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Höstsonaten Springsong album cover
3.83 | 116 ratings | 8 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. In The Open Fields (4:57)
2. Kemper / Springtheme (5:36)
3. Living Stone and First Reprise (3:30)
4. She Sat Writing Letters On The Riverbank (3:47)
5. The Underwater And Second Reprise (3:28)
6. Lowtide (3:20)
7. The Wood Is Alive With The Smell Of The Rain (4:20)
8. Evocation Of Spring In A Fastdance (2:40)
9. Toward The Sea (13:28) :
- a) Black Mountains
- b) 3rd Reprise
- c) Springland

Total Time: 45:01

Bonus track on 2009 reissue:
10. Suite Bretonne, Parts 1-3 (13:55)

Line-up / Musicians

- Stefano Marelli / electric, 12-string (1-3,7,9) & Classical (2,3,8,9) guitars, e-bow (9)
- Agostino Macor / piano (1,5,9), organ, Mellotron, Moog
- Boris Valle / piano (4,6,8)
- Roberto Vigo / piano (3,5,7,9), String synth (3)
- Edmondo Romano / whistles (2,6,9), recorder (7), French bagpipes (9), soprano sax (3,5,8,9)
- Francesca Biagini / flute (1-3,7,9)
- Sergio Caputo / violin (1-4,6,8,9), derbouka & ziff (8)
- Fabio Zuffanti / bass, 12-string (1-3,5,7-9) & acoustic (6) guitars, composer & producer
- Federico Foglia / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Borso D'Este

CD Sublime Label ‎- I-122001 (2002, Italy)
CD AMS ‎- AMS153CD (2009, Italy) Remixed / Remastered with a bonus track, new cover

Digital album

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

(116 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

HÖSTSONATEN Springsong reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marcelo
4 stars Very calm, beautiful and melodic progressive. Maybe a little bit of "punch" adding to this soft music could become this one in a masterpiece. Nevertheless, a recommended album and another chance to recognize, once more, the interminable Zuffanti's talent and creativity.
Review by NJprogfan
4 stars All-instrumental album recorded by the bass player from the modern Itailian band Finisterre with other musicians. The album starts out very sublime, flutes, violins and Camel-like guitar dominate the album. When the sax is used, it has a smooth jazz sound not unlike what you would hear on the Weather Channel (here in the states) in the background during the local weather report. Some keyboards (melotron/synth) show up towards the end, but its mainly piano throughout. Since the theme is spring, one would think that the sound would be boring, but thats not the case. What I like very much is the theme in the beginning of the album shows up at the end to tie things up nicely. There are some driving songs here, but not aggressive. Overall band comparisons would be a mixture of Camel with a laid back Happy The Man. Music to soothe the soul. Special mention must be made about the packaging: it's in a white textured cardboard digi-pak with sleeves for the CD on one side and in the other, cardboard cards, one for each song with a beautiful painting on one sideof the card and the musicians named with their instruments on the other. I wish all bands went as far with the presentation. Gorgeous! A solid 4-star affair.
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Of the many bands and projects where mr. Zuffanti is involved (La Maschera di Cera, Finisterre, Lazona, Merlin Opera Rock ...), Hostsonaten is the most warm, mellow, gentle and melodic one with hints of folk and celtic influence plus sparse touches of jazz. That "celtic-symphonic prog" (I don't know how to call it, otherwise) is what came out better from this recent work.

Springsong is the last studio album released by the band and is based upon a compelling symphonic structure (moog, pianos and mellotron, synth) driven by acoustic instruments as the 12 strings guitar, violin, saxophone, flute, delicate whistles and even bagpipes! Nine instrumental composition, with some sparkling variations and a unique recitative part in "She Sat Writing Letters on the Riverbank". The general mood of the album is different from the usual italian contemporary prog scene. There is not the purpose to surprise the listener with pompous arrangements or with fast and unespected changes of tempo. The music'structure is somehow similar to the classic band Celeste and its warm and soft wonderful compositions.

The message is clear: to relax the tired symphomaniac and give him the opportunity to reflect on all of his sins, to look to the world through ancient and never-changing natural forces. It would be possible then, for the most lucky of us, to come closer to the mythic embrionic state. This is the difference from Celeste. The symphonic structure is the main vehicle to reach all this with the alliance of the natural themes upon which the concept is based on.

The final track "Toward the Sea" is the longer composition (about 13 minutes), divided in three parts (Blackmountains, 3rd Reprise and Springland). The album's manifesto, for sure. Excellent equilibrium from all the musicians. Stunning!

A wonderful musical experience, not everyone's cup of tea, but possibly one of the most important record of the last years. It would have been an appropriate addition to the Lord of the Rings' soundtrack... wonderful! 3,5 stars.

Review by Heptade
4 stars This is an excellent symphonic release from one of Fabio Zuffanti's many projects. An all-instrumental album (it's my understanding that earlier Hostsonaten albums had vocals), it strongly resembles later Camel works, albeit with the addition of lots of beautiful string parts. If you like violin in your prog, this CD is for you. Complexity is not the order of the day here, as each piece is melodic and soft- even the crescendos are muted, although there is a good amount of fiery lead guitar playing, particularly on the album closer "Toward the Sea". You'd never know this was an Italian group, since the compositions have a definite Celtic bent to them, reminding me strongly of Camel's "Harbour of Tears" or Colin Bass's "Outcast of the Islands". If you like those albums, you'll love this one. A very nice album for a weekend afternoon at the start of spring.
Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars I really like this band. Their music is so melodic and nice. Their first two albums were really good ones and I was really pleased to be able to discover this one.

When you listen to "In The Open Fields", you are immediately plunged into their universe. Just somptuous. A marvel of a melody. I wrote in my review for "Mirror Games" that it was excellent for meditation. I guess that I could say the same here. The main theme reminds me the one of their longest track : "Hostsonaten". The violin adds a great value here (as well as during the whole album).

The theme is also taken over but interpreted differently on the next "Kemper" during its first half. The second half is truely folkish and pastoral. First with a tranquil flute solo and then a very soft violin one. This song will end on a great and inspired guitar break (I guess that the comparison with Latimer can be done here).

Folk atmosphere as well during the short "Living Stone". But the entry of sublime keyboards increase the symphonic flavour. What a great combination ! The format of the songs is much shorter than previously. These are small pieces of music, extremely pleasant but simpler than before. "She Sat Writing Letters On The Riverbank" is a violin / piano duo; almost classical.

"The Underwater" is fully jazzy during its initial phase. Somewhat noisy. It will evolve into a brilliant symphonic song thanks to a wonderful guitar solo. Emotional again. The intro should have been skipped though...Like "Lowtide". Sounds too much as an improvisation to my ears.

The band is right on track again during "The Wood Is Alive With The Smell Of The Rain". Again, a symphonic folk ballad. Very pleasant. The shortest track of this album "Evocation Of Spring In A Fastdance" combines world music and folk. Not too good. And a sort of "hors d'oeuvre" for the closing number ?

The five minutes intro for "Toward The Sea" is radically different with the rest of the album. Very strong and hypnotic rhythm. Very repetitive. Maybe a bit too long. But symphony gets back for a while and the soft and folk music mostly available on this album comes back with some sort of relief.

This album can't be compared to their previous ones. It is strongly influenced by folk music. The addition of a violonist is probably the reason to this. A very pleasant album, once again. Seven out of ten, I would say. Since it is definitely worth more than three stars, I will upgrade my rating to four stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars The subject matter here is Spring, and if you live in a northern country like I do, then Spring will be one of your favourite seasons i'm sure. It's so good to see the snow disappear and the longer days arriving.The brown fields start to turn green as everything in nature seems to be reborn. Great time of year. This third album from HOSTSONATEN is surprisingly short compared to the first two at 45 minutes. They also have changed directions somewhat, going into a more acoustic, folky brand of music. More of a Celtic vibe here as well with the tin whistles, bagpipes and low whistles. Violin is added for the first time too. As beautiful as this album is at times, I do prefer the first two recordings to this one.This is all-instrumental as well.

"In The Open Fields" features some beautiful 12-string guitar that reminds me of Anthony Phillips. Flute and bass join in before violin arrives 3 minutes in. "Kemper / Springtheme" is led by the flute and drums early. Mellotron joins in.Tin whistle before 2 1/2 minutes as it becomes very Celtic sounding. Drums and guitar take over a minute later with violin joining in. The electric guitar 4 1/2 minutes in is amazing. "Living Stone And 1st Reprise" opens with acoustic guitar as SINKADUS-like flute comes in with drums then violin. It's the sax that really is prominant though the rest of the way. "She Sat Writing Letters On The Riverbank" is simply piano and violin throughout. Melancholic. Some sampled spoken words 3 minutes in.

"The Underwater And Second Reprise" is a change of pace as we get a jazzy tune. I like this one, especially the drumming and the guitar solo that lights things up to end it. Nice. "Lowtide" doesn't have much of a melody as drums, piano and violin make some sounds. The low whistle comes in giving us that Celtic vibe. "The Wood Is Alive With The Smell Of The Rain" is such a great title. Piano, flute and recorder early. A change 1 1/2 minutes in as drums arrive and the tempo picks up. I like this section. "Evocation Of Spring In A Fastdance" features acoustic instruments along with percussion. Violin comes in then piano. "Toward The Sea" is the 13 1/2 minute closer. It begins with a flute / drum led melody that is fairly uptempo. Sax and piano help out. Soaring guitar after 5 1/2 minutes is a treat with mellotron. Tin whistle after 7 minutes. The guitar rips it up before 10 minutes. Tin whistle a minute later with some nice drumming.

3.5 stars. A very pleasant album for sure, but for my tastes I can't give this 4 stars.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Hostsonaten's third effort diverges strikingly from the first two. It is all instrumental and more Celtic folk influenced. "Springsong" makes for clean and refreshing entertainment as befits the season. The shimmering acoustic guitars form an earthy bed for the whistles, recorders, bagpipes, flutes and violins. Many of the melodies are lush and gorgeous, and sound much more like the product of a sophisticated Gallic group than one from the boot shaped country.

While speaking well for Fabio Zuffante's stylistic versatility, in the end "Springsong" reaffirms that pretty in itself doesn't make perfect. Something is lost in translation, perhaps that intangible "feeling". It shares as much in common with some of the more thoughtful new age acts in a pastoral style, such as MARSHALL/ANGER and NIGHTNOISE, or even SHADOWFAX, as it does with more traditionally based Celtic music or progressive rock. By track 2 thematic repetition has already set in, and the final suite again reprises something nice but so familiar and rote.

I just can't too excited about this even though I feel I should. An album that provides much the same sentiment, or lack thereof, is that of NARROW PASS, "A Room of Fairy Queen's". Much to laud on paper and worth an occasional listen when one doesn't want to be distracted, but far from excellent and certainly a step down from "MirrorGames".

Review by andrea
5 stars 'Springsong' is the fourth and last part of H'stonaten's cycle of the seasons although it was the first to be released. In fact, it was originally released in 2002 on the independent label Sublime. In 2009 it was remixed, restyled and re-released on AMS/BTF with a different art cover by Davide Guidoni. Along with composer and producer Fabio Zuffanti (acoustic guitars, bass) here the other musicians involved in the project are Francesca Biagini (flute), Sergio Caputo (violin, percussion), Federico Foglia (drums, percussion), Agostino Macor (piano, mellotron, hammond, moog), Stefano Marelli (acoustic and electric guitars), Edmondo Romano (recorders, bagpipes, sax), Boris Valle (piano) and Robbo Vigo (piano). The musical colours of the spring are rendered with a strong folkloric touch and melodic freshness.

The opener 'In The Open Fields' begins with the same arpeggio which closed 'Winterthrough', then the sound of a flute evokes a pastoral, peaceful atmosphere. With 'Kemper ' Springtheme' we go back in Brittany, where our journey through time and nature began and in Quimper now we can breathe the fresh air of spring. 'Living Stone And 1st Reprise' is dreamy and full of melody while on the evocative 'She Sat Writing Letters On The Riverbanks' we meet again the poetry of Arseny Tarkovsky... 'Your eyelids, brushed with blue, were peaceful and your hand was warm / And in the crystal I saw pulsing rivers, smoke-wreathed hills, and glimmering seas / Holding in your palm that crystal sphere, you slumbered on the throne, and - God be praised! - you belonged to me / Awaking, you transformed the humdrum dictionary of humans / Till speech was full and running over with resounding strength, and the word you revealed its new meaning: it meant tsar...'. 'The Underwater And 2nd Reprise' begins with a touch of jazz and a darker mood, then an electric guitar solo breaks in as a sunray through the clouds leading to the reflective 'Lowtide'. 'The Wood Is Alive With The Smell Of The Rain' begins with a renaissance flavour, then keyboards and guitar lines take you back from dream to reality and you are ready to merrily dance in the following 'Evocation Of Spring In A Fastdance'. The long, complex 'Toward The Sea' closes the season's cycle. It's a suite in four parts where you can appreciate the reprise of some themes. A wonderful grand finale!

The 2009 re-issue of this album features also a bonus track, 'Suite Bretonne'. It's a piece in three parts for acoustic, classical and 12 strings guitars that was composed and recorded in late 1998. According to Fabio Zuffanti it was the starting point of the whole cycle of albums since after a few months this piece evolved into 'Springsong'...

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