Le Orme

Piccola Rapsodia Dell'ape

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Looking at Le Orme's late-‘70s output, there is a logical progression leading from Verità Nascoste (1977) to Piccola Rapsodia dell'Ape (1980). Verità Nascoste integrated the rock lessons learned (and ill-realized) on Smogmagica to Le Orme's own sound; Storia o Leggenda took a more acoustic/Italian song approach to said sound; Florian pushed things further into acoustic/neo-classical territory; finally, Piccola Rapsodia dell'Ape retained part of the pastoral elements from Florian and reapplied them to the acoustic progressive rock approach defined on Storia o Leggenda. Piccola closes the third era in the band's life (the first one being the pre-Collage years, In Concerto concluding the second chapter). It is not their strongest proposition, but it remains true to Le Orme's latter-day sound, at a time when bands like Genesis, Gentle Giant, and Jethro Tull (not to mention other Italian greats like PFM and Banco) were undergoing severe transformation and sound/audience reorientation. Piccola is a quiet album -- not as quiet as Florian though, but the instrumentation is the same. You get to hear more charango than drums, more acoustic guitars than piano, and no electric keyboards at all. The songwriting veers toward the Italian ballad, for songs ("Buona Notte," "Fiori di Luce," "La Mia Sposa Bianca") that, though pretty, fail to match the moving quality of the best moments on the previous two albums. The title track carries a strong progressive rock charge, and "Il Treno" and "Raccogli le Nuvole" are finely crafted songs. But the album is very light overall and sounds somewhat uncommitted. It is not bad per se and, if you are partial to the Italian ballad current that ran through ‘70s Italian progressive rock, you should enjoy it to an extent. Finally, it may not be prime Le Orme, but it sounds timeless, bearing none of the production traits that have become so closely associated with the early ‘80s.

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