(All Album Reviews by BrianG)
The Italian band Il Cerchio d'Oro, ("Circle of Gold") from Savona, began their career in 1974 performing symphonic rock highly influenced by fellow Italian progressive bands Le Orme, Osanna, and PFM. However, they could not land a recording deal during that period, and ended up publishing only three singles meant for a more commercial market. By 1979 the group had disbanded, and although in 1999 Mellow Records brought out a 12 track retrospective of music from early in their career, their real aspirations remained unsatiated.
Fast forward to 2005, and Il Cerchio d'Oro releases La Quadratura del Cerchio ("Square of the Circle") which included covers of tracks by Le Orme, New Trolls and The Trip as well as a few originals. Now the group seems to have found their legs with this release of Il viaggio di Colombo, a 14 track concept album with a great cover art with period woodcuts of Columbus' voyage. The music stays closely within the limits set by the above bands, as well as classic symphonic Italian stalwarts Il Balletto di Bronzo and Castello di Atlantico. The band favors more composed work in lieu of fusion solos like DFA. The lyrics are sung all in Italian in a thin slightly hoarse voice, very much helped by backing harmony vocals like in the second track "Sognando la Meta". However, by track 11 "Conclusione (il Ritorno)", it seems like the wind has calmed and the sails are slack as the music settles into a relaxed pace, never too loud or too soft. By the end, the music has entered retirement and Columbus is sitting at home telling stories of past glory.
If you can follow the Italian lyrics, you will hear the life of Columbus compared to every man's life - the lofty goals, the unremitting hard work, with trials and disappointments interspersed with grand successes. The message is that life is a journey, and success or failure depends on the winds and seas. Continued listening for fans of 70's Italian Symphonic music.