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Muscio, Marco Lo: The Book of Bilbo and Gandalf

Italian pianist and composer Marco Lo Muscio is a fabulous player and his list of accomplishments is impressive to say the least having earned degrees from the L. Refice Academy of Music, the B. Cristofori Academy and the Roma Tre University. He has worked with Maestro T. Maiorani and has honed his considerable skills with the famous classical pianist Sergio Fiorentino. He also has an impressive list of performances having played in some pretty famous concert halls and cathedrals throughout the world. He is also a Lord of the Rings fan which brings us to his new CD The Book of Bilbo and Gandalf.

In the liner notes Muscio talks about his inspiration for making the new CD; his love of progressive rock and his passion for J.R. Tolkien. For this project he enlisted the help of three well known musicians: Steve Hackett, John Hackett and Par Lindh, with each contributing one track. Muscio and his cohorts do an outstanding job of recreating Tolkien's world and if you close your eyes you can almost imagine you are in that fantastical place of wizards and kings. Muscio's piano is the main highlight as he is able to create different moods and themes often with only his piano at hand. Of course it doesn't hurt to have good help and that is very evident on the Par Lindh (ex-Par Lindh Project) composition "The Fellowship on Entering the Magic Forest of Lothlorien". Lindh wrote this a few years ago and is by far the album's most progressive track. Lindh plays a variety of instruments including B3 Hammond organ, church organ, Mellotron 400, synths and grand piano. The music is lush and dramatic, with moods venturing from the serene to the intense. If you appreciate the works of artists like Emerson, Wakeman or Vangelis this piece will surely speak to you.

Muscio and his solo grand piano are featured in the classically inspired "Galadriel Elf Song", a slower piece where every note hits the mark and the longer "Dark and Light The Book of Gandalf" featuring a darker element where the piano chords are moodier and the main theme recurs throughout the various movements tying the piece together nicely.

"Galadriel" features pretty melodies on Hackett's classical acoustic guitar it is a relaxing and peaceful tune but no less rewarding. John Hackett's flute is showcased in the pretty "Thoughts Turn Homeward" while the eighteen minute epic "The Hobbit Book Bilbo and Gandalf" is filled with haunting Celtic melodies and a stirring ostinato bass movement.

The album ends with the pipe organ drenched "Visions From Minas Tirith The White Tree", a fitting and dramatic ending to say the least.

At over 73 minutes in length some of the longer pieces did tend to drag on a little too long but there is no denying the depth of this work. You can hear the love that went into it as Muscio's passion for music really does speak from the heart.

Track Listing:
1. The Fellowship on Entering the Magic Forest of Lothlorien (12:03)
2. Galadriel Elf Song (6:24)
3. Dark and Light The Book of Gandalf (13:48)
4. Galadriel (3:07)
5. Medieval Melodies Theoden's Meditation (1:40)
6. Medieval Melodies The Knights of Rohan (2:34)
7. Thoughts Turn Homeward (4:17)
8. The Hobbit Book Bilbo and Gandalf (18:17)
9. Visions From Minas Tirith The White Tree (11:29)

Added: November 9th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 3237
Language: english

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