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Three Monks: The Legend Of The Holy Circle

Italian organist creates a cathedral of sound.

Italy’s produced some fabulous prog: Goblin and Le Orme just for starters. However, if you truly want a trip to the bizarre side it’s time to meet your new favourite band, possibly. Paolo Lazzari’s neo-gothic organ project is a darkly compelling hoot. Think Domenico Scarlatti wired up to a stack with added bass and drums. (I trust the late Jon Lord is applauding from the stage at the great gig in the sky.)

Essentially, The Legend is a series of outrageous toccatas. That is, they are celebrations of Lazzari’s impressive technique and, most of all, touch. The cleverness lies not so much in the arrangements, but in the juxtaposition of Lazzari’s delicacy and the grandiose titles and concepts. Who could not rejoice in a tune called The Battle Of Marduk?

Inevitably given the grip JS Bach has on our imaginations, it’s hard for Lazzari to escape his shadow. The Rest Of The Sacred Swarm is an object lesson in baroque sacred beauty. However, closer Toccata Neogotica #5 demonstrates that Lazzari’s understanding of the manuals is grounded as much in Charles-Marie Widor’s romantic wizardry as Bach’s intricacy.

Forget the Three Tenors, The Three Monks is where it’s at.