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Höstsonaten — Winterthrough
(AMS AMS133CD, 2008, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2009-07-01

Winterthrough Cover artI guess sometimes you just shouldn’t question the decisions of an artist. When Fabio Zuffanti decides to record a cycle of four symphonic progressive albums based on the seasons, you shouldn’t ask why the first one (2002’s Springsong) is called Part IV, and this, the second one, is Part III. Whatever – he could number them with a reverse Fibonacci sequence and it wouldn’t change what you hear, which is solidly in the definition of symphonic prog. So I suppose if you’re turned off by that label, this is not for you, but it is done here about as well as it can possibly be done. Keyboards are the main focus, with piano and Mellotron getting the biggest share of the attention. The opening track gets you into the chilly mood gradually, slowly building over its 10 minutes, adding instrumental layers. Zuffanti is a skilled enough composer that he does not accomplish this in a direct fashion, but offers numerous twists and variations, altering instrumentation or rhythmic patterns to keep it interesting. Flute, clarinet and saxes add a welcome tonal variety; and guitars, both electric and acoustic, get their share as well. The only vocals are a few brief spoken passages in Italian. Maybe it doesn’t score high on the originality scale, but in terms of quality of both composition and performance I can find little to fault it with. It’s an outstanding addition to its genre and a compelling piece of work in the world of music outside stylistic boundaries.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 37, 2008 releases

Related artist(s): Höstsonaten

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