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Le Orme - Felona E Sorona CD (album) cover


Le Orme


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.24 | 852 ratings

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5 stars "Felona e Sorona" was released in 1973 by Le Orme's "classical" line up featuring Aldo Tagliapietra (vocals, bass, acoustic guitar), Toni Pagliuca (keyboards, organ) and Michi Dei Rossi (drums, percussion) helped in studio by producer Gian Piero Reverberi. It's usually considered the highest point in the whole Le Orme's career and one of the best releases of the Italian prog movement in the seventies: it's absolutely magnificent and it is still regularly performed in concert (often the band plays the whole of it!). It's a concept album and it's structured as a long suite telling the story of two planets. The lyrics are very poetic and I think you have to understand their meaning to completely enjoy this work.

The long and complex opener "Sospesi nell'incredibile" (Hanging in the incredible) sets the atmosphere. The incipit is powerful and tension immediately rises. Close your eyes and set off on an intergalactic journey, imagine another solar system where two twin planets are spinning... "Where the sky hides behind a jewelry of a thousand stars, behind the gold dust of another universe / Two planets in harmony are spinning together in their kingdom / Where everything does not change but Time...". Well, the twin planets are very different from each other. On the first one a perennial happiness rules while the other one is a gloomy place where you can't find anything but sorrow and hope. Their destiny is like sand running through the bulbs of an hourglass... "Behind forests of coral, behind sighs of true lovers / Two twin roses do not die together...". The final section of this track features an intense drum solo. Light spreads a breath of life and tears melt at the sound of bells...

Tubular bells announce that you have just landed on "Felona", the planet of dream and happiness. The track describing this place is a lively ballad featuring a strummed 12 string guitar. A clear light slowly rises and you can see many big white bubbles. The people who live in the bubbles go everyday from party to party. There are no secrets in these transparent spheres, joy seems to be contagious, serenity rules, women and cicadas talk about love all day long. The crystal houses move carried by the wind, they run down the valleys, fly over the mountains and bounce on the sea leaving behind them trails like comets... "At sundown the wind takes a rest / The spheres stop and form a village / People meet again and run towards each other for a new party / While the day is dying...".

"La solitudine di chi protegge il mondo" (The loneliness of the one who protects the world) is a short ethereal interlude featuring soaring vocals and delicate piano patterns. Happy people frequently forget to pray and to thank God for what they have. "The good makes you forget who is at the origin, who is the maker...". Beware! Even the maker, the one who protects the world, can feel the burden of loneliness if no one addresses to him. Well, loneliness is a dark shadow which turns out to those who feel useless...

"L'equilibrio" (The balance) is tense track full of dark energy. There's a big void between the two planets. Felona ignores the existence of Sorona and vice-versa. The enormous abyss separates the two worlds and everyone minds his own business. The destinies of the two planets are different as well, one doesn't know the night, the other doesn't know the day... Then tension melts. The maker ends up to turn his gaze to whom is waiting for his acts to give a meaning to his life... "The balance has its focus in time / And it will be established sooner or later / When Sorona will light up from the sky...".

"Sorona" describes the gloomy planet of eternal sorrow. Here you can find old cities without gardens lost into oblivion, enveloped in a thick fog as between the threads of a silkworm. Life seems trapped into the dark and even the rare plants carry the burden of anguish... "From days gone by, lost in time / In this grey land there's no room for anything but black swamps...".

"Attesa inerte" (Inert waiting) is another track describing the life on the dark planet of sadness. Faces that an eternal pain has transformed in masks and voices that an ancient silence has made soundless gather together in a peculiar concert to greet the darkness as in a never ending ritual. Sorrow rules but in everyone there's faith and hope for a miracle. Helpless people rise their hands towards the sky waiting for better times, hope keeps them alive... "A sudden light is getting closer / Now it's here!". "Ritratto di un mattino" (Portrait of a morning) begins with an hypnotic keyboards pattern. Then soaring vocals and a warm organ sound show up... "You can't find happiness in your ego / But in the love that one day you will give to the others...". Sometimes hope and faith make dreams come true...

"All'infuori del tempo" (Except time) starts with a joyful strummed guitar pattern. Now in the kingdom of darkness the light shines. In every body a blaze lights up and love shines all over the land. The sun rays dry a frightened fog while early leaves greet the wind. The future on Sorona is not so dark anymore! For a while the two worlds are both happy and a new life can begin. But as Sorona is still celebrating the new light, Felona begins a slow decline and darkness starts spreading on it. Soon the balance comes to an end and what is joy for Sorona is death for Felona. "The end is a circle, the circle is the life / You have to destroy and then to build up / We are all waiting for our day / Nothing changes but time...".

The instrumental finale "Ritorno al nulla" is like a wild ride into the space leading to an explosion. The intergalactic journey ends here. Open your eyes and wake up now. Try to face your day with a new awareness...

A very suggestive story indeed. Peter Hammill was charmed by it and wrote an interesting English version of the lyrics in 1973 (very far from literary, indeed) for an English release of the album on the label Charisma. None the less the English version, "Felona & Sorona", in my opinion is not at the same level of the Italian one. The music is the same since the only difference are the vocal parts sung by Aldo Tagliapietra but the singer does not seem at ease with English and the final result could appear almost clumsy...

andrea | 5/5 |


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