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Messaggio 73 biography
Whether in spite of or because of the impact of secularisation in Italy during the 1970s, the country witnessed an upswelling tide of popular religiousness. A successful compromise between Catholicism and modernisation resulted in new forms of religious expression, and one contemporary practice was the employment of rock music as a vehicle for the depiction of sacred topics. MESSAGGIO 73, formed in Lecco in 1973, was one of many bands founded during the seventies whose music carried a religious message, hence the twin meaning behind the band's name. Giuseppe Mazzoleni was their leader and although not credited as a member of the group he was more than a mere Svengali figure. Mazzoleni was the band's main composer and his violin gave the music much of its shape and colour.

MESSAGGIO 73 gained fame in Italy thanks to their large-scale concert piece ''E La Luce Fu'' (And There Was Light), a kind of rock oratorio structured around a collection of songs and instrumentals interspersed with narration and commentary. As its title suggests it was inspired by the Bible with lyrics that sought to illustrate profound spiritual questions about the meaning of life and the existence of God. ''E La Luce Fu'' was quickly established as a major work and was performed throughout Italy well into the 1980s with over 150 performances of the piece during a 10-year period.

The band only released one album, ''Una Ragione Per Vivere'' (1976), which included tracks culled from their popular concert programme; one of the songs was dedicated to original pianist Renato Bodega and lighting technician Sergio Colombo who were killed in a car accident in December 1975. The album wanders somewhere between light symphonic prog, classical pastiche, Italian folk and psychedelic pop and, despite being afflicted with a surplus of dated pop glitter, is nonetheless accepted in Italy as a cornerstone album of Christian rock.

MESSAGGIO 73 sit side by side with other Christian prog bands like LA SORGENTE and QUEL GIORNO DI UVE ROSSE and as such they are important in the history of RPI. Vinyl copies of ''Una Ragione Per Vivere'' are rare and highly sought after by collectors, with copies exchanging hands for large sums of money. The 2012 reissue in CD format includes a bonus disc of a live recording of ''E La Luce Fu'' from 1975 and the inclusion of this significant work makes it a worthwhile release for serious RPI collectors.

- seventhsojourn

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MESSAGGIO 73 discography

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2.13 | 11 ratings
Una Ragione Per Vivere

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MESSAGGIO 73 Reviews

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 Una Ragione Per Vivere by MESSAGGIO 73 album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.13 | 11 ratings

Una Ragione Per Vivere
Messaggio 73 Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars And There Was Light

Messaggio 73 was a band from Lecco who formed around 1973 and lasted for a decade, performing countless shows in Italy and releasing one full length album, plus some singles. They reside firmly on the religious branch of the RPI movement. In 1970s Italy there were quite a few projects which sprung up designed to use the modern rock format to spread the good word, to bring the beauty of the Catholic Church to a younger audience. (See our artist page for Chris' excellent bio which sheds more light on this Christian RPI band).

The music on the lone Messaggio 73 album entitled "Una Ragione Per Vivere" is far to the lighter side of Italian prog. The music is a mix of Italian pop with light progressive rock and classical music influences, adorned beautifully by the violin and choir vocals. While uncredited on the album apparently much of the credit should be shared with Giuseppe Mazzoleni, who composed much of the music and contributed violin here, which is the ingredient that most brings these songs to life. Much of the album fails to escape from the dated psych-pop and Beat tendencies which by 1973 were downright square compared to what was going on around them. Understand there are some tracks here which will have RPI fans cringing a bit. On the other hand there are some mature classical moments that work just beautifully. There is a delightful piano section which opens the album. And there is the album's highlight, the most ambitious "Adagio" which gives a glimpse of what could have been with a bit more radical composition. It begins with shimmering cymbals, piano, and folksy guitar backing a lengthy and breathtaking violin sequence, so wonderful! Halfway through the band finally finds the spark lacking on earlier tracks, and cooks up a melodic, energetic backing to the frenzied strings. "La Scelta" also attempts a more daring proggy edge with some success, while "E La Luce Fu" is the single which sparked great national interest for this band. The closer "L'Ultimo Giorno" is lovely, melodic mix of Mazzoleni's violin with the boys choir, evoking the beauty of the Catholic mass for me. The biggest problem as mentioned is the composition, specifically the rock element is simply not sophisticated enough to transition well with the better moments at the periphery. The result is some great moments plagued by inconsistency and lack of adventure. The 2012 AMS reissue includes a bonus disc of a live show which makes it highly collectible.

Messaggio 73 is recommended only to the subset of RPI fans who enjoy the Christian branch of the tree, those who are violin junkies, and those who enjoy the Italian pop/psych. Fans of the "difficult RPI" shouldn't even slow down the horse. Personally I enjoyed myself here despite my reservations, I simply need to make clear this is a "for fans" title.

Thanks to seventhsojourn for the artist addition.

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