Thursday, 14 January 2016


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.

Franco Battiato and Giusto Pio in the late '70s

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" ( can listen to the minimal title track 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.

"Restoration", original innersleeve

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 album of Pop music ("Legione straniera", which I already remastered some time ago, "Restoration", the subject of this post, and "Note"). 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.

"Restoration", original innersleeve

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" and is now also available online, was published in 2010 to celebrate Pio's 85th birthday.

Giusto Pio has turned 90 on 11 January 2016; while searching updated information about him for this post I discovered that he has recently suffered a serious domestic accident. Let this be my biggest congratulations to the Maestro, and I'd also like to take this opportunity to offer him my most sincere wishes for a full recovery.

Franco Battiato and Giusto Pio, early '80s

"Restoration - The Ancient School of Restoration" contains the following tracks:

01. Gente a lavoro (4:01)
02. Happy Morning (3:40)
03. Radio Taxi (3:42)
04. Jour de Fête (3:46)
05. Rodolfo Valentino (3:16)
06. Passato e presente (3:27)
07. El Condor (3:10)
08. Restoration (3:40)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in January 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.

As I already mentioned in the previous post dedicated to Giusto Pio, the overwhelming success of Franco Battiato's "La voce del padrone", co-arranged by Pio - the first Italian album with a certified sale of more than 1.000.000 copies - finally led him to come out into the open with "Legione straniera", his first Instrumental Pop album:

«Working with Battiato in a confident and unbiased way without any preconceptions has helped me to see Pop in a different light. For example, I learned that some songs written by Paul McCartney were every bit as good as some of Schumann's work.» [1]

Recorded just one month earlier, "Restoration - The Ancient School of Restoration" was released by EMI Italiana with catalogue number 3C 064-18610 in March 1983; to date it has never been officially reissued on CD.

Once again, the album was produced by Angelo Carrara and co-written hand-in-hand by Pio and Battiato. Music, arrangements and stylistic features are quite similar to those contained on the LPs released by Battiato under his own name during the early '80.

Francesco Messina, Giusto Pio, Franco Battiato, Alberto Radius and Donato Scolese, circa 1981-82

«"Restoration" includes a few instrumental pieces composed by Franco (Battiato) and me; I also handled all the violin parts. It is mostly an album of Pop music, but it takes its title from a well known pavane by the French composer Gabriel Faurè that we reworked, as we had previously done with Bach, in our completely independent and peculiar way. In fact, when we registered it with SIAE (Italian collecting society for composers' copyrights) we presented both the original Faurè score and ours, so that the percentage of rights is shared between the heirs of the musician and us...» [2]

"Restoration" features the same team of musicians from the 'Battiato Factory' who already worked on "Legione straniera", including Paolo Donnarumma on bass, famous guitarist Alberto Radius and keyboardist Filippo Destrieri.

On this work Enzo 'Titti' Denna (...who probably engineered "Legione straniera" without being credited on the sleeve for an unknown reason...) also takes care of the Fairlight CMI programming, which is played by Destrieri. Compared to the previous release, "Restoration" sounds a bit more electronic to my ears, just like "L'arca di Noè" when compared to "La voce del padrone".

The elegant album cover, based on a drawing by Austrian painter Max Kurzweil, was designed by Francesco Messina «with the intention to 'paraphrase' the graphics of Deutsche Grammophon.» [3]

As already happened for the song "Legione straniera" the previous year, Battiato and Pio also took care of directing a promotional videoclip for the title track. Anyway, no song was issued as a single to 'drive' the album if we exclude this promotional item; I must admit that I don't remember having ever watched that clip then and unfortunately it hasn't resurfaced on YouTube yet... Anyway, you can watch a live performance of "Restoration" here.

One song from the album, "Rodolfo Valentino", was later given lyrics by Francesco Messina and released as a single by Italian singer Farida. Curiously enough, Giusto Pio was not credited as author on this release and Battiato appeared as Kui, one of his psudonyms... This version is available here.

That's all Folks!


[1] translated from this interview;

[2] translated from the book "Dedicato a Giusto Pio";

[3] translated from the book "Ogni tanto passava una nave - Viaggi e soste con Franco Battiato" by Francesco Messina.

Here's the complete credits and personnel list as translated from the back cover of "Restoration - The Ancient School of Restoration":

Music and arrangements by Franco Battiato and Giusto Pio.
Produced by Angelo Carrara.
Art Director: Francesco Messina
Music Publisher: Belriver s.r.l.

Front cover by Francesco Messina.
Drawing on front cover by Max Kurzweil.
Picture on back cover: Ilvio Gallo.

Keyboards: Filippo Destrieri
Drums: Alfredo Golino
Bass: Paolo Donnarumma
Guitars: Alberto Radius
Fairlight Computer (programming): Enzo 'Titti' Denna
Fairlight Computer (performing): Filippo Destrieri
Violins: Giusto Pio
Choir: Franco Battiato and Alberto Radius

Recorded at Radius Studio in February 1983.
Sound Engineer: Enzo 'Titti' Denna

Giusto Pio as he appears on the back cover of "Restoration"

The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album, please enjoy "Gente a lavoro", "Radio Taxi", "Rodolfo Valentino" and "Restoration"!

...and here's a live rendition of the title-track as performed in 1984 for an Italian television show; the audio sucks, but still is nice to see Mr. Pio and the band on stage!

More information about "Restoration - The Ancient School of Restoration", Giusto Pio and Franco Battiato 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!



    If you download this file please consider leaving a comment, your feedback is important!

    Please let me know if the link is broken and I'll do my best to quickly fix it.

  2. Fantastic! Many thanks! Have you the 45 rpm "Automotion"?

    1. Thank you! Yes, I will dedicate a post to "Automotion" sometimes soon.

  3. Thank you, I was eagerly waiting for this one!

    1. You're welcome Tom, I truly hope that the long wait was worth it! I will also take care of the "Auto-Motion" single and the "Note" album in the future, keep checking these pages each now and then, ciao!

  4. Can you post only in mp3 please ? I'll really appreciate. Thanx in advance and happy new year, Indomito

    1. Hi Indomito, sorry but I decided to post only FLAC files on this blog. Anyway, there's a lot of converters available for free online, just try a search for "FLAC TO MP3" on Google... Or you can go directly here ---> <--- and download the latest version of "fre:ac".

    2. Ok, Thank you anyway, I'll do like you suggest. Big "Grazie" from Paris ! (living in).

  5. Grazie mille per la condivisione e complimenti per l'ottimo lavoro di restauro audio!
    C'è anche qualche speranza di sentire "Note" e "Alla Corte Di Nefertiti" ?

  6. Grazie a te per il commento. Il singolo "Auto-Motion (Otomoscion) 1&2" è in arrivo, per "Note" ci vorrà ancora un po' di tempo, per il resto non faccio promesse ma... Keep the faith!

    1. Grande Candyman!! Grazie ancora!
      Sono letteralmente cresciuto con la musica di Battiato.
      Immagina la sensazione di immediata "familiarità" che provo ascoltando per la prima volta queste cose.
      In un attimo appare tutto il contributo musicale e sonoro originale che Giusto Pio ha dato alle produzioni di Battiato, soprattutto negli anni '80.

  7. Stasera cercavo tutt'altro e non so come sono capitato sulla tua pagina, che non conoscevo. Mi si è fermato il cuore: Restoration, da sempre uno dei miei dischi preferiti in assoluto, ed uno dei capolavori che vergognosamente non sono mai stati ripubblicati su cd. Non lo ascolto da quando, un'eternità fa, la cassettina che avevo si smagnetizzò irreparabilmente. Sto per riascoltarlo grazie a te, non ho parole per esprimerti la mia gratitudine.

  8. Grazie, il vostro entusiasmo è contagioso e sono lieto che abbiate gradito questo post. Sì, è una vergogna che "Legione straniera" e "Restoration" non siano mai stati ristampati, sono due album fantastici e avrebbero anche potuto essere messi insieme su di un solo CD in qualche collana economica. Comunque, la prossima settimana arriverà il post riguardante il singolo "Auto-Motion", nel frattempo qualche giorno di vacanza!

    1. Vacanza meritata - sto ascoltandolo in loop da ieri sera, ogni volta con la pelle d'oca... tra l'altro hai fatto un lavoro straordinario, non dico che sembri preso dal master, ma molto poco ci manca O__O Grazie infinite di nuovo, buona pasqua!

  9. GRAZIE! Sto scaricando in questo momento.... E con la mia connessione ci vorranno parecchie ore! Che dire, l' album dorme in un armadio da tanti anni, oggi guardavo un documentario su Battiato e... Si è accesa la lampadina! Da quanti anni non lo sento, mi fiondo su Amazon per cercare il cd ( il piatto è sepolto in un altro armadio) ODDIO non è mai stato masterizzato. E dopo una rapida ricerca eccomi qui. Grazie ancora per l' impegno e questo rinnovato viaggio nei miei 16 anni. Di sicuro nel caricatore cd dell' auto per andare al lavoro!

    1. Benvenuto! Lieto che tu abbia trovato qui quel che cercavi, buon ascolto!

  10. Link is broken ohmboy.

    1. Hi, I checked the link: it works like a charm, please try again!

  11. Hi!

    I was watching a documentary about Villa Farnesina in Rome and realized I recognized some music in the background, at about 1:45 minutes into the clip you hear some orchestral piece sounding like the track "Restoration", except for the pop beat, Radius' guitar and sparse vocals.

    Forgive my ignorance but is the melody of the title track an original Pio production or is it based on some older classical music piece written by some other composer (I know Pio was a classically trained musician).

    /Fredrik in la Svezia


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