"Essere O Non Essere?" (To Be Or Not To Be?) is the second fantastic release from Italy's Il Volo. In the same spirit as their debut album, "Essere…" delivers intricate instrumentation with the highest calibre musicians. "Essere…" is a little quieter that their first album and offers some scrumptious acoustic guitar / symphonic keyboard interplay. Il Volo blend elements of PFM and Le Orme with the magic of Banco creating some very addictive songs. What makes this album such magic is the carefully tinted delicate guitar/bass/drum interplay in combination with heavy symphonic analog keyboards. Il Volo is appeal to all fans of Italian prog rock and is a real classic deserving a place in your collection.
Usually described as a "supergroup", Il Volo was a studio band formed by very popular musicians all coming from famous bands: Alberto Radius and Gabriele Lorenzi from Formula Tre, Mario Lavezzi from Flora Fauna Cemento and Camaleonti, Bob Callero from Osage Tribe and Duello Madre, Gianni Dall'Aglio from RIBELLI, along with composer Vince Tempera who also had his own band Pleasure Machine. With such a pedigree it's obvious that both albums are very well played, and enjoyable but not memorable, lacking originality. An obvious similarity with Formula Tre is evident, along with a certain jazz-rock feel present throughout both albums, whose only distinctive element is the voice, missing on "Essere O Non Essere?" The group disbanded soon after the second release.
''Il Gabbiano Jonathan'' is the title of the Italian translation of Richard Bach’s 1970 novel ''Jonathan Livingston the Seagull''. Rodolfo Maltese, the guitarist of Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, recorded this concept album in 1987, prior to forming Indaco. Rodolfo’s band on this CD includes a keyboardist, bassist, percussionist, sax player and, on drums, Walter Martino (Ritratto di Dorian Gray, Reale Accademia di Musica, Goblin). Guests include keyboardist Vittorio Nocenzi (Banco), singer Riccado Cocciante and others.
However, the album was not released until this 2009 CD. As the label says, Il Gabbiano Jonathan is a wonderful record, mainly instrumental and focused on Rodolfo’s great guitar playing. You can find the first ethnic Mediterranean sounds that became typical for Indaco, some laidback and high-class Italian jazz-rock, and some more epic and guitar-solo focused tracks. It is an important missing link between Banco and Indaco.
Denys Darlow conducts a fresh stylish performance with his London Handel Festival forces, recorded live at the Royal College of Music. Textures are clean and rhythms light and resilient, with James Bowman in the title-role leading a consistently reliable team. (Penguin Guide)
Alan Curtis continues his exemplary series of Handel operas for Archiv with Ezio, a 1732 work that has received few modern productions. Its initial limited success and failure to generate much interest until the late twentieth century may have to do with its length (over three hours), its preponderance of recitatives, and the composer's reluctance to use the voices together in ensembles, so that the entire opera, until the final chorus, consists of solo singing. Handel's gift for astute psychological insight and distinctive musical characterization is evident throughout the score, and the recitatives, which are necessary for explicating Metastasio's convoluted plot, are not a problem when they are performed with as much vivid dramatic realism as they are here.
Rewritten with enhanced regal bravado for the coronation of George II, Handel's 1727 opera of Richard the Lionheart is a rarely heard but rewarding enterprise. Goodwin conducts a fervent Basel Chamber Orchestra in this new scholarly version, fully exploiting the dramatic twists of the King's quest to reclaim his abducted fiancée, Constanza. Amid much nice character-building from the decent cast, Nuria Rial enjoys Constanza's luxuriant lines, while Lawrence Zazzo revels as the Lionheart. Riccardo's Act III revenge aria is truly ominous, furiously driven by Goodwin and some innovative brass writing. (The Times)