Label : Equilibrium Music

Review by Stina

Some outstanding music has come across our ears throughout the course of 2010 from Equilibrium Music, and Hexperos‘s “The Veil of Queen Mab” is no exception. This Italian duo (the bandname derives from the characters Esperidi and from Hesperos – the former designing the three nymphs of the evening, who take care of a tree of golden apples and sing with melodious voices, and the latter the name of the first vesper star, the one preferred by Venus) was established in 2004 by multi-instrumentalist and main composer Francesco Forgione (double bass, cello, Bardic harp, percussions and keyboards) and vocalist Alessandra Santovito (also transverse flute and hammered dulcimer), formerly known for her work in the band Gothica. Alessandra is gifted with a rich and suave lyrical soprano voice that is destined to rejoice the ears of every fan of female vocalizations (she achieved a first class degree in opera singing at Pescara Conservatoire with full marks and honours), yet, what makes Hexperos stand out, and the reason why “The Veil of Queen Mab” scored so highly in my appreciation, is due to how they effortlessly escape the redundant approach that scuppers many a band with a Neoclassical edge to produce music that it’s as synergic and airy as it’s majestic and powerfully evocative. “The Veil of Queen Mab” has taken its time coming out, having been recorded and meticulously assembled over the course of three years (the band’s debut, “The Garden of the Hesperides”, saw the light in 2007), and thus the arrangements are manifold and finely crafted, but the textures found on each piece, dexterously fused with Alessandra’s jaw-dropping voice, sound so graceful and impalpable they softly wrap the listener up like Queen Mab’s merciful azure veil: the album title is inspired by that of a short novel by Nicaraguan writer and poet Rubén Darío, paying homage to the queen of fairies and dreams – originated by the Anglo-Saxon mythology, probably with roots in Celtic legends, and referred to in countless works by a number of artists, from Shakespeare or Percy Shelley to Gustave Doré – who brings solace to the Artists comforting them during their struggles. Hexperos used this figure as a striking metaphor to underline the aim and spirit that pervades the whole work, which is dedicated to Art, and Artists. The result is an album that can draw comparisons to top-shelf Gothic/Neoclassical acts, but ultimately sounds like nothing else but the work of their creator – and most importantly, like a true work of Art. Recommended.

Rating – 85/100

 

Tracklist

  1. The Fairy Appears
  2. Queen Mab
  3. El Velo Azul
  4. Moon Spell
  5. Summatem Deam
  6. Diadem of the Night
  7. Summoning of the Artists
  8. A Reason to Live
  9. Nocturne
  10. Le Lacrime di Proserpina
  11. A Forest
  12. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  13. Time of Spirit
  14. Asturiana

 

Line Up

  • Francesco Forgione – Double Bass, Cello, Keyboards, Bardic Harp, Bodhrán, Jambè, Programming
  • Alessandra Santovito – Voice, Flute, Hammer Dulcimer
  • Francesca Romana Di Nicola – Celtic Harp
  • Alessandro Pensa – Violin, Viola
  • Manuel Manzitti – Bassoon 

 

Links

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