Höstsonaten is a project conceived and led by Fabio Zuffanti since 1996 which has produced seven studio albums, one live album and a collection of rarities. What is unusual about Höstsonaten is that it is not really a band but an ever-changing ensemble of musicians revolving around the figure of the leader. Zuffanti’s productions with Höstsonaten include the "Seasoncycle Suite" tetralogy and music for Samuel Taylor Coledridge’s poem "The rime of the ancient mariner", staged in a musical theatre version.
Höstsonaten’s music is classical and symphonic in style, as in the best progressive rock tradition of the seventies, but often tinged with jazz, folk, hard rock, minimalist and contemporary atmospheres.
One of Zuffanti’s most important partners in his music in recent years, keyboardist-composer-arranger Luca Scherani, has become a valuable permanent presence in Höstsonaten albums, and so Zuffanti has decided to stop claiming sole responsibility for the name and share the paternity of the project with Scherani. In 2015 Zuffanti and Scherani therefore began sharing the task of composing and arranging the material; "Cupid & Psyche" is the first result of this partnership.
THE NEW ALBUM
For some time Fabio had dreamed of composing a symphonic suite for group and orchestra on a mythological subject which could also serve as ballet music, as great composers such as Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky have done in the past. Apuleio's account of "Cupid and Psyche" (taken from the "Metamorphosis") inspired Zuffanti to jot down a series of musical ideas suitable for such a suite. When he had completed the cycle he put the material in the hands of Luca Scherani, who arranged it for string quartet, woodwinds and brass, sometimes drawing on Zuffanti’s ideas and sometimes writing new arrangements of his own. The aim was not to produce an album of classical music but to blend the sounds of the orchestra with the urgency of rock. And so the album includes fiery bass, drum and guitar sections combined with the magniloquence of the violin, the bassoon, the trumpet and all the other instruments of the orchestra. To this he adds, in the best prog tradition, plenty of keyboards such as Moog, mellotron, organ and piano of various kinds. The story described by the ten pieces in the suite appears in the booklet that comes with the CD, written by Pee Gee Daniel, a writer from Alessandria, based on the story as told by Apuleio.
An album such as this one clearly has illustrious predecessors and sources of inspiration, particularly the New Trolls’ concerti grossi, the most symphonic chapters of Genesis and the great Romantic composers of the past. Fabio and Luca have added their own sensibility and all the atmospheres characteristic of Höstsonaten to these influences.
"Cupid & Psyche" is the first of a series of projects in strictly classical style that Fabio and Luca would like to work on in the future: a series of rock symphonies to make their own positive contribution to the merger of urgency with classicism.
The ballet based on the music from the album is due to make its debut in theatres next autumn, under the direction of Genoese choreographer Paola Grazzi.
THE MUSICIANS AND THE PRODUCTION
The musicians who recorded "Cupid & Psyche" are:
Luca Scherani (keyboards)
Fabio Zuffanti (bass pedal & devices)
Paolo "Paolo" Tixi (drums & orchestral percussion)
Laura Marsano (guitars)
Daniele Sollo (bass)
Formus String Quartet:
Sylvia Trabucco (first violin)
Alessandra Dalla Barba (second violin)
Ilaria Bruzzone (viola)
Chiara Alberti (cello)
Joanne Roan (flute)
Luca Tarantino (oboe)
Sofia Bartolini (bassoon)
Marco Callegari (trumpet)
Alberto Repetto (horn)
Federico Curotto (trombone)
Maurizio Zofrea (tenor sax)
The album was recorded and mixed by Rossano "Rox" Villa at Hilary Audio Recordings studios under the artistic direction of Fabio Zuffanti.
"Cupid & Psyche" will be released on 8 April 2016 in CD and LP editions on the AMS records label.
A numbered and limited boxed edition will be available on 1 April 2016 at the Z - Fest when Zuffanti, his band and a series of guests from various musical worlds will appear on stage.
Includes unlimited streaming of Symphony #1: Cupid & Psyche
via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.