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Contrappunto Project - 2004 - "Elegie d'Inverno"
(47 min, Mellow)

TRACK LIST:                             

1.  Oltre la Luce 4:20
2.  Profondita Ossessive 9:11
3.  Attraverso la Luce 2:39
4.  Vivaci Acrobazie 6:21
5.  Luci Chiaroscurate 1:55
6.  La Nebbia 14:27
7.  Laggiu Lontano Luce 2:45
8.  Nevermind 5:35

All tracks: by Cavallo.
Produced by Cavallo.
Engineered by F. Argiolas.


Andrea Cavallo - keyboards & piano; vibes; cello
Antonio - flute & sax
Isabella - clarinets
Alessandro - horns
Daniele - trombones

Prolusion. CONTRAPPUNTO is one of the bands forming the nucleus of Italy's contemporary Progressive Rock movement. "Elegie d'Inverno" is their third album, but I am not quite certain why the band's main man, Andrea Cavallo, released it under the moniker of Contrappunto PROJECT, as it was he who penned all the music for both of their previous outings: "Subsidea" and "Lilith".

Analysis. Well, in most cases this music is dramatic rather than romantic in character, but there is nothing dark about it. So it's clear that Andrea's conception of infernal elegy wasn't the result of some real experience:-) It also needs to be mentioned straight away that the music does not contain any Rock-related components. Apart from a couple of synthesizers, all the other instruments used are chamber: the classic acoustic piano "Petrof", flute, clarinet, vibraphone, xylophone, marimba, trombone, horn, and violoncello. The parts of each of them, the brass included, were played from a score, and any improvisations are impossible in this case. Certainly, the album consists of instrumental compositions. The first track, Oltre la Luce, presents the ever-changing interplay between passages of synthesizer and piano and solos of flute and clarinet done by the canons of Classical academic music. This description would be acceptable for the entire thing if only there weren't some particularities, without describing which the picture wouldn't be complete. Both of the longest tracks: Profondita Ossessive and La Nebbia, and also Vivaci Acrobazie, feature all the musicians involved, using the most complete set of instruments on the album. The compositional conception that Andrea put in these works strikes me by its grandiosity and uniqueness. Quite frankly, I haven't heard anything like this before, and only a couple of episodes with anthem-like themes on the former piece arouse distant associations with Gustav Holst and, to a less degree, classic ELP. So here I hear a serious Classical music with some avant-garde tendencies, which, though, doesn't concern Avant-garde academic music as such. Despite its brevity and the absence of cello, trombone and horn, Attraverso la Luce is of the same story as the described compositions, at least overall. The remaining three tracks are somewhat Andrea's benefit performance; at least, they feature only him. A 'child' of modern synthesizers, the short Laggiu Lontano Luce is a spacey symphonic music, while Luci Chiaroscurate and Nevermind can hardly be defined any other way but as little concertos of Classical music for piano. Following the romantic traditions of the genre, the last track is exclusively light in mood, which differs from the other compositions whose emotional specter is usually wide and rich in different colors and shades.

Conclusion. I believe it's clear from the review that I perceive Contappunto's "Elegie d'Inverno" as a brilliant album. If you like any kind of progressive music (not only Prog Rock, I mean), you might come to the same conclusion. This is one of the very best releases of Mellow Records in this year and is a certain candidate to my final Top-20 albums of 2004.

VM: December 16, 2004

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