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MONTEFELTRO

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Montefeltro biography
MONTEFELTRO originated in the early 90's when an Italian keyboard/guitar duo, namely Piergiorgio Ambrosi and Attilio Virgilio, joined forces with a couple of guest musicians and wove some fine symphonic prog in the style of LE ORME and PFM. Their roots, admits guitarist Virgilio, are many but lie chiefly with GENESIS. Although the separate members have kept busy on various projects during the 90's, the band has only released two official albums todate, one in 1992 and the other in 2001 - the nine-year gap being a reflection of personnel changes as well as Virgilio's own full-time job as an architect. The name MONFEFELTRO, by the way, came to him when, as a university student, he was inspired by the Palace of Duke Federico of MONFEFELTRO. The band's material ranks up there with the best Italian prog; in fact, LE ORME's keyboard player, Antonio Pagliuca, is said to be quite a fan and even to have given the members of MONTEFELTRO a few tips.

With their first album "Il Tempo di Far la Fantasia", MONTEFELTRO built a magnificent symphonic fresco whose main attraction lies in the 22-minute epic opener. The music is mostly delicate, atmospheric, even pastoral at times, with a few medieval accents; it is rarely aggressive. The vocals, which often take a back seat to the instrumentals, are sung in Italian and are very poignant. Their second album, "Il Pesce Rosso, Vestito alla Werther, Mangio' L'uva Il 1° Dell'anno", which features guitarist Virgilio as the only original member, goes beyond symphonic prog as it includes some jazzy accents and world music as well. Albeit a little different, it still reminds the listener of the better Italian bands mentioned above.

Highly recommended to Italian symphonic prog lovers such as BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO, PFM, LE ORME, EZRA WINSTON.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Il Tempo Di Far La FantasiaIl Tempo Di Far La Fantasia
Musea 1992
Audio CD$14.49 (used)

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MONTEFELTRO discography


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MONTEFELTRO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.78 | 43 ratings
Il Tempo di Far la Fantasia
1992
2.81 | 9 ratings
Il Pesce Rosso ...
2001

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MONTEFELTRO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Il Pesce Rosso ... by MONTEFELTRO album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.81 | 9 ratings

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Il Pesce Rosso ...
Montefeltro Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars A long pause followed the stellar debut album of the Montefeltro because of Attilio Virgilio's life changes and job commitments.And when he finally decided to record a follow-up work to ''Il tempo di far la fantasia'', Piergiorgio Ambrossi was not next to him anymore.Instead he gathered a number of guest musicians to help him mainly on the drum and bass sessions and thus ''Il pesce rosso, vestito alla Werther, mangiò l'uva il 1° dell'anno'' was born and eventually released on Mellow Records in 2001.

The tracks are long, the atmosphere romantic but this is actually a very different album compared to ''Il tempo di far la fantasia''.What went wrong?Was it maybe Ambrossi's absence?Possibly not, as Virgilio was also the main composer of the band's fantastic debut.It seems this time the Italian multi-instrumentalist decided to go for a much smoother, more accesible and easy-going style, bringing to mind the most accesible moments of ATON'S and 90's era MARILLION.Add to this style some touches from other music genres such as World Music, Lounge Jazz, Folk and Ambient Music and the puzzle is complete, though it does not seem that the pieces are in the right order.The whole atmosphere is too mellow, the musicianship tends to be hypnotic at moments and the great inspiration of the debut is long gone.Compositionally it is not a bad work, the different ideas and genres are tightly connected, but the music never takes off and it seems not to have a specific orientation.A couple of tracks even contain shadows of the band's debut like ''Omait '' or ''Racconto di maggio, Dell's umano sognare''.But the unrelated themes confuse the listener, while the very soft arrangements make this one far from memorable.

It seems that Virgilio put the project on ice after this effort and I would definitely recommend the listener to stick with the first album of the band.The second release is a peaceful work of vocal Art Rock with decent arrangements but rather forgettable material as a whole...2.5 stars.

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 Il Pesce Rosso ... by MONTEFELTRO album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.81 | 9 ratings

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Il Pesce Rosso ...
Montefeltro Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars This, the second album from the modern Italian band Montefeltro seems to be generally considerded weaker than the debut 8 years earlier. I can't compare Il Pesce Rosso to the debut (which I'm hoping to hear too!) but all the more I was quite pleased with it. Yes, it operates mostly on the softer side but for me that's just fine. The vocals are in Italian but otherwise I didn't find the music very "Italian" in nature.

The production is clean - almost a bit sterile - and the music seldom rocks, instead it has some sort of a sophisticated jazz feel (think of ECM label). Band's head is obviously Attilio Virgilio (vocals, guitars, guitar-synths, loops, composition, lyrics). Surprisingly against that notion, it's the rhythm section that really shines here, which actually saves the music from being too narcotic at places. Guitar work is not very exciting, I admit. The lyrics are based loosely on Goethe's classic novella about Young Werther, I suppose. (Sadly I don't remember any red fish from the book, but I read it such a long time ago.)

I came to think of 90's Marillion (albums like Afraid Of Sunlight or Brave) and some of Peter Hammill's later output (albums like Out Of Water or Everyone You Hold). Well, definitely no vocal power of Hammill in sight. Light-as-a-feather vocals stay quite secondary to music all the way (think of Camel). Female (background)vocalist guests on a couple of tracks, and a saxophonist on 'Sentilcuore'. No, this album is far from any sort of masterpiece, but pretty enjoyable, and there's not a single bad track. On the other hand, no absolutely memorable highlights either. 3½ stars, rounded up.

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 Il Tempo di Far la Fantasia by MONTEFELTRO album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.78 | 43 ratings

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Il Tempo di Far la Fantasia
Montefeltro Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

4 stars I first came across the name of Montefeltro a number of years ago via an Open University course on the Renaissance in Europe that included an examination of the court of Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino. Until I looked at the booklet that accompanies this CD I never really gave the band's name a second thought but, lo and behold, whose familiar profile should be there on the inside page but the bold Duke's. (Just thought I'd share this bit of trivia!) Federico was one of the leading condottieri of the age and never lost a battle yet this album sets off with the 22-minute 'Canto No.1', an epic piece that's given shape by a letter written by Federico to his muse/wife. It reveals the cultured side of Federico's nature - literally and figuratively a man of letters.

English translations of the lyrics appear in the booklet but they don't always make a whole lot of sense; mind you Vladimir Nabokov argued that translations should sound like translations, that they should be faithful to the language of the original rather than read smoothly, so he would doubtless approve of these texts. The lyrics delight in the fantastic and borrow heavily from literature and fables; Montefeltro's musical world is peopled by warrior gods, ancient mariners and mythological creatures, and by images of the stars, Time and Nature. Multi-layered keyboards and 12-string guitars provide scope for the Hackett-inspired lead guitar to emerge like great shards of light through distant blankets of clouds. While Montefeltro don't remotely come close to matching the achievements of their fellow Italians of the Renaissance, this is nonetheless an ambitious piece and I reckon the band must have had a hearty helping of Genesis porridge before they recorded it.

The final track 'Nel Labirinto' was inspired by a Jorge Luis Borges story, 'The House of Asterion', which explores questions of personal identity and personal existence. Borges turns on its head the traditional story of the killing of the Minotaur by the Athenian hero, Theseus. The labyrinth of the title hides Asterion, the mythological Minotaur, and is symbolic of doubt and perplexity. Weary in his solitude within the labyrinth, Asterion longs for 'a place with fewer galleries and fewer doors' and he is killed when he throws himself onto Theseus' sword in the belief that he is embracing his redeemer. Despite its melancholic subject matter this song has something of a festive atmosphere that conjures images of children scurrying off to bed to dream of La Befana, the witch of Italian folklore who delivers their Christmas presents.

Montefeltro basically recorded this album as a two-piece of Attilio Virgilio (vocals, guitars) and Piergiorgio Ambrosi (piano, keyboards), with a pair of guest musicians providing the bass and drums. Their favourite abode is undoubtedly chez Genesis, so if that's your bag you can put on the stretchy pants and prepare yourself for an absolute feast. They're not in the same league as Genesis of course. In fact they're not even in the top echelon of RPI bands but their music is some of the prettiest you'll hear, an aural panacea against life's suffering that sounds like a cocktail of PFM and Genesis infused with glucose. If you don't enjoy sweet and harmonious symphonic music you might want to bang your head *here* rather than listen to this. The remaining three tracks are much of a muchness and that lack of variety is my only concern with the album, otherwise this might have been worthy of the elusive fifth star.

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 Il Tempo di Far la Fantasia by MONTEFELTRO album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.78 | 43 ratings

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Il Tempo di Far la Fantasia
Montefeltro Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by João Paulo

4 stars An Italian Band of the 90 decade but with a seventies sound. In the vein of the classical Italian bands of seventies décade, have a nice sound with lots of keiboards and piano parts, that mimicking an orchestra featuring the classic sound of this time. Lyrics are in Italian but with a long instrumental parts. Contains some very beautiful musical arrangements, with a classical drums in progressive vein, some calm guitar arrangements and flute parts. The singer is nothing special but is effective in the context It is a classic album to share beautiful especially for those who like the Italian progressive rock It is a good adiction of the Italian rock collectors. I give 4 stars because the virtuosity deserves.

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 Il Pesce Rosso ... by MONTEFELTRO album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.81 | 9 ratings

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Il Pesce Rosso ...
Montefeltro Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars After a long hiatus (eight years) after their debut album, the band came back again in 2001 with this "Il Pesce Rosso".

Lots of instrumental parts even if the opening track which mixes some French spoken introduction and Italian vocals. Nice for the Latin flavour, but not really great to be honest. Shall I say that the same feeling is prevailing while listening to the whole piece? Probably.

This album is not a weak one but I can't be laudatory about it. Genuine personality is lacking, for sure. The music displayed is not impressive and I won't remember it after a while. Actually, there are very few reasons to come back to this album and listen to it over and over again. Would it be to discover some aspects that would have been hidden after a few listens or just to listen to some great tracks once more. Because, I can hardly find one great track on this "Pecce Rosso". A bit of jazzy compromise with "Alma Criança" which is not too bad after all.

The worse is being achieved during the reggae-ish intro of "Sentilcuore" which miraculously evolves towards a true and wonderful true Italian prog attempt: fine vocals, subtle (excellent) sax are paving the way. The best track so far, even if its intro is quite weak.

But the soufflé falls again quite abruptly with the opening part of the epic " Racconto Di Maggio". Fortunately, it only lasts for some three minutes?But to tell the truth, it is only during the last section of this song that the cake gets some flavours back.

And one of the best moment from this offering is the quite good "Altomare" which provides all the great feelings that the fine ISP genre can bring: charm, passion, skills and virtuosity.

All in all, this album is average. Two stars is the bill.

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 Il Tempo di Far la Fantasia by MONTEFELTRO album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.78 | 43 ratings

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Il Tempo di Far la Fantasia
Montefeltro Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This band is categorized as genuine Italian symphonic prog music; which means splendid and melodic vocals, superb musicianship, and wonderful soundscapes.

A glorious definition, should I say. The honesty though leads me to warn some (most?) of you: these "Watcher Of The Skies" lines have been so many times borrowed already. What's the need to duplicate the feeling, please???

The epic "Canto" is so much filled with these sounds that I can hardly be thrilled: too much is too much. Of course pleasant, yes. But no more. Sounds more as a neo-prog hymn than anything else.

Keyboards are quite encouraging and pleasant. They are definitely providing a deep emotion and imprint the minds. Still, there aren't any development à la "Apocalypse in 9/8" from the magnificent "Supper's Ready". But I admit that the model is hard to match so; no what's the need to try out?

The closing part is bombastic and powerful, for sure. A good piece of prog, that's not the question. Is this essential? That's another question. My answer is : no.

Most of the other songs featured do confirm the initial feel: a very strong borrowing item. This is my opinion. Played with skills. Sung with care. My fave moments being the instrumental parts though (no guitar, but gorgeous keys).

This "Tempo Di Far La Fantasia" is a good album. Three stars. Too much a copy of whom you might know. I'm just walking across the sitting room?

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 Il Tempo di Far la Fantasia by MONTEFELTRO album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.78 | 43 ratings

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Il Tempo di Far la Fantasia
Montefeltro Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Elegant, keyboard-rich Italian with just a slight Neo touch

"Il Tempo" is an interesting 90s Italian prog release. The band is closer to the lighter and prettier sounds of Mindflower or Willowglass than it is to a bolder band like Finisterre. The album is as drop-dead gorgeous as the album cover advertises: beginning to end it is chock full of stately keyboard play, mostly synths and piano, drenched in reserved and nuanced electric and acoustic guitars. This is an album for people looking for romantic, pretty, pastoral prog. I think it's an enjoyable album that blends a classical symphonic feel with a distinct neo-prog feel but my rating stops well short of some fellow reviewers. I think there is too much sameness throughout the album in the overall sound. It's a bit too pleasant at times, a bit too John Tesh, in need of a little more drama or darkness if simply for some contrast. There is some variety in the composition as mentioned below, but not enough in the sound.this album could use more variety in instruments and participants. I notice this on most albums by a single musician or even duos with guests as is the case here; there is little substitute for a true band with a wide variety of talents.

"Canto" is the highlight of the album, a 10-part suite covering 22 minutes. The first vocals begin after a brief intro and it is quickly obvious they are not the strength of the group. Certainly not bad, just soft, fragile, without much confidence. The keyboards quickly establish dominance with a lush organ and synth backdrop for which the electric guitar lays down some nice soloing, using the volume pedal to good effect. The electric guitar use is noteworthy in the way it is melded into the sound, rarely out front, more aurally blended into the actual keyboards so as to be sometimes indistinguishable. Then we have some tasty piano and flashy drumming. The piece moves through a wide variety of compositional territory with some upbeat sections, some dreamy lighter sections. (Again note the distinction between composition which is quite good, and sound which could use more variety.) It is mostly instrumental using vocals as just more texturing as opposed to a significant role. "Il Prescelto" begins with the mentioned Neo-sounding mood, upbeat, light, friendly. Lush keyboards abound with acoustic guitars and pleasant vocals. The drum work is certainly proficient, sometimes even a bit busy for the material being supported. "Cielo di Carta" features fragile falsetto vocals over acoustic guitar with light synth background. There is also some piano sprinkled lightly in the mix. This track has a longing vibe to the music. Flashy little keyboard solo at the end. "La Collana" is similar to "Il Prescelto" but with some breezy electric guitar in places. "Nel Labirinto" begins with a strange vocal collage that is a bit scary, but soon gorgeous acoustics begin playing and there is delicious flute-sounding synth and beautiful piano. The bass comes through a bit more towards the end which is welcome. Abrupt fade-out end..ouch.

Not bad but not a title to get super-excited about. If you are relatively new to Italian prog do not start here. After a thorough sampling of the '70s classics you may wish to try this someday. When you get to the 90s I would suggest sampling Finisterre's wonderful "In Limine" before trying Montelfeltro.

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 Il Tempo di Far la Fantasia by MONTEFELTRO album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.78 | 43 ratings

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Il Tempo di Far la Fantasia
Montefeltro Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Symphonic music is a difficult beast to master as it requires not only a mastery of the individual instruments but also the ability to weave them into a multi-partitioned opus that has substance as well as body. With the progressive element, the "orchestra" is replaced by massive use of analog and digital machines (sequencers, synths, mellotrons, computer software) as well as hopefully and ideally, real drums and percussion and some crafty electric and acoustic guitar work. Montefeltro's debut is a singular achievement in the annals of Italian Symphonic Prog, with an effort that evokes distant shades of Ezra Winston and marshalling in the continued tradition of magical compositional ability. The only drawback is the slightly muddy production but, hey, it adds to the charm. As the musical curtain is drawn aside, it reveals a first act of gigantic proportions, an enormous 22 minute extravaganza "Canto no1" (a letter to a friend in 1400), a ten-part suite that expresses the gentleness of the Renaissance with all the modern accoutrements of the progressive arsenal. This velvet euphoria hypnotizes like a lyrical anesthetic, plunging the listener into the plush romanticism of orchestral seduction, hard to imagine not smiling at all the craftiness. Singer Attilio Virgilio has an expressive voice that shirks operatic professionalism, offering up instead some entirely fragile singing that suits the suite perfectly. He also adds some diverse acoustic and occasional haunting electric guitar that both adorn instead of disturb. The bass and drums are provided by hired guns and they shoot straight without any overkill (Okay, drop the mafia innuendo!). Lots of organs, assorted massed string synthesizers, mellotrons, grand piano and plenty of ravishing harpsichord. Grandiose, unpretentious and majestic, this is prog that exudes genuine beauty and grandeur. The next 4 tracks are actually sonically more of the same, with plenty of choir, some outright guitar Hackettry that surges and sways, with real Genesis flair. Nothing really comes close to that opening salvo, though! Is this a masterpiece? No, not really but it is a most definite quality addition to any ISP collection. 4 roman candles.

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 Il Pesce Rosso ... by MONTEFELTRO album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.81 | 9 ratings

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Il Pesce Rosso ...
Montefeltro Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Well their first album may have been "Italian Symphonic prog" but this second release is really more elaborate prog flavored jazz-pop to my ears. Only one original member remains and this album is quite different than their first.

Very light and nimble playing throughout. A clean electric guitar sound and near-whispered or soft vocals in many places give the visual of a band trying to cut an album quietly in one room while trying not to wake a sleeping family member in the next room. Kidding of course but the sound is on the soft side. The drumming is extremely agile and expressive as is the bass. The guitar sound (I'm no expert but it's a clean electric sound that is altered to sound wavey) really grew tiring to me after a bit and could have used more variation. My favorite track was "Altomare" which did have some splendid guitar work near the end. The mood of the music seems mostly melancholic but without understanding the Italian vocals I can't shed much light on the content.

A nice album for fans who enjoy the more reserved rock bands on this site but hardly essential for proggers.

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 Il Tempo di Far la Fantasia by MONTEFELTRO album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.78 | 43 ratings

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Il Tempo di Far la Fantasia
Montefeltro Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by progadicto

5 stars What I can say? Emotive, symphonic, inspirative... Attilio Virgilio (vocals, guitars) and Piergioirgio Ambrossi (keyboards) did a great job with this superb album which gather maybe the vest inffluences of the classic Italian Prog. "Canto" it's a long composition splintered with great keyboard arragmenets; Virgilio and Ambrossi takes all the time of the world to create spectacular prog athmospheres based on powerful keyboards and the astonishing Virgilio's voice. "Canto" finishes with a magnificient ending that opens the way to the other 4 songs of the album shorter than "Canto" perhaps very beautiful and delicate. Maybe it's just for symph prog fans, but I recommend this album to everyone who really enjoy good music... A 90's masterpiece...

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