In 1971 I New Trolls met composer Luis Enriquez Bacalov and producer Sergio Bardotti for the soundtrack of the film “La vittima designata” directed by Maurizio Lucidi starring Tomas Milian. The plot was set between Milan and Venice and featured the scene of a murder in Venice... So the idea of a soundtrack inspired by Vivaldi and featuring the strength of a rock band interacting with an orchestra seemed a good idea for the musical comment of the scenes on the screen. Then, from cinema to vinyl was a short step. I New Trolls line-up features here Vittorio De Scalzi (guitar, keyboards, electric piano, flute, vocals), Nico Di Palo (guitar, vocals), Giorgio D’Adamo (bass), Gianni Belleno (drums, vocals) and Maurizio Salvi (keyboards, organ) while the orchestra was directed by Maestro Bacalov himself. This album is usually regarded as a masterpiece of Italian progressive-rock and it’s historically important because it was the first experiment of this kind in Italy, moreover it was quite successful and it opened the way for other works in the same style.
|Mew Trolls 1971|
On the first side the band interact with the orchestra blending prog-rock influences (for instance the flute in “Jethro Tull style” and the distorted guitar) and classical music passages with balance and good taste. The first movement is the lively instrumental “Allegro”. In the second movement, the slow, passionate “Adagio”, well balanced vocals soar in an evocative way. “Wishing you to be so near to me... Waiting for the sun to shine again / Finding that it’s gone too far away / To die, to sleep, maybe to dream...”. The short lyrics were inspired by the poetry of Shakespeare... To die, to sleep; To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub; or in that sleep of death what dreams may come (Hamlet, Act III - scene I). The third movement, “Cadenza – Andante con moto” is a beautiful melancholic piece, to sleep and to dream... The fourth movement, “Shadows”, is dedicated to Jimi Hendrix. It’s a reprise of the “Adagio” where the band with electric guitar and flute in the forefront seem to look for Jimi’s shadow in the dark and struggle to find it...
On side two there is a long track where the members of the band showcase all their musicianship, “Nella sala vuota, improvvisazioni dei New Trolls registrate in diretta”. This piece is almost completely instrumental (in the middle there are just some vocals in Italian, a short reprise of a previously released single “Il sole nascerà”) and though the title means “improvisation in an empty room” it is very far from being just a boring free improvisation sounding more like a medley of different pieces put together. According to Vittorio De Scalzi, this is not just a filler and the aim of the band was to reproduce in studio the same energy that they were able to express live on stage during their concerts . Well, the result is definitely not bad at all!
On the re-release on CD of this album you’ll also find its sequel, “Concerto grosso n. 2”. Indeed, after their first split-up and the separate experiences of the members with Ibis and New Trolls Atomic System, in 1976 I New Trolls reunited with a renewed line-up and tried to repeat the success of “Concerto Grosso per i New Trolls”. Luis Enrique Bacalov composed the music of the first three tracks and the band interpreted them interacting with an orchestra. Perhaps you can’t find here the originality of the album released in 1971 (on the third movement every now and then there are slight reminiscences of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells...) but the pieces are well structured and well performed. In the second and third movement there are some remarkable harmony vocals and the romantic lyrics are sung in English... “She’s many miles away from me / She’s wasting nights away from me / But every song and every tear and every lie and every fear / Are always calling back my love keeping back my love...”. An amazing example of merging classical music and progressive rock...
It’s a pity that the other tracks of the album seem to go in another musical direction. Just some nice pop songs (the dreamy “Quiet Seas”, sung in English and “Bella come mai”), some West Coast echoes (“Vent’anni” reminds me slightly of CSN&Y, with amazing harmony vocals built up around a remarkable acoustic guitar work, while “Let It Be Me” is the cover of a song made famous by the Everly Brothers) and a not altogether convincing vocal experiment (“Le Roi Soleil” where the words of the bleak nonsense lyrics are nothing more than sounds while the music recalls slightly Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”).
You can listen in streaming to Concerto Grosso per i New Trolls HERE and to Concerto Grosso N. 2 HERE