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Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy

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Museo Rosenbach picture
Museo Rosenbach biography
Founded in Bordighera, Italy in 1971 - Disbanded in 1974 - Reformed in 1999

This is a one-shot-band including Pit Corradi (keyboards), Giancarlo Golzi (drums), Enzo Merogno (guitar/vocals), Alberto Moreno (bas/piano) and singer Stefano Galifi. In '73 they released "Zarathustra" (about Nietzsche's superman), this album is still considered as one of the masterpieces in the world of progrock. And it's one of the most sought after "collector items". In '92 the CD's "Rare and Unreleased" and "Live" '72 were released, both interesting but with inferior sound quality. A new line-up with the drummer and the bass player who made the album "Exit" in 2000.

The album "Zarathustra" starts with the magnificent titletrack (five parts, almost 21 minutes). The foundation is a beautiful theme (like in "Firth of Fifth" from GENESIS) that returns in different climates (from dreamy to heavy and bombastic) and with different colouring of the instruments. The interplay between the electric guitar, keyboards (Hammond organ, synthesizer and piano), rhythm-section (propulsive and perfectly timed drumming) and strong and expressive Italian vocals is very captivating. It all creates a constant tension, topped by majestic eruptions of the Mellotron. The omni-presence of this instrument gives the titletrack the same thrilling impact as it does on the early albums from KING CRIMSON and GENESIS! The other three (shorter) tracks sound flowing and powerful with a lot of Hammond organ and guitarplay with echoes from Steve HACKETT. ESSENTIAL!

A long anticipated return called "Barbarica" arrives in April 2013.

-Erik Neuteboom-

See also:
- WiKi

MUSEO ROSENBACH Videos (YouTube and more)

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Sony Music 2014
$13.99 (used)
Live in TokyoLive in Tokyo
Immaginifica 2014
$18.46 (used)
Immagnifica 2013
$21.98 (used)
Zarathustra Live in StudioZarathustra Live in Studio
Aerostella 2012
$19.46 (used)
Museo Rosenbach - Zarathustra - Ltd. Edn. (Digipak) (CD)Museo Rosenbach - Zarathustra - Ltd. Edn. (Digipak) (CD)
Limited Collector's Edition
Flawed Gems 7365537740397
Zarathustra by Museo Rosenbach (2002-12-17)Zarathustra by Museo Rosenbach (2002-12-17)
Flawed Gems
Official Bootleg LimitedOfficial Bootleg Limited
Vivid 2013
$29.33 (used)
Rare & UnreleasedRare & Unreleased
Mello 2006
$34.88 (used)
Live 72Live 72
Mello 2006
$158.00 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
MUSEO ROSENBACH Zarathustra JAPAN CD KICP-2710 1993 USD $50.59 Buy It Now 3h 49m
Celeste - S/T Japan cd OBI 1976 Il Sistema St. Tropez Museo Rosenbach Italoprog USD $37.58 Buy It Now 10h 26m
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5 days
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MUSEO ROSENBACH Japan 1982 K22P-280 NM LP ZARATHUSTRA USD $99.99 Buy It Now 25 days
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Alphataurus - S/T 1992 Korea CD Si Wan Records No Barcode Museo Rosenbach USD $69.99 Buy It Now 27 days
MUSEO ROSENBACH ZARATHUSTRA SEVEN SEAS K22P-279 Japanese Pressing Vinyl LP USD $155.00 Buy It Now 27 days
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MUSEO ROSENBACH ZARATHUSTRA CD MINI LP OBI Italian progressive rock album new USD $14.23 Buy It Now 30 days
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MUSEO ROSENBACH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.31 | 847 ratings
3.29 | 34 ratings
3.55 | 82 ratings

MUSEO ROSENBACH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.70 | 22 ratings
Museo Rosenbach Live '72
3.98 | 33 ratings
Zarathustra - Live in Studio
4.38 | 13 ratings
Live in Tokyo

MUSEO ROSENBACH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

3.18 | 21 ratings
Rare and Unreleased (recorded 1972)
3.20 | 5 ratings

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


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Zarathustra by MUSEO ROSENBACH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.31 | 847 ratings

Museo Rosenbach Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Montrose31

4 stars Italian progressive rock has always fascinated me, as its elegance and dreamy tones tend to stand out from other schools of thought in the genre. While I may not speak Italian, the lyrics resonate with me in a way that ordinary English progressive rock does not, and I have always found myself coming back to select Italian prog albums for this very reason. The lyrics act almost as wordless vocals, as the beautiful Romance language makes for a more audibly appealing sound than the dreary, harsh, and irregular English language. Italian prog also has a propensity for giving rise to a myriad of "one-shot wonders"; bands who would release one masterful album, then disappear into the abyss, never to be heard from again. One such band, and perhaps the best example of this phenomena, is the group Museo Rosenbach, aka "Rosenbach Museum" in English. While the band has released a few new studio albums in the twenty- first century after reforming, the band's heyday from 1971-74 is of great note, with the group releasing a sole studio album in 1973, which is considered to be a "cornerstone" of the Italian prog subgenre.

Museo Rosenbach is relatively well-known in prog circles, although they are by no means the flagship of Italian prog bands. Premiata Forneria Marconi released far more albums, many of which were seminal in their own right. However, Rosenbach's 1973 standalone effort "Zarathustra" is in my opinion superior to any PFM album, even the illustrious "Per un Amico" which is held in very high regards in its own right. A concept album based on the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and his book "Thus Spake Zarathustra", it contains extremely dark elements and undertones, wonderfully capturing the essence of nihilism in musical terms. Side one is a 19:11 epic, split into five parts. I would not go as far to say that there is a story to be told here, but rather the album is a collection of songs which are based around Nietzsche's philosophy, which in its own right can be interpreted in many ways. For example, Rosenbach invokes the "Superman", or Ubermensch, a central tenet of Nietzsche's worldview. There are a few songs which are more introspective outlooks on nature and mankind on the second side, but perhaps the crowning glory of the album is the epic title track.

In general, I have always found Italian prog vocalists to be rather generic and uniform. However, the vocalist on this album is a little bit different in that his voice is gruff; he is not necessarily a great vocalist but his tone fits the mood of the album very well. If you are a fan of the mellotron, then this album is for you. The band relies heavily on this instrument, and it features an incredibly prominent central theme in the title track. Rosenbach has well-defined images, those being Pink Floyd, Genesis, and King Crimson. At this time those aforementioned bands would have already released the albums "Meddle", "Supper's Ready", and "In the Court of the Crimson King" respectively, and those influences are deeply felt in the band's music. However, I would not go so far as to say that Rosenbach is an unoriginal band, as their sound is very unique in its own right, and I mainly attribute this to the band's tones. Genesis has always struck me as a triumphant-sounding group, and while Pink Floyd and King Crimson have explored pessimism, I feel like this band goes beyond that, greatly applying the tones of nihilism into music. However you may want to interpret Nietzsche's concept of nihilism, it is pretty obvious that the music on "Zarathustra" is ominous, yet stoic. Even the album artwork is undeniably scary, with an inhuman collage of what I perceive to be an image of Christ perforated with various images and individuals, the most notorious of which being the late Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Given that the 1970's featured a minor social upheaval which in turn brought Italian prog to fruition, as well as led to the idolization of Nietzsche's work by neo-fascists, the album was banned from radio airplay, and could be the reason why the band never took off in the way that more successful contemporaries such as PFM and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso did.

All politics aside, "Zarathustra" the title track is one of those epics which passes by very quickly, and leaves a lasting impression on the listener. This is not uplifting music, yet it is artsy. It serves as an antithesis to the generally optimistic nature of music without making an explicit sociopolitical statement in the way an ITCOTCK did back in 1969. No band member is obscenely prominent, and the group works as a unit - this makes for a sound which is "Museo Rosenbach" as opposed to "Lupo & Co.". Much of the second side is unremarkable, but fans of this sound will likely rejoice at the prospect of having the album explore more than just the epic. Side two is not required listening by any means, and its arrangement only seems to cast it aside as unimportant in contrast to the leviathan on the first side. Furthermore, the production of this album is incredibly gruff; there is major lack of depth in the bass, and the vocals are obviously not mastered properly, but that is to be expected out of an obscure 1970's prog band which was not signed to a major label. In fact, the original LP is extremely rare, and a first edition will set you back thousands of dollars, similar to that of Leaf Hound's "Growers of Mushroom" over in the hard rock camp. Obviously collectors have already had their sights on this band, but fortunately with the advent of the internet and a few remasters, this album is pretty much available to everyone now. The band even came back with a remastered updated version of the album in 2012, which features the original vocalist and pretty much features the same arrangement, although the track layout has been reversed, with the aforementioned second side tracks going first, which I feel was for the better given it is a bit of an appetizer for the listener in preparation for the epic.

In conclusion, "Zarathustra" is a quintessential album of Italian prog. Its eclectic nature puts it into contention with the finest PFM and BdMS albums, and is one of the greatest albums to emerge from the "one-shot wonder" camp of Italian prog outfits. With albums like this, we should feel gracious that the internet has allowed us to delve back into what is essentially an endless sea of obscure classic prog albums which were previously lost in time. However, to call "Zarathustra" a masterpiece is a bit of a stretch; there are wonderful motifs of sound and an amazing concept which the band works with, but only half of this album can be considered truly seminal. With that said, this is an excellent album that is a top five in terms of Italian prog. To put things in comparison, the other four albums in my Italian prog top five are "Per un Amico", "Darwin", Il Rovescio della Medaglia's "Contaminazione", and "Photos of Ghosts".

 Zarathustra by MUSEO ROSENBACH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.31 | 847 ratings

Museo Rosenbach Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars Out of all the Italian prog bands that emerged in the early 70s, released a single album and then disbanded seemingly as quickly as they had formed, the gold medal has to belong to Sanremo's MUSEO ROSENBACH who in the prog heyday of 1973, released their sole album of the era: ZARATHUSTRA. Despite the legions of competition emerging from every nook and cranny of Italy with a huge portion of these bands releasing some of the highest quality prog albums ever to have been recorded, it is MUSEO ROSENBACH that has earned the honor of having delivered the absolute apex of Italian prog in the form of their controversial album that woefully got them completely censored and resulted in an unfortunate failure as far as sales of the initial release are concerned. Yet, time has been kind to one of Italy's most revered bands of the prog era and ZARATHUSTRA has become not only THE most popular prog album of the entire Italian scene but has also been claimed to be THE best prog album EVER. Well, i'm not sure about that, but let's just say that this quintet did a mighty fine job here.

Initially the band formed under the moniker INAUGURAZIONE MUSEO ROSENBACH (Inauguration of the Rosenbach Museum) in 1971 from the ashes of two 60s bands from the local Sanremo scene: Quinta Strada and Il Sistema, the first of which was a mere cover band and the second a proto-prog outfit that wouldn't find an archival release until 1992. The initial lineup would include Leonardo Lagorio (sax, flute) who would move on to Celeste before the album was recorded and a singer named Walter Franco before the final lineup would cement into the classic form of ZARATHUSTRA. While many Italian bands were highly experimental in their variations on the symphonic prog meets classical operatic and jazzy touch sensibilities, MUSEO ROSENBACH seemed like they were the perfect band to represent the middle ground of the multitude of bands that emerged from the rich and prosperous Italian prog scene. On ZARATHUSTRA they delivered a well balanced album that almost seems like an ambassador of Italian prog in the modern era.

As far as the name goes, it was very much en vogue for Italian prog bands to retain a sense of humility and associate themselves with mom and pop establishments thus Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) signified "award-winning Marconi bakery", Banco del Mutuo Soccorso "bank of mutual relief" and following suit, MUSEO ROSENBACH is simply derived as "The Rosenbach Museum," the ROSENBACH part remaining somewhat of a mystery. It could either have been adopted from the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia, PA or could have simply been taken from the German language where it means "brook of roses." Either way, it sounds cool and that's what counts of course. ZARATHUSTRA is one of those albums that was utterly ignored and failed miserably during its initial release which inevitably forced the band to call it quits however in hind site, it is quite logical that this was so given that MUSEO ROSENBACH touched on subject matter that was waaaaay too sensitive for the time.

It's completely amazing how far the rock genre had evolved in a single decade. A mere ten years prior The Beatles were only beginning and singing simple non-threatening love songs like "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me." Come ten years later, the progressive rock scene saw bands like MUSEO ROSENBACH tackling a sophisticated concept album based on Friedrich Nietzche's philosophical novel "Thus Spoke Zarathustra," a highly complex reading the delved into the myriad themes ranging from eternal recurrence to will to power and criticisms of Christianity. Deemed as an expression of the Far-right at the time, MUSEO ROSENBACH found themselves boycotted by the RAI (Radiotelevisione italiana). Remember that this was the time when Mussolini fascism was fresh in the minds of the Italian populace and the cover art depicting the once tyrannical dictator rubbed many the wrong way and resulted in the virtual blacklisting of MUSEO ROSENBACH without a second thought.

Despite the initial overreaction to the subject matter and cover art (which admittedly did not help the band one iota), MUSEO ROSENBACH has stood the test of time based on its amazing musical delivery on ZARATHUSTRA which is made all the better if you do not understand the Italian language and have absolutely zero clue about the controversy that ensued after its release. This is an Italian prog masterpiece for a reason and that reason is that it successfully balances the myriad elements that make a great prog album in a nearly flawless fashion. While similar to the other greats on the scene, MUSEO ROSENBACH stands out in its extremely focused concept laid out in a single vinyl side suite and a second side of separate tracks that continue the signatory prowess of one of the masters of Italian prog.

Known as the "Zarathustra Suite," side one on traditional vinyl releases is actually a series of five tracks, at least on modern CD releases. It is an exquisite delivery of the most traditional approaches of Italian prog all laid out into a series of ever-changing moods that coalesce into a greater musical universe. Dominated by the outstanding vocal abilities of Stefano "Lupo" Galifi, ZARATHUSTRA is enhanced by a perfect balance of pastoral acoustic segments alternating with heavier rock and completely fortified with the utmost progressive time signature chops, symphonic keyboard touches, Mellotron, Hammond organ, vibraphone and excellent guitar and bass rock workouts that allow a stellar instrumental interplay that without a beat knows exactly when to shift gears and exercise a completely new paradigm. The music overall is fairly dark and heavy on the heart even if you no speaka Italiano. Above all, it is melodic as to establish the proper hooks but it has no problem casting the proper deviating spells as to make this an angular prog workout.

As far as Italian classics go, i have to admit that i do not find ZARATHUSTRA my top dog in the genre as i prefer the more experimental realms of Semiramis, Area and even Osanna but as far as sheer perfection goes and consistency of holy progginess follows, i have to admit that MUSEO ROSENBACH cranked out a flawless specimen of Italian prog and it's absolutely no wonder that this album has only become increasingly revered as the decades rolled along. The album is as majestic and magnanimous as music can be declared and like so many albums of its era resides in the top ranks of a musical hierarchy that has rarely been matched. The top album in all of progressive rock? Hmmmm?. i'm not sure, at least not for yours truly but a masterpiece of progressive rock? Oh yeah! There is absolutely no doubt that this is one of the pinnacle achievements of the era and that it deserves all the praise graciously heaped upon it.

Despite being deemed as a one shot wonder, MUSEO ROSENBACH has been resurrected in the 21st century but not surprisingly has not even come close to this prog monstrosity in terms of qualitative delivery. This is simply one of those absolute essential prog albums to be heard before you die, whether the political stance suits your fancy or not. BTW, this album straddles an interesting dichotomy in its mutli-decade existence. The album was an utter failure upon released therefore only a limited supply of original vinyl was pressed, however it has also become one of the most popular albums to exist in the entire prog rock universe and has created a huge market for collectors of original material.

I literally just saw this a week ago at Amoeba Records in San Francisco, CA, USA. An original vinyl edition goes for a whopping 2000$USD!!!! When a rarity like this emerges, counterfeits naturally ensue. There have been a few attempts but the original has a matted texture is absent and unlikely to fool the sleuths of the collector's world. Personally i own the Japanese remastered CD on the Ricordi label which faithfully represents the entire album in a mini format. The gatefold is identical as is the matted texture of the packaging. It sounds excellent and is the next best thing to owning an over-priced original which probably doesn't even sound as good.

 Zarathustra by MUSEO ROSENBACH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.31 | 847 ratings

Museo Rosenbach Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by TenYearsAfter

5 stars 'The most glorious Mellotron eruption in progrock history!'

In the early 90s I got in touch with Spanish proghead Angel Romero, due to an increasing dust allergy he had to sell his very rare vinyl prog collection. I bought a bunch of Spanish prog and showed Angel his list to a fellow vinyl prog collector. He got very excited and asked me to order Zarathustra by Museo Rosenbach ASAP. Unfortunately it turned out that meanwhile two Japanese had bought his entire collection. My friend almost in tears, he had just missed the Holy Grail on vinyl. But I was put on the trail of this Classic Italian Prog gem: soon after I read the new Syn-Phonic catalogue, noticed euphoric words about Museo Rosenbach, bought the Contempo CD reissue and shared his euphoric words during my first listening session.

For me the epic titletrack is a perfect example why 'symphonic' rock became a sub-genre of progressive rock, all elements of the word 'symphony' have been put into this highly acclaimed composition: a running time of 20 minutes, five parts with contrasting shifting moods and a returning theme, melodic and harmonic interplay between several instruments, a build-up and a sumptuous grand finale. To me Museo Rosenbach sounds like a five- piece symphonic rock orchestra.

1. Zarathustra : The titletrack starts with soaring Mellotron flutes as the theme, then swelling drums and a sumptuous outburst featuring majestic Mellotron violins, welcome to the realm of Museo Rosenbach their epic masterpiece Zarathustra. From now on it's 20 minutes flowing shifting moods, from mellow to bombastic and from slow rhythms to accellarations and up-tempo beats, the theme is wonderfully blended in these different climates. And topped with great Italian vocals, with a wide range and loaded with emotion. The one moment dreamy with twanging electric guitar, a tender voice and soft Hammond. The other moment bombastic with propulsive guitar riffs and dynamic drums. In between a few accellarations that increase the huge tension between the mellow and bombastic parts.

The Mellotron is omnipresent, with the flute - and violin section, this unsurpassed vintage keyboard colours this composition in the best tradition of early King Crimson.

In the final part the build-up is breathtaking and one of the most compelling and exciting moments in progrock history, IMHO. First a fiery guitar with lush Hammond and floods of Mellotron violins, in combination with an outstanding, very dynamic rhythm-section. Then the music slows down with gradually more powerful drums and an awesome Mellotron violin sound. This culminates in a mindblowing grand finale featuring the theme in a bombastic eruption: howling electric guitar runs and glorious Mellotron violins, topped with excellent work from the rhythm-section, this is Symphonic Rock Heaven, a triple layer of goose bumps!

Next the three tracks (between 4 and 9 minutes) that complete this album: the climates are varied, again we can enjoy a tension between the mellow and bombastic parts, a dynamic rhythm-section, wonderful work on keyboards and strong Italian vocals.

2. Degli Uomini (4:01) : This song alternates between mellow with a soaring Mellotron violin sound and a mid-tempo rhythm with powerful guitar riffs and lush Hammond, the emotional Italian vocals add an extra dimension. Often early Genesis come to my mind.

3. Della Natura (8:24) : Excellent interplay between the powerful drums, lush Hammond and swinging piano. Halfway subtle work on the vibraphone and in the end a fiery electric guitar, the Italian vocals are wonderful.

4. Dell'Eterno Ritorno (6:15) : Lots of changing climates with a very tasteful and varied keyboard sound (Hammond, Mellotron, Minimoog). And finally a strong build up and wonderful grand finale featuring fat Minimoog flights, emotional vocals and lush Hammond, very compelling.

This album is one of the highlights in Classic Italian Prog, and the epic titletrack can compete with the epics from legendary Seventies Progrock bands, not to be missed by Mellotron loving symphomaniacs.

Pretty often PA change the amount of two social comments into zero, so it is really two, even one from a band member.

 Zarathustra by MUSEO ROSENBACH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.31 | 847 ratings

Museo Rosenbach Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars The perfect introduction for Rock Progressivo Italiano: 9/10

If you know a little about the progressive niche and its peculiarities - including subgenres - you might have a certain idea of what is RPI. Certainly, then, MUSEO's paradoxical debut will meet your expectations accordingly, mostly because they're an allegory of it. Explosive keyboards and organ sweeps, straightforward melodies, good exploitation of odd time signatures - y'now, those songs that even though are alternating measure, still feel fluid as 4/4; that is, while internally is complex, externally, sounds pleasant and not like technical showcase - and most importantly a superb and intense performance by the singer Stefano Galifi; all those elements are vividly present in ZARATHRUSTA. Their style is really reminiscent of BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO, for all fans out there.

One of prog rock's propositions is particularly perceptible throughout the album. The absurd influence from classical music (disclaimer: when I say "classical" I don't mean the characteristics of that musical period specifically but what us laypeople think of as 'classical', that is, anything from Baroque to Romantic) spices the performance.

I mentioned earlier this album is paradoxical. This happens because it suffered from vicious critical uproar for its polemical conceptuality (Nietzchean philosophy & Mussolini, two things that Italians deemed as fascist), met with misunderstanding at its release, but eventually, rightfully regarded as a towering masterpiece. But just like most artists' magnum opus, first, critics bash it, then, they love it.

 Barbarica by MUSEO ROSENBACH album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.55 | 82 ratings

Museo Rosenbach Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Since 1993 I've been blown away by Museo Rosenbach's classic Zarathustra, but upon first listen, I really loved the atmosphere but I knew it was a tough going, especially the production wasn't that great. In 2000 two original members Alberto Moreno and Giancarlo Golzi resurrected the Museo Rosenbach name and released Exit. I wished I bought that one when it came out, because although I don't own it, I've heard it, it's still very good, but unsurprisingly doesn't reach the heights of Zarathustra. In 2010 Il Tempio Della Clessidra (names after a movement of the Zarathustra suite) released their debut with none other the former Museo Rosenbach vocalist Stefano "Lupo" Galifi. That album received a lot of praise, and for good reason. But then Stefano jumped ship and rejoined Museo Rosenbach, which, for many fans, will lend more credibility. Still, the other two original members Enzo Merogno and Pit Corradi are still not present, so they brought in some new musicians, again. Alberto Moreno is credited to keyboards (although he was originally a bassist, as Pit Corradi was responsible for keyboards in the original lineup), but they also include a second keyboardist. In 2013 comes Barbarica. Well it's nice to see the original vocalist return, but like Exit, it's still very good, but doesn't quite reach the heights of Zarathustra. I am not too surprise. On the other hand the band isn't stuck in 1973, so the sound quality and production is quite modern without slipping into neo-prog territory. The keyboards are both digital and analog (sounds like a MiniMoog Voyager is being used). The Mellotron had pretty much disappeared, although there are some sampled tron flutes. The sounds is still unmistakably Museo Rosenbach, but more updated. The three original members are in their 60s so don't expect Giancarlo Golzi to drum like there's no tomorrow like on Zarathustra, so he more stays within what he's physically able to do. Stefano "Lupo" Galifi's voice has changed, but luckily doesn't sound shot like Black Moon-era Greg Lake or Frank Bornemann during the Visionary-era Eloy. The CD has its share of rocking passages, dramatic passages, as well as the occasional foray into world music. The cover to Barbarica is pretty cheesy, a cheesy rendition of an Egyptian sphinx face, but the rest of the artwork (like the booklet as well as the CD cover) is MUCH better. Comparing what Museo Rosenbach does now in 2013 would be like what Van der Graaf Generator has been doing since 2005 when they reunited and released Present (as well as three more releases as of this typing, in October 20, 2016). Don't compare new Museo Rosenbach with Zarathustra as much as you don't compare new VdGG with H to He Who Am the Only One or Pawn Hearts. Barbarica is Museo Rosenbach of 2013, not 1973. Also I love how the CD is just 40 minutes long, as I've griped elsewhere, since the 1990s there's been way too many 70+ minute releases by prog artists that just bore me to tears, because it's way too long and the music quality really slips as it progresses (it's like they're desperately scrapping the bottom of the barrel just to fill the CD). 40 minutes is just right, and demonstrates why double albums in the '70s were the exception, not the norm, and usually double albums appear once the artist has enough experience to do such, like when Genesis came up with the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway or the Who with Tommy (unless you happen to be The Mothers of Invention, Chicago or Warm Dust, who managed double album debuts, but they had enough good material to do such). In the end, Barbarica is very good, but never reaches the heights of Zarathustra. It grew on me enough to warrant four stars.
 Zarathustra by MUSEO ROSENBACH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.31 | 847 ratings

Museo Rosenbach Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ALotOfBottle
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

5 stars "I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses."

The above statement is one of the maxims of Friedrich Nietzsche's work published between 1883 and 1885, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Unorthodox, independent, critical, simply different, and much misunderstood, Nietzsche's hopes were for the work of his life to become somewhat of a guide for lost humanity. The philosopher, however, was met by great disappointment, dying in horrid suffering and depression.

Exactly 90 years after the first part of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, a group of young musicians from Italy, Museo Rosenbach, were getting ready to record what would later turn out to be one of the lost treasures of Italian progressive rock music. But first, let's have a look at the act's roots. "Museo Rosenbach was formed in Bordighera, a seaside town in the Liguria region, a few kilometers, from the French Côte d'Azur, in December 1971," recalls Alberto Moreno, the band's co-founder, bassist, and composer. Museo Rosenbach emerged from the fusion of the groups Quinta Strada and Il Sistema. In fact, Moreno and Co. inherited some material from the latter. However, the young musicians felt they were in need of a vocalist. The guitarist, Pierluigi "Pit" Corradi, suggested they recruit blues-influenced Stefano "Lupo" Galifi, whom he had met during his military service. The current trend in Italy was to name bands after buildings, so Moreno came up with an idea of a museum (Museo) fused with the last name of a German publisher, Ottoman Ernst Rosenbach, which he really liked the sound of. After many live performances around the country, the band was offered to record an album and entered the studio in February 1973.

Similarly to Nietzsche's book, Museo Rosenbach's debut album Zarathustra is a bold, uncompromising statement. Musically, it could be said to derive its inspiration from many of contemporary bands like Genesis, Uriah Heep, Van Der Graaf Generator, and Pink Floyd, from the United Kingdom, as well as their countrymen, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Le Orme, Osanna, and Premiata Forneria Marconi. However, make no mistake, Museo Rosenbach's music cannot be compared to anything else in the world of music. Taking the power and might of Strauss' and Wagner's classical compositions, Museo Rosenbach make their elements shake hands with the heavy, raw quality of rock music, finding several common characteristics somewhere along the line. The music on Zarathustra is as heavy as it is finesse and tasteful - full of crunchy, overdriven guitar sounds, deep, expressive Hammond organ tones, and mellow, cloudy Mellotron soundscapes alike. Furthermore and probably even more importantly, Rosenbach's debut, similarly to Nietzsche's original work, is rich in evocative images, in this case musical images. Numerous tensions and their releases, a wide plethora of constantly changing atmospheres and auras, emotional, soulful storytelling - all these elements predominate on Zarathustra.

Side one of the album is fully occupied by a multimovement suite "Zarathustra", consisting of five parts. "We decided to build a suite that recounted Zarathustra's descent from the mountain after a period of meditation and his encounters with certain characters, who represent different schools of thought that the prophet criticizes," Confesses Moreno. He also remembers composing the piece in fragments - writing for a piano and then transcribing the piece for the whole band. The first movement, "L'Ultimo Uomo" opens in a gentle, yet confident manner. This part somewhat resembles the very first notes of Richard Strauss' piece Also Sprach Zarathustra, which the band admitted to, allegedly even opening their concerts with a portion of that composition. Then, the listener is suddenly approached by a more self-assured motif, creating an effect similar to a rising curtain. A silent part with Walter Franco's vocals follows, accompanied by echo and reverb, representing Zarathustra's descent from the mountain cave. After several repetitions, which are less gloomy, yet still very delicate, the majestic, heavy main theme of the movement kicks in with an interplay of Hammond organ, Mellotron, and guitar accompanied by a very heavy-hitting rhythm section. Only a few minutes in, the listener is already successfully invited to take part in the unique journey Museo Rosenbach are taking them on. The next movement, "Il Re Di Ieri", dominated by organ and piano, both drenched in reverb, alters the atmosphere, making it a bit unsettled. When the listener becomes slowly familiarized with the part, comes a short solo, utilizing a crispy Moog synthesizer timbre. Next come vocals from Giancarlo Golzi. All of the sudden, the rhythm section accompanied by a distorted guitar joins the spectacle, leading to "Al Di La Del Bene E Del Male." This one takes no time to hesitate, since the very first notes, the character is heavy and rather aggressive. The movement features the whole band singing to illustrate the mass of the priests who denounce Zarathustra and his teachings. The following "Superuomo", pictures Zarathustra experiencing a moment of weakness, as Moreno explains. The mood here is rather melancholic and halting, before going through numerous dynamically contrasted, diverse passages, representing Zarathustra reclaiming his power. The closing movement, "Il Tempio Delle Clessidre", opens with a haunting, celestial Mellotron, recalling Genesis' "Watcher of the Skies", until the main theme from "L'Ultimo Uomo" returns in its full glory, featuring a very emotional guitar solo in between the layers of organ, strings, bass, and rapid drums. This longer moment, very powerful and majestic, is the moment capable of bringing tears to one's eyes. The theme slowly descends towards silence.

Although the epic resonance of the title suite might seem hard to top, side two stands very strong, somewhat complimenting "Zarathustra." "Degli Uomini" opens with a high pitched Mellotron melody, which is quickly joined by the huge-sounding guitar and rhythm section. Going through dynamically contrasted sections, some based on the same melody put in different musical contexts, the track proves to be no worse than the overwhelming epic from side one in terms of composition and performance. "Della Natura" exposes its sophistication in the very first bars with a twisted organ melody. It is followed by a quieter vocal part, bringing Le Orme's most romantic moments to mind. It comes back after a brief instrumental interlude. The tension built is resolved in quite an opposite, baffling direction with a funky electric piano line. This leads to the loud chorus, which features very eccentric vocal parts. At one point, the atmosphere mellows out, repeating the Le Orme-like moment, which leads to a solo of interplaying Hammond organ, a Moog synthesizer, and screaming guitar. The closing track, "Dell'Eterno Ritorno" opens with a moment of abrupt heaviness, which quickly hides behind the constantly-developing passages, which, in my mind, really highlight every strength of the band - excellent compositional skill, a tremendous amount of instrumental know-how, and the ability to forge beautiful, striking instrument sounds. The track seems to finally settle in parts, but it's rather deceiving. After a few echoes of the previous motifs, the album closes with a symbolic Mellotron line.

It's worth remarking that the album caused a lot of controversy when it first appeared on the market. Not entirely due to being a tribute to Friedrich Nietzsche and his controversial work Thus Spoke Zarathustra, but rather to its artwork. It features a collage portraying a strange face, as Moreno indicates, that of Zarathustra, using images of jail bars, a countryside landscape, ancient buildings, and... a face of Benito Mussolini, a Nazi dictator from the period of World War II. Museo Rosenbach were accused of fascism, which in conjunction with poor marketing of the release and sheer bad luck (political protests at one of their biggest concerts, in Naples, unrelated to the band) led to the breakup of the band.

Zarathustra, Museo Rosenbach's only opus before their reformation in the 90's, is, in my opinion, one of the best, most creative, original, accomplished records to come out of Italy. Although stylistically, it is closer to rock music, I believe this to encourage many of the qualities of classical music of the highest order. Zarathustra is an astonishingly addictive journey and something to be experienced. Words cannot truly reflect the nature of this music. A jewel of progressive rock music!

 Zarathustra by MUSEO ROSENBACH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.31 | 847 ratings

Museo Rosenbach Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by arschiparschi

5 stars Even though there are already so many reviews on this album, I still felt the need to add another praising one. This album quite clearly for me stands as one of the finest bits not only of Italian Progressive Rock but of Prog in general. The music is at times subtle (e.g. in Il Re De ieri or L'ultimo uomo) and at times rumbling (e.g. in Della Natura) in an alltogether very harmonious mix. the music is nver predictable or boring and yet quite accessible, which is not easy to achieve over the course of an entire album. But there is not one point on the album where it becomes borng, redundant or uninteresting. Instead, the album beautifully progresses and shifts easily from gloomy to more melodic moods, such as in Il Re De Ieri. It is an album to listen to closely, preferably in one bit.

The musicianship is top-notch and Galifi's vocals are very passionate and powerful, yet at times also subtle as in Superuomo. The production is good though of course the drums sound a bit flat by today's standard (here it is indeed interesting to compare the more aggressive but very clear drum sound of the rerecording from 2012). But Pit Corradi's keyboard and organ sound is absolutely fabulous and really adds a great quality to the overall sound.

The lyrics are very interesting and at times quite complicated. Surely, however, they were not fascist or right-wing oriented (as the band also makes clear in the booklet of their rerecording). In fact, Nietzsche himself strongly opposed nationalist and xenophobic tendencies, which should make it clear that the concept of the Superhuman is not meant to be the fascist idea it was unfortunately later made to be. And I believe that this album's lyrics are not meant to represent this either. They are devoted to the philosophy and in my opinion add to the quality of this album as they are very thoughtful (a good translation can be found on

It is a shame that Museo Rosenbach did not produce more material in the 70s as composer Moreno seems to have been in a very inspired phase when he wrote this album: there are simply no musical flaws I could point to. But then, maybe it is the singularity of this album that adds even more to the name of Museo Rosenbach. Do yourself a favour and get this album, which is luckily now widely available in various formats (CD, LP and digital).

 Barbarica by MUSEO ROSENBACH album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.55 | 82 ratings

Museo Rosenbach Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars MUSEO ROSENBACH hasn't exactly been the most prolific band in the World when it comes to creating music. They released their classic "Zarathustra" back in 1973 and that was followed up by "Exit" released in 2000 then this record "Barbarica" released in 2013. There certainly is a lot to like with their most recent album but there's also some rather unconvincing sections in my opinion.

"Il Respiro Del Pianeta" is the almost 14 minute epic and it opens the proceedings in style. It opens with an almost dirge-like atmosphere before the vocals arrive after a minute. The vocals stop and the music picks up with some nice guitar. A powerful soundscape follows before it settles in sounding very Italian with that accordion. The vocals are back as this song continues to shift. Organ and heavy guitar come in after 5 1/2 minutes but again the song continues to change in tempo and mood. "La Coda Del Diavolo" is melancholic with laid back vocals and the violin really adds to the sadness. It kicks in hard after 3 minutes. Drums to the fore as we get this driving rhythm and the organ joins in as well. I'm not a fan of this driving section and the passionate vocals.

"Abbandonati" features tribal-like drumming and flute early on then multi- vocals come in that I don't like. Some heavy guitar comes and goes then it settles around 2 minutes with vocals. Nice bass 3 1/2 minutes in and the heaviness will come and go. "Fiore Di Vendetta" opens with synths before we get some metalish guitar with organ. It calms right down and flute joins in. Reserved vocals after 2 minutes then it turns more powerful 3 1/2 minutes in before calming down once again. It's heavy before 5 minutes and the vocals return as well. "Il Re Del Circo" ends the album and it opens with flute and gentle guitar. It becomes heavier before a minute but it settles back again quickly with relaxed vocals but they do get passionate at times. Some nice drum work and I also like the organ here. Aggressive guitar joins in as well as it picks up with vocals. Not a fan of the fast paced vocals and sound though. Drums and synths standout late.

Clearly this album is but a shadow of their classic recording "Zarathustra" but there's lots to like here too. I wish the mellotron was more prominent and that the modern vibe was toned down. 3 stars.

 Barbarica by MUSEO ROSENBACH album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.55 | 82 ratings

Museo Rosenbach Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A band with no small reputation that has certainly managed to spread their albums out over the years (3 in 40 years, to be exact), Museo Rosenbach is hardly a small name when it comes to the classic RPI scene, and 2013 sees the release of Barbarica. No matter how you spin it, when you have a record in your catalogue of the caliber of 1973′s Zarathustra, the expectations are high, and in this case I would say that Museo Rosenbach was a bit short in reaching them, releasing an album that in my opinion had its ups and downs. On the upside there are some great vocal lines, such as the ominous vocal presence in "Il respiro del pianeta," and the powerful melodies of "Fiori di vendetta." Instrumentally speaking, there were some grand moments, such as the fabulous keyboard solo and epic climax of "Abandonati." On the other hand, there were segments of songs and transitions that felt a bit disjointed, such as when the electric instruments come in on "La coda del diavolo," leaving the impression of riff cutting and pasting. Regardless, Barbarica is a decent album and fans of the band will no doubt be happy to have another release from this great band. And besides, I'm thrilled to see them live next year at Baja Prog, where I'm sure they'll full on deliver the goods.
 Zarathustra by MUSEO ROSENBACH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.31 | 847 ratings

Museo Rosenbach Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mr. Mustard

5 stars While not their only album, Museo Rosenbach's Zarathustra is by far their best, and certainly one of, if not the best RPI offering. The album takes the best of the Italian genre and mushes it into what could only be described as a flawless album from beginning to end. The energy and intensity is at an undeniable high, but is balanced by more atmospheric and melodic moments to give this a very diverse feel.

As mentioned, the basic style of this album is rooted in the intensity of Banco, the melody of PFM, and the prevalent keyboard work of Le Orme. The admirable thing then perhaps is their ability to sound completely unique despite carrying this combination.

Musically, the album is filled to the brim with energy and intensity. Ideas are mostly upbeat and flow from one to the next in rapid succession. Despite this, there is no shortage of theme development, leaving the listener engaged, yet allowing the album to become cohesive. This is something I believe only a few bands achieve, and is probably the strongest point of the album.

It is a bit harder to talk on a song to song basis, as each song offers something unique to the album such that a single one doesn't truly stand out. It is for this reason why I believe this is one of the more consistent listens from beginning to end. However, I believe one would need only listen to the beautiful main theme in 'Il tempio delle clessidre' or the crushing opening riff and organ work of 'Degli Uomini' to have a good understanding of the album.

This is without a doubt a masterpiece. Exciting, engaging, creative; the vocals are superb and the production leaves plenty of breathing room. This is as flawless an album as I can think of.


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

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