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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Hexperos - The Veil Of Queen Mab - 2010
albumcover

    
... a homage to the queen of fairies and dreams ...
Formed in 2004, Hexperos is a project by Alessandra Santovito (voice, transverse flute, hammered dulcimer, formerly in Gothica) and Francesco Forgione (double bass, cello, Bardic harp, percussions and keyboards), assisted by harpist Francesca Romana Di Nicola, violinist Alessandro Pensa and other talented guests. Alessandra has a first class degree in Foreign Languages and Literature at Pescara University and a first class degree in opera singing at Pescara Conservatoire, both with full marks and honours (summa cum laude). Francesco, a poli instrument musician, is in charge of recording and mixing each song and takes care of every step. Both of them have numberless experience in various music fields and play also medieval music with the ensemble Stella Nova.

“The Garden of the Hesperides”, their debut CD, was released on Equilibrium Music in September 2007. The band has since made few selected live appearances, and in 2010 presented their new record, “The Veil of Queen Mab”.

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

Bardic Harp on “Moon Spell” and “The Fairy Appears” by Francesco Forgione
Classical Guitar on “Asturiana” by Riccardo Prencipe (Corde Oblique)

The name Hexperos derives from the characters Esperidi and from Hesperos – the first being three mythological figures, the 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. Greek mythology, together with Gothic literature and pagan themes, serve as inspiration for the lyrics written by Alessandra, who on occasion uses also passages by other authors for the songs.

The title of the new album “The Veil Of Queen Mab” comes from “El velo de la reina Mab” by the Nicaraguan writer and poet Rubén Darío (1867 - 1916). Queen Mab is the queen of fairies and dreams. Even Shakespeare is mentioning Queen Mab in his play Romeo and Juliet. So the album pays homage to the queen of fairies and dreams.

Hexperos is combining classical and contemporary approaches to chamber music, incorperating Celtic, Mediterranean, Medieval and Baroque elements. You could describe the music with the words; ethereal, dark, ambient, ethnic, and (neo)classical. You can find the following fourteen tracks on this album; “The Fairy Appears”, “Queen Mab”, “El Velo Azul”, “Moon Spell”, “Summatem Deam”, “Diadem Of The Night”, “Summoning Of The Artist”, “A Reason To Live”, “Nocturne”, “Le Lacrime Di Proserpina”, “A Forest”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Time Of Spirit” and “Asturiana”.

I would like to highlight some of the songs you can find on this beautiful recording. The dreamy “El Velo Azul” has medieval textures and beautiful violin parts. In “Summatem Deam” with Latin verses from Apuleius’ (c.125 - c.180) “Metamorphoseon” (Liber Undecimus) you can find some wonderful melodies. The melancholic “Diadem Of The Night” (an early Gothica song) has a breathtaking melody. The slow “A Reason To Live” has beautiful, full violin strings and a mysterious atmosphere. Some of the music on the dark song “Nocturne” has some resemblance with the music of Michael Nyman. In the short song “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” you can hear beautiful violin and flute melodies. “Time Of Spirit” has a lot of delicate Celtic harp and flute parts. But you can also hear hammer dulcimer and always the beautiful voice of Alessandra Santovito. The last song “Asturiana” is a tribute to Manuel de Falla and features a guest appearance by Riccardo Prencipe (Corde Oblique) on classical guitar.

Hexperos album “The Veil Of Queen Mab” is a wonderful release full of immense beauty. Most of the album has an intimate and delicate character. You can find some breathtaking melodies on this album. The voice of Alessandra Santovito is the star of the album ... but she has gathered a group of very talented musicians around her ... the skillful musicians make music at a very high level. Highly recommended to the open minded prog fan and lovers of Neo-Classical music.

Douwe Fledderus - November 2011
rating - Equilibrium Music

 

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