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ARTISSIMO - Athens - Greece

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ARTISSIMO.GR - We just love good music !













ATTENTION ! The following text is only describing the drum contribution by Massimo Aiello and should not considered as a complete review of Beethoven's 9th symphony !



Well, this is not a mostly usual case of the recording of an ordinary work : the CD content consists of the 9th symphony performance by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (very good performance as a matter of fact - orchestra directed by Walter Attanasi) with the Slovak Philarmonic Choir to participate in the most famous 4th movement of the symphony and Massimo Aiello's own Drum recording to be "applied" on the initial classical music "layer", so that the final result is the mixed influence of both factors : Beethoven 's 9th Symphony and Aiello's own drum interpretation. A really interesting experiment ! Did it work ? Well, the undersigned happens not to be a drum expert, but he always enjoys a good drum solo or a well-filled passage. However, the experiment is absolutely successful ! The ear of the listener actually gets full satisfaction ! Besides, Aiello's corresponding show has always been a success, hasn't it ?



Massimo is a very good drum artist, but this is not enough in our case ! Beethoven's 9th symphony is the ultimate source of inspiration and mental elevation, full of magical melodic passages and an admired overall structure, so the intervention should be very careful and balanced, otherwise a rather "silly" sound would come out ... Aiello's full "drum-palette" is used wisely and quite in accordance with Beethoven's spirit - the Italian artist has shown a full respect for the original's work atmosphere and his drum imagination schemes have been in complete symphony with the orchestra's melodic and harmonic courses. Drum's part is "fat" and interesting, perhaps it could stand alone by itself quite beautifully, variety is well-used (including a good deal of drum-silence periods!) and matching drum colorations are fitted successfully. I must say again that our artist's mission was not an easy one : the original work is of fantastic artistic value and only a perfect "overlaid" drum orchestration would survive.



Since drums are usually supporting the rhythmical being of a piece of music, we would normally wait that Beethoven's orchestral masterpiece has become more rhythmical than it used to be for more than 150 years now ! Well, that is true. Closed hi-hats sounds are stepping proudly and cymbals are underlining the "curves" and the "corners" of the phrases, while various types of bass drums and snare drums are used in fully accordance with Beethoven's spirit to accent specific important notes - sometimes they are also used along with the classical orchestra's own timpanis. Toms also give some passages a more "piquant" flavour. Other sounds from the drummer's rich soundset are occasionally used, with more concern to be in balance with the classical spirit than to impress audience "easily" (Aiello is also a very good drummer). Drum's dynamic formations are also well artistically justified : they are usually following Beethoven's own marks but sometimes a more personal stamp is used - with very nice results ! 



1st movement - Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso - Duration of about 16 minutes and a half - This is a most "dark" and "difficult" movement. Triumph chords are supported by drum's bursts and "verifications", parts of a medium dynamic are getting more interesting and quite passages are treated carefully and in a rather accompanying way. Movement's ultra-beautiful melodic bends are kind of traps for this kind of drum orchestration, but Aiello has used his own instrument in a most suitable way. The movement has gained some special instrumental points by the use of drums ! Just listen to it with an open mind and perhaps you will agree ! Beethoven's fantastic orchestration is seconded by the drum's use even if the overall classical favour is softened. Very good result Massimo !

2nd movement - Molto vivace - Duration of over 15 minutes - Hm, well, this is my favorite : I shall be relentless ! Rhythmical support is lively and interesting, adding dynamic content to original movement. Phrases here are strictly separated and drum has obviously many possibilities for "strengthening" the overall struct : eg. cymbals are happily adding a fresh quality and orchestral timpanis are daringly supported by drums. In certain points of the movement, some special drum sounds, for example drum rolling, fast hi-hat changes etc. has given extra interest to Beethoven's orchestration. In short, the rhythmical patterns has become more apparent and more stressed than before. It is rather a matter of personal taste. I think the final result is an interesting enough sound.

"Present for Ludwig" - Duration of approximately 1 minute and a half - Here is a genuine drum solo. Its purpose is obviously to give a more personal stamp to the whole work. Actually, we can listen to a lot of interesting cymbal-effect sounds which contribute to a more dream-like atmosphere and are distinctly coming as an opposition to the next Beethoven's quiet movement ...

3th movement - Adagio molto e cantabile - Duration of about 14 minutes and a half - Calm and dolce as a dream that is coming true - impressive as an orchestra aria. Aiello is very-very careful here : anything can spoil the whole universe of Beethoven's sounds ! Some subtle background effects that give a rather unclear sense are followed by a progressively more active contribution of drums in the part but always in the correct degree. The whole picture is magic : violins (and later the woodwinds) are singing and everything else being is admiring in its own way. Here Aiello shows us that silence is often as precious as gold (and the artist is mature enough to ensure this fact). The relatively delicate drum's contribution is only paused in the (rather short) part where orchestra plays in a rather loud volume, with the brass showing the way ! In general, a total magic with the drum taking its own part in it !

4th movement - Presto (with final chorus) - Ode to Joy - Duration of about 22 minutes and a half - One of the most famous movements ever ! Now drum has a more active part accenting dynamic phrases and verifying the overall tension. Various interesting effects are giving us some ideas about the capabilities of the drummer and his possible contribution in a classical-style passage. The "Ode to Joy" melody starts to be played in the lower strings ! What a glorious moment ! Now, drum is admiring in silence. Then, it will start to help a bit in Beethoven's greatness ! Then it is the time for the great orchestral tutti with the drum shining ! Fantastic ! The magic goes on to the next linking phrase ! Then, it is the turn of the human voices to appear. Drum has an active role and is supporting every try of music often in a most dynamic way. Someone can argue that Aiello is overdoing it at times, but, in the overall mood, drum is doing good. Another interesting moment is the Turkish March, where (normally) the drum is helping a lot in the orchestration, followed by a lot of music "adventures", later to arrive at a "rich" repetition of the well-known 'Ode to Joy' theme. The continuation is full of good drum sounds and god-like vocal lines. We can again often attend drums to admire in relative or complete silence. What a ceremony ! Drum is celebrating with the rest of the orchestra while taking part in the great rite. Music is beyond description now ! A battalion of angels are singing ... What a Joy ! The movement's finale is not less impressive : drum is always helping in the great try and waiting for the moments where it can be more active ... Music is then gradually fainting out, and a drum solo goes on ...

Melodic Drum Solo - Duration of approximately 8 minutes - A normal drum solo is developing. This time not only cymbals but also drums and all other drummer's kind of stuff are taking part. Sound is fat and interesting. Rhythm is relatively stable and supported by changes in sound material that only drummers are capable of. Aiello seems to be a very good and experienced drummer with an inventory of music ideas, styles and ways of expressing himself ! Although the passage is almost 8 minutes long, listener will not feel any kind of boredom or indifference ! After the end of the passage, Beethoven is back again ...

Rest of the Final - Duration of approximately 2 minutes - A very strong finale which is again supported by the power of drum in a most matching way. In the very final phrase of the symphony, listener's great pleasure is mixed with broad satisfaction ...



To be honest, use of drums in Beethoven's 9th symphony clearly lowers its classical favour, but the general idea is to give an alternate interesting orchestration. Massimo Aiello, a very good drummer and musician, managed to give us such an alternate orchestration in a nice and persuading way without harming Beethoven's spirit and greatness. The artist's respect for the German giant is more than obvious even for a classical listener. Drum is played in such a way so that phrases remain clear and are well-supported, rhythmical background is generally delicate enough and keeps the overall atmosphere in Beethoven's high standards, and only few instances can be recalled where drums could be considered as breaking the very sensitive balance. Massimo Aiello has done a very good job that can honestly be considered as an important artistic achievement as well ! Bravo !




The following short artistic curricula comes from Massimo Aiello's own web site : . This biographical notice indicates artist's high level of expertise and a constant will to explore music cross-roads by means of cooperating with lots of other important musicians !

(Last update : November 22th 2003)


Massimo Aiello

Was born in Naples July 22 1966.

He is primarily self-trained in musical research and started studyng music at 10 years.

Massimo studied with various important drum teachers in early 80’s among which Tullio De Piscopo, Walter Calloni and the most prestigious being Maestro Enrico Lucchini.

He has attended different high-level clinics in drumming and ensemble performance, with important teachers.

He has been teaching with good results his own "Rhythm Psychology", which he conceived as a way to communicate his didactic-musical research on the interpretation of rhytmic divisions. The same concepts are included, from the first lesson on, in the classes that has been independently teaching since 1986, where he uses, along with different methods, his own "Corso Orientativo per Batteria" ("Orientative Drum Course") (ZED Editions) (See too Shops for the Book-Method).

The method has been tested for years with good results and, reviewed and corrected, it's available from October 2002.
Up to now Massimo Aiello has been playing with more than 90 Italian and foreign bands, using more than 40 different musical styles, both as a professional and an amateur player, always approaching each experience, no matter if big or small, with a natural spirit of study and research.

The work that most characterizes him, though, is own original solo performance "TRIBUTE TO BEETHOVEN" in which he drums on a recording of the 9th Symphony. The performance lasts about 80 minutes and has encountered a great success since 1987 in theathers, squares, churches, educational institutes, theather festivals, and is also available since 2001 on CD in Italy and most foreign countries (P&C 2001 Azzurra Music S.r.l.). 

Currently he plays/collaborates with different projects of various genres with drum and/or percussion (and/or electric bass....) and/or co-programming electronic percussion and/or co-author in one or more songs and/or collaboration in the arrangiament and/or musical directing and/or collaboration to musical directing and/or artistic production and/or collaboration to artistic production and/or musical and technical collaboration to mixages collaborator to the mixages. He keeps teaching his clinics (since 1986), always acknowledged and appreciated in his own circuits for the enthusiasm with which Massimo educates to music.

He's registered at the S.I.A.E. - Società Italiana Autori ed Editori (autors and editors italian society) from the year 2002.
He is always willing to make discography and alive projects but only whit serious artistic teamwork :



The following general information text on the work comes from Massimo Aiello's own web site : . By reading this section you can have a very good idea of what Massimo Aiello's work is all about ...

(Last update: September 14th 2003)


As a SOLOIST, Massimo Aiello produced a very interesting performance from a classical study of the Symphony no. 9 by Ludwig van Beethoven (first integral performance at the theatre Pio X in Padua on December 13th, 1987, full hall with over 1000 members of audience).

The performance titled "TRIBUTE TO BEETHOVEN" lasts about eighty minutes and consists on live music drums on a recorded background of the Symphony no. 9. The result is an absolutely new interpretation which represents an interesting cultural musical event.

It is entirely successful and it is still played in theatres, squares, churches etc. and just with this opera :
- in 1989 he won a RAI TV selection as a new and very interesting musical proposal in a program conducted by Pippo Baudo (350 participants took part to this selection )

- in 1993 this opera was proposed for a conference about “Che Guevara” organised by the RAI TV journalist Gianni Minà

- in 1995 he participated with this opera to the famous music concert and classical dance festival at Villa Badoere (Fratta Polesine - Rovigo, Italy). 

With the same opera and with some extracts from “William Tell” by G. Rossini or “Rite of the Spring” by I. Stravinsky, he participated as a guest to several festivals or benefit manifestations among which :

- in 1987-1988 he took part to some international cultural exchanges

- in 1988 at the Theatre S. Marco in Mestre (Venice) 

- in 1989 at the "International fair of the book" in Pontremoli (MS, Italy). The local news devoted a report to him 

- in 1989 at the theatre "Villa dei Leoni" at Mira (Venice) 

- in 1989 at the theatre "Don Bosco" in Rovigo for the great Rovigo Fair 

- in 1994 at the Ancient Theatre of Ostiglia (Mantova) 

- in several High Schools 

- during Mass at Christmas Night 

- for the 1st November festivity (all saints)

- on December 8th (Immaculate Conception feast)

- in some debates with some authorities for the Peace of Sarajevo

- in 1994 for the magistrate Giampaolo Schiesaro

- in 1998 for the celebration in honour of Giancarlo Caselli, chief magistrate of Palermo 

- between 1993 and 2000 in some Commemorations for the judges Falcone and Borsellino, with the participation of relatives and authorities

- and many more....

The opera "TRIBUTE TO BEETHOVEN - Drum in the Symphony no. 9" on CD has been produced by the record company "Azzurra Music s.r.l.". It is on sale from September 2001 with a national and international distribution.


ARTISSIMO.GR - We just love good music !