Wednesday, November 13, 2013

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Review: Premiata Forneria Marconi - In Classic - Da Mozart A Celebration (2013)

Artist: Premiata Forneria Marconi
Album: In Classic - Da Mozart A Celebration
Year: 2013
Label: Immaginifica/Aereostella

Review: Diego Camargo

Rate: 

Thoughts: It’s kinda hard to be into Progressive Rock and not be aware of Premiata Forneria Marconi. This classic Italian band was formed more than 40 years ago and it is still running the long run!

Their new project, In Classic – Da Mozart A Celebration (2013) is a very special one, to the fans and to the band.
The double album released by Immaginifica takes PFM to the Classical world!
On the 2 discs of In Classic – Da Mozart A Celebration (2013) we have the band celebrating great classic composers such as Mozart, Dvorak, Prokofiev and Verdi with a full orchestra. Not just that, on the second disc they take their own music and give them the full orchestral treatment too.

PFM’s line up is nowadays compressed of the trio of original members Franz Di Cioccio (vocals, drums and percussion), Patrick Djivas (bass) and Franco Mussida (vocals and guitars). But on this big project they also had Lucio Fabbri (violin and keyboards), Roberto Gualdi (drums and percussion) and Alessandro Scaglione (keyboards) to complement the sound. And of course, the Symphonic Orchestra directed by Bruno Santori.

On the disc 1 we have Classical compositions re-arranged for the band and orchestra. The nice thing here is to see a different repertoire. Rock albums with orchestras have been done thousands of times and when they play Classical music is all the same tunes, but not on PFM’s case. 7 pieces, 7 really different choices.
The opening ‘In Flauto Magico’ by Mozart is maybe the most recognizable one. We also have ‘Danza Macabra’ by Saint-Saëns, ‘Danza Slava No1’  by Dvorak, ‘Sinfonia No5’ by Mahler, ‘Romeo And Giulietta’ by Prokofiev (maybe another recognizable one), ‘La Grande Pasqua Russa’ by Rimskij Korsakov and ‘Nabucco’ by Verdi.

The result on disc 1 is somewhat really different. You can obviously hear the orchestra, but the band is not just playing over them. No! Sometimes it is the perfect mix of the band and orchestra and it is even hard to say that those are Classical pieces, like on ‘La Grande Pasqua Russa’ for instance. A special mention has to be given to the beautiful version of ‘Sinfonia No5’.
Though disc 1 is absolutely brilliant, I must say that I was really eager to hear the disc 2 with the PFM material!


In fact there are only 5 PFM songs: ‘La Nuova Nuova’ from the album L’Isola Di Niente (1974), ‘Promenade The Puzzle’ from Photos Of Ghosts (1973), ‘Dove… Quando’ and ‘Impressioni Di Settembre’ from Storia Di Un Minuto (1972), and an unexpected ‘Maestro Della Voce’ from Suonare Suonare (1980). They also venture themselves into a kind of patchwork that they called ‘Suite Italiana’ where they mix Mendelssohn, Rossini and themselves.
Just by looking at this tracklist I can say that I would like to have more tracks by the band. Having only 5 seems little in a first glance. But that’s not completely the case!

The perfect match of rock/orchestra in ‘La Luna Nuova’ took my mind off any extra thing besides the music.
I would honestly drop ‘Promenade The Puzzle’ for another song, not that the version is bad, on the contrary, but I think there are far more stronger tracks in their catalogue.

While ‘Maestro Della Voce’ is a track with a Jazz Rock/cabaret feeling, ‘Impressioni Di Settembre’ is another perfect track.
‘Suite Italiana’ is a delight, and ‘Celebration’ (the English name for the original song ‘È Festra’) was the right choice for this mix.
We still have one bonus track ‘Guglielmo Tell’ from Rossini’s repertoire to complete the CD.

In Classic – Da Mozart A Celebration (2013) comes lavishly packed in a fabulous digipack with a great artwork and a clever cover.

It is indeed amazing to finally listen to Premiata Forneria Marconi playing with a full orchestra, their music has always been Classical influenced anyway, so nothing more rewarding for fans and the band.
This would be a 5 stars album if not by the fact that I would like to have more tracks from the band’s catalogue instead of the Classical adaptations. Maybe some other time…

Fans of the band and fans of good music, come together and listen to In Classic – Da Mozart A Celebration (2013), you should!

The band was included in our Podcast Special #1 HERE, on the Podcast #19 HERE and on the #28 HERE.

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