July 29, 2017

OPUS AVANTRA: OMEGA - Lyrics [1992] Ritagli D'Anima [1988], Ballet Collection [1994], Live Concerts Excerpts [inedit] (2003, 4CD BOX-SET, ITALY)

Opus Avantra were one of a kind in the Italian musical panorama; their unique sound joined elements of avant-garde with classical music (Avan tra = Avant-garde + Tradition). Pianist Alfredo Tisocco alternated between concerts and his own compositions and artistic direction of the ensemble Opus Avantra, with whom he recorded 5 critically acclaimed albums that won them international renown (particularly in Japan). On his own, Tisocco recorded 12 LPs, each of considerable significance. This collectors box set includes two of Tisocco's solo efforts (Ritagli d'anima and Ballet Collection), along with two as Opus Avantra, "Lyrics" and the previously unreleased "Live Concert Excerpts", which features the ensemble in concert at various dates from 1978-1990. Extensive liner notes complete the box, along with previously unreleased photos of the musicians.

Opus Avantra - Lyrics (1992)
1. Viaggio Immaginario
Parte I (2:39)
Parte II (2:08)
Parte III (4:24)
2. Mysterious Japanese Suite
Parte I (5:30)
Parte II (2:39)
Parte III (2:35)
Parte IV (5:08)
3. Ballata (2:57)
4. Lirica Metafisica (5:21)
5. Danza Africana (4:39)
6. Meditazione (4:55)

Only their fourth release in 22 years, yet it is surprising to see how this band has stuck to their guns, combining classical, folk, and avant-garde elements, and not given into the temptation to conform and commercialize. That doesn't mean they haven't mellowed with age. In fact for anyone who might have been put off by vocalist Donella del Monaco on the early albums Introspezzioneand Lord Cromwell, this may be a good point to give them another try. Many of the old names are still here: bandleader and keyboardist Alfredo Tisocco, and violinists Piergidio Spiller and Enrico Professione have been members from day one, while cellist Alberto Brendolin, oboist Angelo Lora and percussionist Saverio Tasca survive from the last recorded incarnation in the late 80s. As usual, one can expect absolutely anything: "Ballata" is a folk tune with the unique avant-twist, while "Lirica Metafisica" is a more subtle neo-classical abstraction for string section. The three-part opener "Viaggio Immaginario" has somewhat of a 'bolero' feel with Del Monaco's voice and Lora's oboe floating over the rhythmic structures set up between the string section and percussion. And of course there had to be at least one noisy and bizzare vocal piece – "Danza Arcana" is a sure bet to clear your next party, but perhaps the album's most interesting piece is the four-part "Misterious Japanese Suite," driven by Tisocco's Synclavier experimentation. In all, this is another fine offering from this sadly overlooked ensemble.
The other releases included on this Box-Set are the three Alfredo Tisocco works. His solo career apart from Opus Avantra, began in 1975 with the release of K├ítharsis (available on Opus Magnum Box-set), a lengthy piece for modern dance, generally more in the avant-garde realm than the work he has done with Opus Avantra, although certain connections between them are obvious. There is more use of electronics and synths, but not to the exclusion of other instruments, which are played by Tisocco and various other musicians – many borrowed from the then-current lineup of Opus Avantra: flutes, string-harp, violin, cello, saxes, guitar, and several vocalists, along with some recitation. As one might expect, keyboards – and especially piano – dominate many of the pieces. The music covers a lot of ground, there is probably something here for everyone, even some 'rock,' yet like the early Opus Avantra albums, the better part of this is fairly challenging and may appeal only to the open minded. Regrettably, the CD reissue was mastered from a vinyl source, with some light clicks and pops occasionally surfacing in the quieter passages.
Two more recent albums have been released, Ritagli d'Anima (originally Artis ARCD 001) from 1989, and most recently Ballet Collection (Artis ARCD 022), the latter which consists of thirteen pieces of music written for various modern ballet works throughout the late 70s and early 80s, including many for the choreographer Franco dalla Libera. Here, the instrumentation is more basic, utilizing piano, flute, synths, and the occasional saxes, violins and guitar. Several of the pieces are purely electronic. Again, these showcase a more serious and purposeful side of Tisocco's output, often stark and very avant-garde.

Alfredo Tisocco Ritagli D'anima (1988)
1. Femminili creature (1:45)
2. Ritagli d'anima (2:11)
3. Giorni come sbarre (3 04)
4. Fuga dal carnevale (1:50)
5. Nella nostra stanza (2:37)
6. Incontro (5:56)
7. Altro da me (2:48)
8 Un paese in Calabria (2:53)
9. Ritagli d’anima (4:32) 2a Parte
10. Occasioni di Settembre (9:15)
11. Studio № 1 (10:18)
12. Studio № 2 (3:50)
13. Studio № 3 (6:44)

Alfredo Tisocco Ballet Collection (1994)
1. L’aurora (3:26)
2. Coincidenze (2:44)
3. Danza delle frequenze (2:45)
4. La caduta…del tempo (12.24)
5. Labirinti (5:33)
6. Plastico elettronico (10:46)
7. Tics percussion (11:32)
8. Rock alfa (4:26)
9. Tics (5:23)
10. Tics percussion II (1:23)
11 Giocando Duchamp Vinci Leonardo (5:19)
12. Toccata 3a finale (5:58)
13. Sogno inglese (4:13)

Opus Avantra - Live Concerts Excerpts (2003)
Fiuggi, 12 Luglio 1989:
1. Canto alia notte (3:48)
2. Danza degli oggetti liberati (3:14)
3. Vertigine (4:26)
4. Canto prima dell'alba (3:04)
3. Canto a un Dio nascosto (3:34)
Venezia, 16 Dicembre 1989 (Scuola Grande S. Giovanni Evangelista):
6. Presentazione di Alfredo Tisocco, Donella Del Monaco
e Opus Avantra da parte di Carlo Massarini (0:42)
7. Femminili creature (da Ritagli d’anima) suite per pianoforte (1:24)
8. Canto incompiuto (4:l4)
9. Tics (3:46)
Verona, 2 Febbraio 1991 (Arena):
10. A Duchamp (5:08)
Thiene - Vicenza, 3 Giugno 1977 (Teatro Communale):
11. Fase dello specchio (2:52)
12. Ritmo Alfa (0:58)
13. Venezia nella Nebbia (4:18)
14. Finale (3:30)
Milano - Cologno Monzese, 28 Marzo 1990 Festival New Age E Altri Suoni (Teatro S. Marco):
15. Ritagli d’Anima - Suite Per Pianoforte (10:18)

1 comment:

centraldoprog said...

Opus Avantra: Lyrics

Alfredo Tisocco: Ritagli D'Anima

Alfredo Tisocco: Ballet Collection

Opus Avantra: Live Concerts Excerpts