprano sax, alto & tenor recorders
- Francesca Biagini / flutes
- Fabio Zuffanti / bass, synth, Classical guitar, vocals, producer
- Marco Cavani / drums, electronic percussion, programming

Releases information

Artwork: Painting by Gustave Moreau (1826-1898)

CD Mellow Records ‎- MMP 320 (1997, Italy)

Digital album

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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HÖSTSONATEN Höstsonaten ratings distribution

(88 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

HÖSTSONATEN Höstsonaten reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars I am deeply in love with "La Maschera Di Cera", another Fabio zufanti's project. So, logically I was highly motivated to discover what "Hostsonaten" will have to propose in their debut album.

The music is rather enjoyable. At times folkish like during the short opener "Sinfonia". Just an apetizer. Same feeling during "Remember You" although this one has some wonderful symphonic parts (keyboards mainly). The flute moments are really pleasant and the mellotron during the finale is just poignant. But I have to admit (but I have done it alreadya few times on PA) that I really love both of these instruments.

Maybe that the vocals are not at their best but I can't really be harsh about Fabio. When you have heard to some German singers, you can not fully reject Fabio's ones. Of course, it would have been better if he had chosen his colleague Alessandro Corvaglia from "La Maschera" to take care of this aspect of their work...

"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Part 1)" is a really good song. Weird atmosphere, scary. It's full of theme changes. Lots of flavours in this song : subtle piano, acoustic guitar, beautiful flute of course and yes : the vocals here are somewhat weak at times (but not always). And the mellotron of course...How nice to use this great instrument ! Harmony at its heights even if the last minute is useless. We'll get the second part of this track on their next release "Mirror Games".

Now. The title track. "Hostsonaten". I am really in love with its main theme (being played on the flute on on the acoustic guitar). A marvel of a symphony. Beautiful music for over than forty minutes. I guess that you can call this one an epic. Vocals are a bit Lake oriented : quiet and gentle like he can be.

During this wonderful song, some fabulous guitar will be displayed. Such an emotional part ! Just to kick the listener for a while. This song will bring you to the boundaries of space rock as well. Almost floydian at times. This piece flies really high. So diverse of course and pleasant. It does not hold wild nor too complex sections : it just flows so nicely during its whole lenght with the recurring theme coming back once in a while.

There will be some weak moments but not too many. The last quarter being again very melodic and harmonious. Some wild guitar will also contribute to bring some diversity at this time of its development. The crescendo finale is grandiose. Full of synthetizers.

Four stars for this very good album.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars Hostsonaten was technically the title of this album by the Finisterre project, but because Fabio Zuffante produced two followups, it became the "band"'s name. Not surprisingly, this is the one that sounds most like Finisterre. It does favour some of the pastoral elements that feature more prominently in "Mirrorgames" and especially "Springsong", but also the long drawn out and stormy epic direction of Finisterre. This album is dominated by one sprawling 41 minute track that threatens to, and in some sense does, consume itself.

Make no mistake, the "Hostsonaten" suite contains passages of grand symphonic beauty, but it feels more like a suite of disjointed segments or varying quality than a master work, and Zuffante's vocals are very nearly atonal, whispered and ephemeral. Like Zuffante's more recent Aries project, it is neither fish nor fowl, and has certain tendencies towards harshness that do not sit well with the overall musical concept. It's not bad, especially the first half, and some might really like it, but I give fair warning.

"Remembering You" is, on the other hand, a great track in which all folky instrumentation, classic prog arrangements, and even Zuffante's vocals are used to best effect. But then "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" relies a bit too much on Zuffante's voice and possesses other characteristics in common with the first track.

I am indeed glad that this project got off the ground...on the next album. 2.5 stars rounded down because only one of the three tracks is all good.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars HOSTSONATEN is another side project of Fabio Zuffanti. The music here is mellow and folk tinged with plenty of flute from the lovely Francesca Biagini, as well as lots of acoustic guitar and mellotron. I really like the picture of Fabio on the back cover smiling contently because that's exactly how I feel when listening to this music. HOSTSONATEN has just released their fourth album (2008), and each album represents one of the seasons. This is their debut and it has an autumn theme. As far as seasons go I rank fall as my third favourite. I do like the cooler weather after a long hot summer, but being from Canada you know the snow and ice isn't far behind. The leaves change colours and the birds start to migrate south, the air seems fresher. For me it means hockey is starting up, the baseball playoffs are at hand, and the NFL is well on the way. I completely agree with ZowieZiggy that the title track is to die for. It's 42 minutes long and is pure joy from beginning to end. I'll talk about the other three tracks first.

The album opens with a short cover of a MUGEN song called "Sinfonia Della Luna Part 1". MUGEN is a Japanese prog band by the way. This song features gentle flute throughout. "Remember You" is a 7 minute track that opens with acoustic guitar and reserved vocals. Drums, piano and flute help out after a minute. Excellent electric guitar solo before 5 minutes that goes on and on. Recorder follows. "The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner Part 1" is my second favourite song on here. Acoustic guitar, vocals, flute, drums and mellotron all stand out. We get some brief heaviness after 3 1/2 minutes. Some nice flute, acoustic guitar and piano 5 minutes in. Spoken words before 6 minutes as we start to get some atmosphere. Organ after 8 minutes followed by mellotron. Nice. More atmosphere 10 minutes in with mellotron. Just a great song.

"Hostsonaten (A Collection Of Autumnal Dances)" is the centerpiece at 42 minutes in length. It's divided into seven sections with vocals on three of them. Piano, acoustic guitar, flute and mellotron lead the way until vocals arrive 6 minutes in. This is so beautiful. The vocal melodies with acoustic guitar and mellotron after 7 minutes is heavenly. 9 minutes in some prominant electric guitar comes in tastefully. Drums and guitar get more aggressive a minute later. This contrasts so well with the fragile vocals and acoustic guitar that follow. Nice. Electric guitar is back 13 minutes in with piano and drums. Check out the soaring guitar with mellotron and drums 15 1/2 minutes in. The flute that follows reminds me of SINKADUS as vocals come back. No words for this gorgeous passage. Here we go again with the beautiful electric guitar solo as drums and waves of mellotron can be heard. This is so uplifting. The guitar stops before 19 1/2 minutes as we get a calm with piano. The tempo picks up with drums 21 minutes in including some sax a minute later then flute and guitar. A flood of mellotron 24 1/2 minutes in. Vocals are back 26 minutes in. The mellotron after 29 minutes is fantastic. The heaviness 32 minutes in with ripping guitar is incredible ! I absolutely love this part. Mellotron follows when it calms down some. Lots of piano after 34 minutes. The electric guitar is prominant again 35 1/2 minutes in. A minute later it sounds like the beginning of the song as flute and acoustic guitar gently play. It starts to build with some heaviness 38 minutes in. Electric guitar is back with mellotron. Nice. This continues to the end.

A must have for fans of beautiful Italian music. A solid 4 stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is another project of modern Italian progressive rock's hero,bassist/composer Fabio Zuffanti.Actually HOSTSONATEN have to be started as a side-project of his first band FINISTERRE,as in the insert notes of the album you will find the title ''Finisterre Project'',although the cover of the work doesn't carry such an expression.HOSTSONATEN's eponymous debut from 1997 is another tribute of Zuffanti in the classic 70's Italian prog rock sound,though the few lyrics presented are sung in English,with the participation among others of Edmondo Romano from Eris Pluvia.This time the musicianship is more mellow and folk-oriented bringing to mind bands like CELESTE and PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI.

The album starts with the nice flute-based mourning intro ''Sinfonia della luna'',taken from the self-titled work of japanese symph progsters ''Mugen'',followed by the 41-min. grand epic ''Hostsonaten'',which is exactly what a prog folk fan is searching for.This composition is filled with massive flute attacks and acoustic guitars,which often turn from soft passages to dark medieval tunes.Additionally the use of the mellotron will thrill you,if you're a lover of the 70's sound,while the are also some excellent guitar soloing as well as awesome classical piano parts in the symphonic style.''Remember you'' is the next track in the line and this is also a cover of the japanese progsters CINDERELLA SEARCH and their eponymous song,released in 1993 through their self-titled album.A very good ballad-like track carried by smooth vocals and delicate flutes until its grandiose symphonic guitar-driven ending.The closer ''The rime of the ancient mariner'' is a another mini-epic,clocking at over 12 minutes,where the music is more demanding,epic and intense than the previous tracks.Superb flutes and good guitar solos are present again,but this time the performance on the vocals are more expressive,the heavy use of piano,organ and mellotron makes the sound richer and the complicated guitar work lifts up the level of the composition's complexity...

Zuffanti made his miracle again.''Hostsonaten'' is a different angle of his pure talent,mixing ethereal folk tunes with the sound of grandiose symphonicism to result another beautifully-arranged gem of progressive rock.A strongly recommended release for the whole progressive rock audience.

Review by J-Man
4 stars Initially beginning as a side project of the band Finisterre, Hostsonaten has since evolved into one of the most famous modern Italian progressive rock acts - and with good reason, I might add. The band's lush, pastoral, and downright beautiful approach to Italian symphonic prog is mesmerizing, and the basis for their success was established on this 1997 eponymous debut. Hostsonaten's sound is already well-developed on this impressive first outing, and an irresistible charm and sense of adventurousness keeps me entertained throughout its lengthy duration. Although numerous flaws keep this album from reaching perfection, the lovely melodies and thoughtful arrangements make Hostsonaten an absolute gem for any fan of Italian prog on the softer side.

Right from the beginning, it's clear that leader Fabio Zuffanti had big ambitions for this album. After a short intro, the band dives head-first into a sprawling 41-minute prog epic, simply titled "Hostsonaten". Complete with flutes, saxophones, acoustic soundscapes, mellotrons, and bombastic synthesizers, this song has everything that most progressive rock fans dream of. The real strength of this epic is in the spectacular arrangements - the vast instrumental palette and strong sense of dynamics make this an absolute joy to listen to. Though the transitions are occasionally on the weak side and Fabio Zuffanti's vocals are a few strokes below par, that doesn't stop this from being an excellent example of a forty-plus minute song done right. The next two tracks are shorter by comparison, but are still lengthy enough to be considered epics by most listeners. The absolutely beautiful "Remember You" is my favorite song on this album, with its mesmerizing woodwinds grabbing me every time, and "The Rime of The Ancient Mariner, Part 1" is a very solid way to close the album as well.

Hostsonaten is a very impressive album from most angles, but there are a few flaws here that do detract from my overall experience. For one, the production is pretty poor across the board, with the distant-sounding and muffled drums being the biggest issue. The vocals aren't produced well either, and on top of that, Zuffanti's vocal delivery doesn't impress me too much. Though his calming style does suit the tone of the compositions quite well, he just sounds unenthusiastic and a bit boring to me. A better vocalist could've done this album wonders, but as the bulk of this album is instrumental anyway, it's not a huge problem.

Those complaints aside, this is an impressive debut from Hostsonaten. Fans of Italian prog bands like Premiata Forneria Marconi or Le Orme owe it to themselves to hear this 90's gem, provided that they can deal with a few of the album's shortcomings. I am one of those people who can overlook a few flaws in favor of excellent music, and that's certainly what we have here - whenever I'm in the mood for pastoral, well-written, and heartwarming Italian prog, Hostsonaten is one of the first albums I'll reach for. Not quite essential, but definitely recommended.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Promises a lot and almost delivers....... The debut album from this project from Fabio Zuffanti is very ambitious to say at least. The forty one minutes long Hostsonaten is the main piece of music here. But they also crams in some other pieces of music on this well over one hour long album. ... (read more)

Report this review (#304303) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, October 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is very nice dreamy symphonic rock. Quite mellow and relaxing for the most part, with the only real drawback being the vocals. But even those are tolerable and don't really ruin the album. Not much else to say about this one, only that much better things are coming. Still, if you like me ... (read more)

Report this review (#77052) | Posted by | Wednesday, May 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 5 Stars with a PLUS! Great work. My strongly recommendation to all, who loves Progressive with number of different Instrumental + Vocal passages. Here is a track - Hotsonaten those duration is about 42 minuts long with fantastical changing themes. ... (read more)

Report this review (#3488) | Posted by Vasil Jalabadze | Wednesday, October 6, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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