[Giusto Pio, translated from the book "Dedicato a Giusto Pio"]
Giusto Pio was born in Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, in 1926. He inherited a passion for music from his father, who played several instruments without ever having attended regular schools.
At 13 he began to study violin in Marghera and three years later he was accepted at the Liceo Musicale Cesare Pollini of Padua. In 1941 he moved to Venice, where he studied composition and violin under Luigi Enrico Ferro, the last great violinist of the "Venetian School", at the Benedetto Marcelli Conservatory.
Pio graduated in violin in 1947, a few years later he got married and moved to Milan. During the '50s he received important national and international awards and entered the RAI orchestra of Milan (Italian television orchestra) as Concertino violin, a role that enabled him to acquire, in about thirty years of activity in close contact with the best directors and performers of the world, a wide experience in the field of orchestral-symphonic and operatic music.
During the '60s and the '70s, he also carried out an intense didactic activity with the best Milanese and Italian chamber music ensembles, contemplating a vast repertoire of music that, starting from the Middle Ages and Renaissance (Letitiae Musicae, the pioneer group in Italy for Medieval and Renaissance music), went through the Italian Baroque (Complesso Strumentale Italiano, Symposium Musicum Milano, Giovane Quartetto di Milano, Complesso Barocco di Milano, etc.), and then reached the contemporary music of today with many premières of the greatest Italian living composers.
Over the years Giusto Pio has participated in several recordings for the major record companies of the time (Ricordi, Angelicum, Vox, Decca). These musical performances were always philologically attentive, thanks to the help of musicologists such as Francesco Degrada and Raffaello Monterosso of the Musical Paleography School of Cremona.
At the same time, his expertise was also in demand in the field of Popular Music, and Pio has worked as a session musician adding his instrument to the recordings of many famous Italian singers of the '50s and '60s, including Claudio Villa, Luciano Tajoli, Nilla Pizzi, Tony Dallara, Betty Curtis, Domenico Modugno, Adriano Celentano and Mina.
In the late '70s Pio was hired by Franco Battiato as violin teacher and they soon became friends. Later on, almost for amusement and curiosity, Pio began to play improvised concerts with him and vocalist Juri Camisasca.
In 1978 he worked as musician on "Juke Box" by Battiato and during the same year he released his first album of experimental music entitled "Motore immobile" (...you can listen to the whole album here...) on Cramps Records.
The long collaboration with Battiato was one of the most prolific and interesting during the '80s and '90s in Italy; this partnership took Pio to new heights in the fields of commercial and avantgarde music, with a great success in terms of popularity and discography.
Most of the albums by Franco Battiato, from "L'era del cinghiale bianco" (1979) to "Unprotected" (1994), depending on the case, included Giusto Pio as co-author of the music or of the arrangements, as violinist or as conductor. All the tours performed by Battiato during those years always included Giusto Pio among the essential lineup of musicians.
In those years, always with Battiato, he wrote the music and arrangements of many hit songs for Italian singers Alice, Giuni Russo and Sibilla ("Per Elisa" by Alice won the Sanremo Festival in 1981, you can watch the original performance here), produced two albums for Milva and various songs for other artists.
In 1984 Pio, Battiato and lyricist Rosario 'Saro' Cosentino penned the Eurovision Song Contest entry "I treni di Tozeur", performed by Alice and Battiato, which finished 5th in the contest and became a considerable commercial success in Continental Europe and Scandinavia. A video of the original performance, which briefly shows Giusto Pio as orchestra conductor, is available here.
Between 1982 and 1987 he released three lovely albums of Pop music: "Legione straniera", "Restoration" - I already remastered both of them some time ago along with the "Auto-Motion (Otomoscion)" single - and "Note", the subject of this post. In particular, "Legione straniera" and "Restoration", both written along with Battiato, sold very well and Pio became a well-known name among the younger audiences, as evidenced by the musical chronicles of those years on many magazines and newspapers.
In 1988 he published "Alla corte di Nefertiti", an album that marked the passage to a music style which was very different from his previous output and had far less commercial appeal. His association with Pop music definively waned after the end of his artistic fellowship with Battiato.
Over the past decade, Pio increasingly approached acoustic and electronic research, and produced music for theater (for example the play "Medea", for the Florentine group Krypton, which won first prize for music at the Massa Carrara Festival, or his collaboration on Battiato's operas performed in the major Italian theaters), music for movies and interactive musical comments with other art forms such as painting, sculpture and poetry.
Among his most recent music releases we remember "Utopie" (1990), "Missa Populi" (dedicated to His Holiness John Paul II, 1995), and "Le vie dell'oro" (2000).
The book "Dedicato a Giusto Pio", which includes a companion CD entitled "Dolomiti Suite", was published in 2010 to celebrate Pio's 85th birthday.
Giusto Pio has turned 90 on 11 January 2016.
"Note" contains the following tracks:
01. Capriccio (3:38)
02. Halley (4:20)
03. Concerto (4:01)
04. Capitano Nemo (4:18)
05. Ninna nanna per Andrea (3:22)
06. Inno (3:06)
07. Angeli? (3:32)
08. Sagra (3:11)
09. Ultimo Lied (3:18)
Although the artwork was scanned and restored from the vinyl album in my possession, the music was sourced and remastered from an original copy of the rare CD version which was kindly supplied by Stefano AbulQasim, thank you so much Stefano!
All tracks were remastered in September 2016 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with complete artwork reconstruction and printable PDF files.
Please have a look at the comments for the download link.
«After the moderate success of "Legione straniera" and "Restoration" I had decided to be the Cincinnatus of the day, cultivating a small piece of land in my neck of the woods. However, the lure of music was too strong. After all, I still used to perform each now and then with some 'ensemble' of acoustic music, be it Baroque or other styles, so I hadn't completely quit the stage. Then, some old friends (starting from producer Angelo Carrara and the CBS press office) convinced me to work on a new record. The album, informal in style and presentation, was born almost like a 'divertissement'. I bought a mixer and a twelve-track tape recorder, and I brought them to my country house. There, from February onwards, I focused on the compositions. I also resumed old ideas that I had never developed; some of them date back to the days when I used to work with Battiato.» 
«"Note" is my latest album of Pop music; it includes instrumental compositions for violin and strings. Two tracks, namely "Halley" and "Capitano Nemo", were retrieved from some improvisations related to "Cigarettes", an unreleased work made in 1978-79. Other compositions are more recent, for example the lullaby that I composed for my nephew Andrea.» 
"Note" (Notes) was released by CBS with catalogue number 460063.1 sometimes in late 1987, probably in October or early November, both on LP and cassette tape. The album was also issued on CD format in a limited run, hence its rareness today.
Just like the two previous Pio's Instrumental Pop efforts, the album was produced by Angelo Carrara. However, the album doesn't feature the same team of musicians that enriched those records; guitar and bass are completely absent in favour of a more electronic / programmed / midi sound that unfortunately, in certain passages, appears a little bit dated today.
Franco Battiato, who had co-written all the tracks on "Legione straniera" and "Restoration" - the touchstones with whom "Note" should be compared - was not involved in the making of this album and his contribution is limited to the short endorsement that those of you who are lucky enough to read Italian can enjoy here below.
All tracks are therefore signed by Pio alone and, as a matter of fact, the usual extra-European suggestions which are ascribable to Battiato are not part of this work. Unlike in the two previous albums, quotes from famous pieces of Classical Music are nowhere to be found on "Note".
I may be wrong, but I guess that on this album Pio received some help by young pianist Roberto Rossi: he is credited for playing various sinthesizers and samplers, but also for some kind of 'artistic collaboration'. In the meantime, after years spent playing keyboards for many Italian artists, Rossi is now Head of the A&R department of Sony Music Italy...
An endorsement about "Note" written by Franco Battiato
The album opens with "Capriccio", an uptempo number which probably would have been the perfect choice for a single or for radio promotion, but as far as I know no single was released, not even a promo.
"Halley" is a superb composition, probably the best on the record, and deserves a special mention; it brings up images of deep space and oceans. How this piece can be born from an improvisation completely eludes me...
The piano + midi keyboards introduction of "Concerto" doesn't sit among my favourite moments of this record; luckily enough the track evolves with a sax + violin refrain that elevate the mood. I can't help to think about how this piece would have benefited from a real bass instead of the thin sequenced line that we are offered.
Side One ends with "Capitano Nemo" (Captain Nemo), another of those tracks whose origin Pio traces back to the late 70s. Once again, this is a strong piece that offers a well-balanced fusion of sequenced elements and violin, with an apt organ outburst in the closing section.
Side Two starts with the sweet "Ninna nanna per Andrea" (Lullaby for Andrea). In his short review of the album, Battiato describes it as «a kind of symphonic poem chamber, a "program music" intimate story».
"Inno" (Hymn) may not be as effective as Vangelis' "Hymne" but its progressions highlight the more playful side of the Maestro, while "Angeli?" (Angels?) offers a serene reflection on faith, a theme which is very close to his heart.
With "Sagra" (Festival / Celebration) the album returns to a lively mixture of synthesizers, with different melodies chasing each other until the violin bursts onto the scene.
"Note" closes with "Ultimo Lied" (The Last Lied), a romantic «twilight poem», where violin and piano have prominent roles.
 translated from this interview;
 translated from the book "Dedicato a Giusto Pio".
Here's the complete credits and personnel list as translated from the back cover of "Note":
Music by Giusto Pio.
Artistic collaboration by Roberto Rossi.
Produced by Angelo Carrara.
Violin and strings: Giusto Pio
Synthesizers and samplers (Fairlight, Yamaha, Akai, Oberheim): Roberto Rossi
Piano on "Concerto": Roberto Rossi
Drums: Alfredo Golino
Drum machines and programming (Yamaha, D.Drum): Alfredo Golino
Sax: Amedeo Bianchi
Recorded at "Cetra Art Recording Studio" by Ezio De Rosa.
Mixed at "Psycho Studio" by Marti Robertson.
Photography by Giorgio Ciprandi.
Still life by Mario Tedeschi.
Cover by Studio Vertigo.
Giusto Pio as he appears on the back cover of "Note"
The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album, please enjoy "Capriccio", "Halley", "Capitano Nemo", "Inno" and "Ultimo Lied"!
More information about Giusto Pio and "Note" is available here:
If you have any other useful information about this post or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!