New Trolls were one of the leading Italian bands at the end of the sixties onwards the seventies. In 1971, they recorded Concerto Grosso No. 1, an album which is still recognized as one of the most important Italian rock albums ever. With this album they chose a new musical direction. At the time it was the first effort in Italy to fuse rock with classical music. In 1976 they recorded Concerto Grosso No. 2 and compared to No.1 this album was far more eclectic with only a few influences of classical music. Many considered No.2 to be less good than No.1. Now almost forty years later the band recorded the final part of the Concerto Grosso trilogy called - as could be expected − Concerto Grosso No. 3.
Nowadays the band is called La Leggenda New Trolls. Four of the original members are still in the line-up, namely Gianni Beleno (drums, vocals), Giorgio D'Adamo (bass), Vittorio De Scalzi (piano, flute, keyboards, computer programming, vocals) and Nico Di Palo (keyboards, vocals, guitar). They are assisted by Andrea Maddalone (guitars, vocals) and Francesco Bellia (vocals). Together with the Orchestra Del Teatro Carlo Felice directed by Luis Bacalov they recorded almost one hour of music spread over thirteen tracks. Right from the start it's clear that they wanted to have a strong and entertaining ending of the trilogy.
The instrumental opening piece is very bombastic and kept me on the edge of my seat. As soon as the vocalists start to sing, I realized how lucky this band is to have such great singers on board who sing the English lyrics without any accent! Throughout the album it becomes clear that the combination of a rock band and an orchestra works out fine. You may compare it to a good marriage where there's no room for quarrelling. Right from the beginning everything falls in place. The orchestra perfectly performs its parts next to the prog rock parts of the band. This way no barriers are built for those who only enjoy classical music or prog rock. Sometimes the orchestra takes the lead; at other times a band member plays a solo and all very tastefully done! The instrumental parts on Concerto Grosso No. 3 can easily be compared to Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM), the vocal parts by The Moody Blues, the flute parts by Jethro Tull, the electric guitar parts by Pink Floyd and the classical parts by Rondo Veneziano.
Apart from the strong mixture of classical music and progressive rock also influences from Italian folk music can be heard every now and then. This makes sure that there's enough variety on this album. The compositions written for this third part of the trilogy are all worth listening to, so I can't mention any favourites or highlights. However, there's one track I have to mention, namely Per Freddie, which is a homage to the late singer and composer Freddie Mercury (Queen). This song contains all the characteristics of Queen in their heydays: strong piano playing, fabulous guitar parts and above all terrific vocal parts.
People who enjoy a fine mixture of classical music and progressive rock are highly recommended to check out Concerto Grosso No. 3. It truly is an amazing album that perfectly blends two different worlds of musical styles!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?