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CORDE OBLIQUE

Prog Folk • Italy


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Corde Oblique picture
Corde Oblique biography
Formed in Pozzuoli, Naples, Italy in 2005

Borne out of his earlier work LUPERCALIA, Neapolitan Riccardo Prencipe (PHD, Art History) formed the "ethereal folk" group CORDE OBLIQUE in the mid-2000s as primarily his a solo effort. However, he employs numerous supporting artists in his studio creations, primarily orchestral instrumentation and strong female lead vocalists. Musicians from groups such as ANATHEMA, SYNAULIA, ION and DAEMONIA NYMPHE have appeared on CORDE OBLIQUE albums. The group has done covers of ANATHEMA and RADIOHEAD among others, and their material has appeared on a variety of compilations and samplers.

By Prencipe's own description, CORDE OBLIQUE is inspired by the Ancient Italian visual arts, not the Michelangelos, mind you, but the unsung. The project's music blends ambient, classical, rock, folk and operatic sounds into a unique experience that is rooted in Mediterranean folk. CORDE OBLIQUE is often categorized as neo folk music, perhaps for Prencipe's fascination with ancient forms and symbols.

Not content to limit himself to the studio, Prencipe has taken CORDE OBLIQUE on the road on numerous occasion throughout Europe and even China, energizing and being energized by an audience that craves a musical connection beyond the superficial.

>> Bio by Bob Moore (aka ClemofNazareth) <<

Updated and expanded by Ken Levine (kenethlevine) - December 2017

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CORDE OBLIQUE discography


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

3.96 | 8 ratings
Respiri
2005
4.04 | 11 ratings
Volontā D'Arte
2007
4.27 | 14 ratings
The Stones Of Naples
2009
4.26 | 21 ratings
A Hail Of Bitter Almonds
2011
4.00 | 11 ratings
Per Le Strade Ripetute
2013
3.17 | 5 ratings
I Maestri Del Colore
2016
3.50 | 2 ratings
Back Through The Liquid Mirror
2018
4.00 | 6 ratings
The Moon Is a Dry Bone
2020

CORDE OBLIQUE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CORDE OBLIQUE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CORDE OBLIQUE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CORDE OBLIQUE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Richiami a mezzo marre
2009
4.00 | 1 ratings
Itri
2015

CORDE OBLIQUE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Per Le Strade Ripetute by CORDE OBLIQUE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 11 ratings

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Per Le Strade Ripetute
Corde Oblique Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Riccardo takes a step back to his mostly acoustic and antique roots. Whereas A Hail of Bitter Almonds saw his musical palette increasing its infiltration of electronic instruments, here we see CO returning almost exclusively to an all-acoustic selection. As a mater of fact, Riccardo even advertises it: "No samplers, no synths, no keyboards"! With even more flawless vocal performances than usual, this album may be Riccardo's masterpiece.

1. "Averno" (6:03) fast-picked with electrified acoustic guitar adding notes and the voice of Floriana Cangiano guiding us into Averno with her words. In the second minute, the band launches into full gear with strumming, etc., while Floriana begins to sing. The addition of bass and strings accents at 3:25 is so powerful! What a start! (9.5/10)

2. "Il Viaggio Di Saramago" (3:22) Caterina Pontandolfo, my favorite, returns for another song about some historic landmark. I swear, Caterina could sing, talk, cajole, or vibrate me into doing whatever she wanted of me! What a singer! (10/10)

3. "My Pure Amethyst" (5:05) Analisa Madonna gets a turn at the lead vocal (with Riccardo offering some background support with the title words in the choruses). Guitars, cello, drums, bass. Very nice. (8.5/10)

4. "In The Temple Of Echo" (1:55) solo guitar at its classical finest. (4.5/5)

5. "Bambina D'oro" (6:18) Riccardo and Floriano open alone before being joined in the chorus by drums, double bass, and violin. Another wonderful vocal performance. After 90 seconds, the full band really kicks in, and the music becomes very proggy in the instrumental passage following the second chorus of "oh-ho"s. At 3:10, then we settle back down with a return to the opening format--plus a few more instruments ready to add their flourishes and embellishments. Floriana hits some notes! Then things quiet way down at 4:30 for an amazingly delicate vocal and guitar duet. The band slowly starts to rejoin at 5:25 but never to the levels of that third minute--never spoiling the perfect intimacy that Riccardo and Floriana have established. (10/10)

6. "Heraion" (3:15) Caterina returns for some ghost-like vocalise behind the folk hand drums and theatric whispering narration of Spyros Giasafakis. Eva Steriou assists Caterina in the second half. Cool. (8.5/10)

7. "Due Melodie" (5:45) it's time for newcomer Lisa Starnini to have a turn at lead vocal. To be honest, she sounds pretty much like a clone of Caterina or Floriana. The music behind her is more throughly textured with lots of instruments offering chords and multi-note contributions. Until the lively instrumental passage at the end of the fourth minute, the song is rather dull and "typical" for Riccardo/Corde Oblique. Still: Welcome Lisa! (8.5/10)

8. "Le Fontane Di Caserta" (4:10) a gentle instrumental that almost sounds as if it could be a lullaby with steel-string guitar strummed and arpeggiated while violin solos in the lowest registers. After 90 seconds, Edo climbs out of the sonorous bass notes and approaches upper octave domains. Riccardo's playing is surprisingly simple and subdued- -even when he's soloing. Again, "lullaby" is all I can think of for a rationale. Still, there is an undeniable simpiosis between the two that is charming, endearing--makes you want to get up and hug them when they're done. (8.75/10)

9. "Requiem For A Dream" (2:26) an instrumental demonstrating an absolutely stunning display of virtuosity from multiple instruments--and it's beautiful and emotional! (10/10)

10. "Ali Bianche" (6:47) Floriana sings her heart out with this unlikely and challenging structure and instrumental grouping. Unbelievable vocal--one that provides the glue to make everything work. I will go so far as to even assert that I don't think the music would have worked alone. (14/15)

11. "Uroboro (8:01) whoever Edo Notarloberti is, he is incredible! After four minutes of violin solo (with some support from bowed double bass), there is a significant gap before we get a solo guitar piece with outdoor garden noises--as if an improvised piece was being captured live, as it developed. (A continuation of or variation of song #4 "In the Temple of Echo"?) What a guitarist! We are so fortunate to have his music! (14/15)

Total time 53:07

It's so difficult to assess Riccardo's music since it's always of such superior quality, always a demonstration of a virtuoso at the peak of his playing, compositional, and delegating powers. I LOVE this album and its timeless music. I LOVE the "modernized"-thinking of A Hail of Bitter Almonds.

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of timeless Prog Folk and truly a treasure for any music lover--prog or no.

 The Moon Is a Dry Bone by CORDE OBLIQUE album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 6 ratings

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The Moon Is a Dry Bone
Corde Oblique Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Riccardo is stepping way outside his usual sound and style palettes with this panoply of "nufolk" songs, most of which contain layers of heavily-treated (electrified) instruments. Even some of the vocals are more rollicking and quirky than anything I've ever heard from a Corde Oblique album before.

1. "Almost blue" (3:01) I was not ready for this heavily-effected instrumental, but I like it! (8.75/10)

2. "La strada" (4:24) aside from the male vocal in the lead, this could come from any other Corde Oblique album. Great song base, violin display, and background vocal. (8.75/10)

3. "The moon is a dry bone" (3:04) She was a momur! Factor in some cabaret Burzaco and you might get what it is I feel I'm hearing. I like it! (9/10) 4. "Le grandi anime" (3:48) discordant guitar chords somehow conveying a very familiar Corde Oblique melody. I swear: Caterina Pontrandolfo could sing the clothes off of a monastery of monks. A wonderful addition to the great Corde Oblique catalogue. (9/10)

5. "Le torri di Maddaloni" (4:12) opens with 90 seconds of lute-like guitar play with subtle accordion in the background. Then it switches to hand drum over which a coven of witches led by Rita Saviano chant their pagan chant. At the end of the third minute after nylon string guitar enters, there is a lull and tehn an evening out and beautification of the music. Feels deeply antique. (9/10)

6. "Il figlio dei Vergini" (4:30) classical guitar and accordion (beautiful!) with the one and only Caterina Pontrandolfo singing a over the top. In the second minute there is an awesome wordless vocalise and b-vox chants as the guitar and accordion dance beautifully with each other. Then, in the third minute, there is a amped up fast rhythm (led by hand drum) over which Caterina returns to the original melody. The song then finishes with an an unusual right turn with Sergio Panarella lending his vocal talents to sing wordlessly over first a bare-bones section and then a full band. Interesting--and very different--song. (9.25/10)

7. "La casa del ponte" (5:39) like a film soundtrack with spoken word vocal and both fast and slow dynamics and moods. At 3:40 the coven of witches returns to sing their curses or dirges (in Italian, of course) over the band (with some damned fine drum and bass play). Another interesting and wonderfully fecund song. (9.25/10)

8. "Temporary peace" (4:58) Another Riccardo interpretation of an ANATHEMA song from the 2001 album, A Fine Day to Exit). Lead vocal (in English) from Rita Saviano and piano from Luigi Rubino. (8.75/10)

9. "Il terzo suono" (2:14) another off-beat m'lange of styles that is very unlike anything I've heard from Riccardo before. All-male vocals, performed by Miro Sossano. (4.5/5)

10. "Herculaneum" (3:18) any chance to hear the sublime voice of Caterina Pontrandolfo--here with accordion, strummed acoustic guitars, and hand drums--is welcome, a highlight. Lovely to hear the accordion expressing itself so fully and prominently. (8.5/10)

11. "Almost Blue part two" (3:41) a multi-guitar instrumental with effects rendering a kind of shoegaze sound to it. Pretty, melodic, but nothing very new or exciting here. (8.5/10)

Total Time: 42:49

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of Progressive Folk music--one that truly spans the full spectrum of Prog Folk, musica antica to modern NuFolk.

 The Moon Is a Dry Bone by CORDE OBLIQUE album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 6 ratings

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The Moon Is a Dry Bone
Corde Oblique Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars In these precarious days, it's reassuring that accomplished professionals continue to prioritize art over glory, cooperation over isolation, and authenticity over spuriousness. When a besieged Italy is the source, it is all the more heartening. But could we have expected less from Riccardo Prencipe's long lived project CORDE OBLIQUE?

"The Moon is a Dry Bone" is CORDE OBLIQUE's 7th album of previously unreleased material after a rare 4 year interval marked only by stopgaps "I Maestri Del Colore" Vol 2 EP and "Back Through the Liquid Mirror", the latter a live in the studio rerecording of earlier favourites. Prencipe gained momentum in his balancing of classical, folk and pop sensibilities until it peaked on "A Hail of Bitter Almonds" in 2011, after which he nurtured his inner introvert for 2 offerings. This retreat was profound on "I Maestri Del Colore" in which voiceless introspection asserted itself as much as it ever does. While the transformation was diffidently courageous, it also initiated the inevitable speculations about what the matrimony of the various CORDE OBLIQUEs might sound like, perhaps bolstered with a bit more of a rock edge, forged tastefully of course. Thankfully, Prencipe has indulged us yet again.

Surrounding himself with past, present and future collaborators, Prencipe has returned to his earlier blend of ethereal folk, augmenting the workload of stalwart vocalist Caterina Pontrandolfo's for the type of classical-folk pieces in which the group excels. These include "La Grandi Anime", "Il figlio dei Vergini", and the accordion sated "Herculaneum". He has also included two related and haunting instrumentals to initiate and send off the performance, proximal to what we have enjoyed before but with a little more electrification. Collaborations continue with kindred spirits like IRFAN on the Eastern Euro-tinged "Le torri di Maddaloni" and ASHRAM on aforementioned "Il Figlio" and impart a welcome familiar quality to the proceedings.

Luckily, as hinted above, this is far from a rehash of bygone successes. First, an infusion of a traditional rhythm section lends a new-ish rock aspect to "The Moon". Second, masculine voice has returned after too long an absence and Prencipe has called upon two notable performers for a couple of the brassiest and accomplished numbers here, the consummate ballad "La Strada" graced by ANDREA CHIMENTI, and the split personality "Il Terzo Suono" offered with sensitivity and panache by former new wave singer MIRO SASSOLINI which morphs from acoustic ballad to breathlessly paced rocker without apology and is over far too soon. Finally, newcomer Rita Saviano wrests the microphone for the bizarre screech fest of a title cut that is at the very least a head turner, and on a resplendent cover of ANATHEMA's "Temporary Peace. The enlisting of famed stage actress Maddalena Crippa merges music and performance art like only CORDE OBLIQUE can.

"the Moon is a Dry Bone" is that rare release that navigates to fecund new soundscapes AND persuades long term fans to climb aboard. Highly recommended!

 Itri by CORDE OBLIQUE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Itri
Corde Oblique Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars In between CORDE OBLIQUE's "Per la Strade Ripetute" and "I maestri del colore", the Riccardo Principe-led "ethereal folk" group made 3 new tracks available for download which effectively mark the subtle but significant transition.

The title track is the most vivacious, with Annalisa Madonna's voice fronting a compelling blend of acoustic guitar with violins and imaginative percussion by Alessio Sica. The arrangements become more wistful in the instrumental parts but are energized anew when Annalisa reappears. It is fully aligned with the newer direction of the group, while not likely to alienate long time fans.

"Momenti senza nome" is a throwback to the earlier and more dramatic period, and the one I prefer, with its haunting and suspenseful melody sung by Francesca Cacciatore, with succinct violin and voice in duet, the wistful strings later carrying the day. It could have easily appeared on "Volonta D'Arte", their 2007 near masterpiece.

The third track is just Principe on classical guitar, well played but focused on the technical sound more than the heartstrings. The transition, at least to this point, was completed on the ambitious but dry "I maestri del colore" the next year.

Due to its temporal and evolutionary position, "Itri" is recommended to fans of any of CORDE OBLIQUE's work, or to newbies wanting to cut their teeth on unplugged neo folk Italian style without sacrificing a lot of cash or time.

 A Hail Of Bitter Almonds by CORDE OBLIQUE album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.26 | 21 ratings

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A Hail Of Bitter Almonds
Corde Oblique Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I was rather taken by Corde Oblique's previous album, The Stones of Naples, but on A Hail of Bitter Almonds I found the charms of their interesting folk-classical fusion beginning to wear thin. It's all very pretty, with a suitably talented set of vocalists summoned, but far from the bitterness promised by the album title there's a syrupy sweetness to everything that becomes increasingly cloying as the album progresses. There's an odd take on Radiohead's Jigsaw Working Into Place which shows imagination, but otherwise I found much of this album to be forgettable, though forgettable in a rather pretty way. Smooth, and perhaps a little too smooth.
 The Stones Of Naples by CORDE OBLIQUE album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.27 | 14 ratings

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The Stones Of Naples
Corde Oblique Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A darkly majestic brand of progressive folk music is offered up by Corde Oblique on The Stones of Napes. Applying folk music structures and compositions to orchestral instrumentation, with delicate, magnificent vocals in the performers' native Italian, results in a blending of distinct historical musical traditions into a novel and deeply moving new style. It's no surprise that Corde Oblique have been cited by some as part of the whole "neofolk" style, though happily to my knowledge their work is genuinely free both of militaristic/fascist imagery and of far-right ties, so those who are concerned about the way other neofolk groups toy with such things can breathe a little easier here.
 I Maestri Del Colore by CORDE OBLIQUE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.17 | 5 ratings

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I Maestri Del Colore
Corde Oblique Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars So much modern popular music these days is prepared and packaged for the download "industry", with the unfortunate result that art too often imitates life, becoming convenient and disposable. This is a far cry from the early 1970s when the gatefold sleeve ruled supreme, and more time was spent fondling it than would be considered appropriate today. But every so often a CD, yes, a CD, is released that recaptures that visionary spirit. CORDE OBLIQUE's Riccardo Prencipe utilized crowd funding to consummate "I Maestri Del Colore", the band's 6th release, and the result is as much a tribute to his fans as to bygone eras. To experience this recording merely as a download is to infer beauty from the skin out.

The meticulousness in the booklet extends to the citing of venerable sources of inspiration, dedications to loved ones and friends, and the acknowledgement of musical collaborators ranging from the more commercial side of neo folk (ARGINE) to Bulgarian kindred spirits (IRFAN) to venerable elder statespersons AKTUALA (actually on progarchives), to Neapolitan bands dedicated to the resurrection of ancient music (MICROLOGUS) among others. The alliances that CORDE OBLIQUE has forged, with both audience and contemporaries, appear to have quite dramatically affected the mood and approach musically.

While still operating in the realm of "progressive ethereal folk", and still recognizable as CORDE OBLIQUE particularly in the vocal sections, this eminence extends the more contemplative and less "pop oriented" trajectory of "Per Le Strade Ripetute". Vocals are much sparser, and Prencipe unchains the electric guitar, generally for acoustic styled plucking, but for a couple of heavy rhythms. Conventional drums are also deployed here and there. Yet neither of these traditional rock instruments do more than color the ancient sounding rhythms and melodies. More noteworthy is the inclusion of trumpet on a number of pieces, which can be hard to discern unless one is looking for it, utilizing long held notes rarely to the fore, and promotes the overall languid, mournful ambiance. Strings have never been second fiddle with CORDE OBLIQUE, and they continue to inject profundity and occasional vivacity. This is music to lose oneself in, and perhaps find one's older self connected more with the ancient sages.

The difficult arises when one evaluates this for a modern prog rock audience. Yes, prog fans do enjoy some of the self conscious but unsentimental instrumentals like "Papavero e memoria" and "Blubosforo", or the robotically chanted liturgy of "A fondo oro". The more folk oriented listener will appreciate Prencipe's inclusion of dramatic and gorgeous songs like "Il cretto nero", which were more plentiful on earlier albums. Few would deny the overall beauty of the sonic palette which does justice to the visuals on which it is based. Overall, though, I think that the rock quotient, minimal in earlier recordings, is almost non existent at this juncture, and the folk aspect is not as immediate as it had been, which is a bit of a failing, since folk music thrives on some degree of immediacy. As a result, I sometimes do lose myself herein, but perhaps not for the right reasons. That all does change in the last minute of the album, which I'm still puzzling over, a mashup of heavy rhythm guitar and drums hitherto unimagined in this group's lexicon of tranquility.

"I Maestri Di Colore" is a difficult album to rate, and I would almost prefer to just leave you with a review and call it a day, but that's not possible or even advisable. For its creator, It is a work of profound self respect and respect for all whom he has touched and been touched by. For its listeners, that respect is apparent and earned. I just wish it were a bit more engaging more often. 3.5 stars, reluctantly rounded down because, like all uncompromising art, it is forever engaged in a search for that elusive perfect match.

 A Hail Of Bitter Almonds by CORDE OBLIQUE album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.26 | 21 ratings

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A Hail Of Bitter Almonds
Corde Oblique Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars A Hail of Bitter Almonds brings RICCARDO PRENCIPE's neo-medieval music project more fully into the prog world. The Post Rock sound and format similar to ANATHEMA is present here. Also, this album has by far the greatest diversity in terms of tempos and musical stylings yet used on a Corde Oblique album. It seems that Riccardo has taken Corde Oblique from the realm of neo-classical, into neo medieval classical, then neo medieval folk, and now prog folk rock with a very consistent medieval folk tinge throughout. Once again drawing from the vocal talents of a stable of superb singers--this time four female and two male--helps A Hail of Bitter Almonds yield some truly memorable songs--though, IMHO, not quite as consistent as its gorgeous predecessor, The Stones of Naples. Still, the highs and diversity of styles and dynamics of this album makes A Hail of Bitter Almonds another gem--and more proggy.

1. "A Hail of Bitter Almonds" (2:08) opens the album powerfully--on the powerful vocal pipes of Floriana Cangiano and great violin accompaniment from Alfredo Notarloberti. (10/10)

2. "Together Alone" (4:15) presents us with a nice male vocal singing in English with standard accompaniment from Riccardo, strings, piano and drums. The shift at 2:50 is nice--and effective. (9/10)

3. "Arpe di vento" (4:58) opens with a very familiar melody--as if from the previous album ("Bario gotico"?) but then deviates into something different. Fast-pace guitar strumming and hand drumming with soloing violin accompany singer Floriana Cangiano (a CRANBERRY lead singer, Dolores O'Riordan, sound-alike) as she tells us her story. Could use a little more variation once the foundation is laid. (9/10)

4. "Paestum" (5:06) piano and strummed guitar establish a fast-paced rhythm before settling back in sparse support of singer Annalisa Madonna double tracking her vocal in two channels (!!). The song goes back and forth between delicate and rolicking. A remarkable song--especially for the vocals! (10/10)

5. "La Madre Che Non C'č" (2:47) opens with Riccardo soloing, sounding as if he might be taking us on an instrumental journey, but then multiple female voices join in. In the second minute the song totally shifts into ballad-type form with, again, multiple tracks of female vocals harmonizing with each other. (Riccardo informs me that both voices are those of Caterina Pontrandolfo--the only vocalist credited to this song.) The song then suddenly shifts into the realm of classical instrumental, but then finishes with Caterina in the driver's seat again. (10/10)

6. "Slide" (2:53) is an instrumental with wooden pan flutes taking the lead--though in a very ethereal, almost sound-effect kind of way. Great melodies and effect. (10/10)

7. "Le pietre di Napoli" (5:00) again that familiar melody of Riccardo's, but then the heart-wrenching voice of Floriana Cangiano makes one quickly forget any disconcerting thoughts. What a gorgeous voice! Excellent choice for the dominant lead singer on the album. The song takes a left turn at the two minute mark, into guitar dominance, with piano, violin and wordless voice becoming more supportive. How interesting! And it works! It builds back onto a kind of dance frenzy before dying at the end. (10/10)

8. "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" (4:20) the cover of a RADIOHEAD song with mandolins and plucked violins opening with the rock band instruments before Claudia Sorvillo takes on the vocal lead. Industrial-sounding programming takes this one into territory Riccardo has not explored before (at least on tape). Definitely a sign of adventurousness. Claudia's vocal in the second half is not quite as powerful as one might want or expect. Perhaps it should've been brought more front and center. You can tell she is enjoying the singing--and the band is really rocking! Well done. (9/10)

9. "Crypta Neapolitana" (2:15) brings us back to the folk-based middle ages--until the 0:35 mark when other instruments join Riccardo and Caterina to give it a kind of Man of La Mancha feel. The male thespian voice only enhances this Spanish Broadway musical feeling. But nice! (9/10)

10. "Gioia di vivere" (3:47) guitar and Floriana Congiano return to sing an impassioned love song--with fine support from strings, distant violin, and ethereal background vocals. Gorgeous singing, gorgeous melody lines, and an awesome ending twist. This one's a keeper. (10/10)

11. "Red Little Wine" (4:14) is a full-band instrumental with lute and piano exchanging the lead. A little repetitive but nice. (8/10)

12. "The Man of Wood" (4:08). It doesn't get more folkie than this. Guitars, dreamy, layers of Serdio Panarella's MORRISSEY-like male vocal, violin, and, later, full acoustic rock band with male and female background choir (all performed by multiple tracks of Sergio and Claudia Sorvillo?). Great song. (10/10)

13. "Le Piccole Cose" (2:37). There's that melody again! Riccardo opens this gentle and gorgeous song with his guitar and violin. Caterina Pontrandolfo performs the lead vocals here with her usual calm and reassuring vocal tones. It is certainly a beautiful song! (I cannot help but ask at this point whether or not Riccardo is intentionally recapitulating this theme--as if in a concept album?) (10/10)

14. "Pietra Bianca" (3:48) opens as a Riccardo instrumental--sounding like a lullaby--before clarinet and Floriana Cangiano's wordless vocalizations join in, weaving in with the guitar, clarinet and organ. Gorgeous and powerful song! (10/10)

15. "Su un dipinto di Giovanni Bellini" (3:22). Riccardo and Floriana Cangiano close out the album with an almost-Celtic sounding song. It's nice enough but something is missing. (8/10)

A five star masterpiece on the scale of the greatest masterpieces of all-time. This album started out high on my playlist, disappeared for a while, but I found myself returning to this one--and this one more than any of Riccardo's other beautiful albums. A real grower! Check it out and then let it percolate. You'll become an addict like me, no doubt.

 The Stones Of Naples by CORDE OBLIQUE album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.27 | 14 ratings

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The Stones Of Naples
Corde Oblique Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars This is the third of RICCARDO PRENCIPE's neo-medieval folk fashioned music presentations. This album sees a definite step forward in the compositions' leanings toward folk and medieval music and away from straightforward neoclassical music. For me, this pays off with The Stones of Naples feeling like the most accessible and most enjoyable Corde Oblique album yet. Plus, The Stones of Naples enjoys the benefit of vocal contributions of no less than six woman, each of outstanding voice, including: Caterina Pontrandolfo (familiar to us from the previous album, Volontrā d'arte) on songs 1, 6 and 10; Floriana Cangiano on songs 2 and 9; Claudia Sorvillo on songs 4 and 11, Monica Pinto, Geraldine Le Cocq and Alessandra Santovito on songs 7, 5, and 3, respectively. Because of this last fact, I will add that more than either of Riccardo's previous two Corde Oblique albums, this one is much more song/ballad oriented. You have to travel eight songs into the album before you get to an instrumental, and, again, unlike the previous albums, this one has much more of a medieval folk feel to it. This album contains songs of such consistently high standards that are all so enjoyable that I prefer to not single out any songs that I like more than any others (though, between you and me, I find myself swooning with absolute bliss during this string of five songs: "Flower Bud," "Flying," "Like an Ancient Black and White Movie," "La cittā dagli occhi neri," and "Nostalgica avanguardia"). Let's just say from the album's opening notes and song to its last you are in for a real treat.

1. "La quinta ricerca" (3:13) opens the album with Riccardo's lute serving notice that this is going to be music that feels like it comes from five hundred years ago. When sublime singer Caterina Pontrandolfo joins in with the accompaniment some other medieval instrumental accompanying her the ancient resolve is affirmed. An orchestral finale is unexpected but wonderful. (10/10)

2. "Venti di sale" (5:29) is opened with solo grand piano for the first minute--laying down some gorgeous introductory work--before vocalist Floriana Cangiano and a full force folk ensemble rush into the void with some quite dynamically diverse music--both acoustic guitars, violin, and hand percussion, and modern (fretless bass and drums). Lacking a memorable melodic hook to make this total ear candy. (9/10)

3. "Flower Bud" (5:46) a stunningly gorgeous song with just the music but then you add the incredibly sensitive vocal of Alessandra Santovito (in English!) and you get bliss, utter bliss. The start of that string of five songs of Olympian perfection. (10/10) 4. "Flying" (5:44) is a gorgeous remake of an ANATHEMA song (from 2003's A Natural Disaster), with the crystalline pipes of Claudia Sorvillo delivering the vocal--though she is later beautifully doubled (by another vocalist?). The rock drumming and piccolo-like arpeggio notes from the classical guitar in the final minute and a half are sublime! (10/10)

5. "Like An Ancient Black & White Movie" (2:10) opens with delicate piano, strings and Riccardo's classical guitar setting up a dreamy mood for yet another stunning vocal (the third one in a row in English!) this time by the ethereal KATE BUSH-like voice of Geraldine Le Cocq. (10/10)

6. "La Cittā Dagli Occhi Neri" (5:44). Caterina Pontrandolfo, voice of the opener, returns to sing this one in Italian, accompanied by Riccardo's lute and bass. Though it feels like she is singing in a relaxed, even lazy fashion, her slight rasp and gently trilling vibrato are sheer perfection here. Drums and rock instruments join in for the final 1:10 as Caterina sings some non-lexical vocables with the violin. (10/10)

7. "Nostalgica Avanguardia" (5:14) a gentle, almost religious-feeling song as sung by Monica Pinto in Italian. The music becomes almost Gypsy fast while Monica continues to sing with what feels like respect and reverence. (9/10)

8. "The Quality Of Silence" (1:48) is a nice little instrumental duet between Riccardo and pianist Luigi Rubino. (8/10)

9. "Barrio Gotico" (7:16) sees the return of Floriana Cangiano to the vocal mic as Riccardo and a simple Spanish folk ensemble supports. Riccardo on guitar, hand percussionist Michele Maione also on board. Well performed but a little long-winded and monotonous--though the final two minutes sounds like primo soundtrack music to a classic Italian Spaghetti Western. (8/10)

10. "Dal Castello Di Avella" (3:58) Caterina Pontrandolfo retirns to the vocal helm for the third and final time with a song brimming with feelings of love and nostalgia. This woman could sing anyone into peace, calm, and, dare I say it, love. The spiritual intentions behind her singing remind me of American spiritual singer, SHAINA NOLL. An eminently simple song--just Caterina and Riccardo--but one that comes across as utter perfection! (10/10)

11. "La Gente Che Resta" (3:24) opens with solo clarinet before a fully-scored folk troupe gather behind him in support of another Claudia Sorvillo vocal effort. The clarinet interplay behind and with the vocal is quite magical but the song lacks any memorable melodies. (8/10)

12. "Piscina Mirabilis" (2:56) is a nice little solo classical guitar piece from Riccardo to close out the album. Nice. (9/10)

This is without a doubt a five star masterpiece of progressive rock (folk) music.

 Volontā D'Arte by CORDE OBLIQUE album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.04 | 11 ratings

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Volontā D'Arte
Corde Oblique Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Volontā D'Arte is Riccardo PRENCIPE's second release of neo-medieval folk music under the title Corde Oblique. As on the debut Respici, Riccardo surrounds himself with collaborators who are up to his vision and standards. I love the consistently high quality of composition and performance on this album. I am, however, biased toward the less-classical- and more medieval folk-orientation of two of Riccardo's future albums, 2009's exquisite The Stones of Naples and 2011's wonderful Hail of Bitter Almonds.

Album standouts include: the very Spanish-, almost GIPSY KINGS-sounding 1. "Cantastorie" (4:15) with the crystalline voice of Caterina Pontrandolfo (9/10); the medieval sounding 2. "Amphitheatrum Puteolanum" (4:29) (despite Ms. Pontrandolfo's voice being treated with reverb) (9/10); 3. "Casa Hirta" (9/10); the special piano-guitar duet on 4. "Before Utrecht" (5:44) (9/10); 5. "Atheistic Woman" (4:53) with its quirky, almost LEONARD COHEN vocal (9/10); the ANTHONY PHILLIPS-like solo guitar 9. "Pannegio" (2:42) (9/10); 10. "Cuma" (5:28) with singer Claudia Florio and her gorgeous operatic voice (8/10); the pretty piano suite "La Pioggia sui Tasti" (3:03) (8/10), and; the beautiful, more classically arranged "Piazza Armerina" (5:16) with guitar and clarinet (9/10).

Thanks to clemofnazareth for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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