Record of the day: Lucio Battisti, "Hegel"

Record of the day: Lucio Battisti, “Hegel”

Lucio Battisti
Hegel (Cd Number One 74321-22916-2)

With the excellent album “E gi” Lucio Battisti had finally freed himself from the lyricist Rapetti and had reached a condition of total expressive freedom, which manifested itself in songs freed from the traditional form and based entirely on electronic sounds created by the producer Greg Walsh. The fans from the first hour cried foul and were torn
hair, the controversy in the specialized newspapers was furious and exploded in all its force when Battisti began to collaborate (starting from the album “Don Giovanni”) with the poet Pasquale Panella, an unknown author of apparently abstract verses, in reality rich in wit and intelligence of writing, full of wordplay and governed by a reckless virtuosity of syntax.

The people of Francesca and the ice cream cart finally despaired of seeing Battisti return to the past, which must have brought the artist no small satisfaction.

With each subsequent record release (there are five and they are all masterpieces) the “official” critics recited the De Profundis for Battisti's talent; furthermore, record sales dropped compared to previous works without Battisti showing particular concern or deviating from his artistic path. Slowly, however, a new audience became passionate about these albums which seemed so distant and severely ascetic towards listeners right from the covers without any indication or photograph (after twenty years some of these albums have reached sales levels comparable to his most famous successes).

Given that listening to all five albums is necessary, for today I recommend “Hegel”, the latest collaboration between the two, which remains
one of my favorite albums thanks to the ultra-rhythmic melodies of “Rooms like this”, “At least the beginning” and “The voice of the face”, which testify to the perennial compositional freshness of its author.

With these records Battisti said goodbye forever to show business where he had reigned supreme, and re-founded Italian song, leaving behind decades of songwriting to take a splendidly solitary path, proposing an unprecedented compositional model which still has not yet been assimilated or fully understood but only imitated rather clumsily by some colleagues.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.