Regardless of the central role Conte assigns to his music, and its renowned quality, it is impossible to ignore the amount of critical recognition, in Italy, France and Holland in particular, that has comes his way over the years on account of the expressivity and aptness of his lyrics.

In 1991 after receiving a literary prize dedicated to the great Italian poet Eugenio Montale for the section "Verses For Music", it was not long before comparisons were being drawn in the press and elsewhere both with Montale and with a good number of other poets and writers. This was in many ways inevitable because so many people had for so long seen in the lawyer's songs an unrecognised poetic value and expressive devices of poetic origin and quality, but the artists himself sees it a little differently:

"...Si tratta di arti molto diverse. La poesia non deve porsi il problema dell' interpretazione. Per noi (cantautori) il rapporto di peso, di spazio, e di vuoto nella convivenza tra musica e parole è un rapporto molto delicato, va curato con calma: perchè i colori e le capacità evocative di una frase musicale e di una frase testuale potrebbero neutralizzarsi se fossero troppo espressivi. Nella valutazione finale, comunque, bisogna tener conto di un senso poetico generale. Anche nella musica deve esserci poesia, così come nel testo, nelle cadenze, nella composizione, nell'orchestrazione, nell'intensità dell'interpretazione. E l'insieme armonico di queste componenti che deve essere poetico..."(1)

"We are dealing with two very different art forms. Poetry does not have to take into account the question of rendition. For us (singer-songwriters) the relationship between weight, space and emptiness in the coexistence between music and words is a very delicate relationship, it must be handled with great care and patience, because the colour and the capacity for evocation of a musical phrase and of a verbal phrase could neutralise each other if they were too expressive. In the end, however, one must bare in mind a general poetic sense. Even in the music there has to be poetry, just as there must be in the lyrics, in the cadences, in the composition, in the orchestration, in the intensity of interpretation. It's the harmonic togetherness of these elements that has to be poetic."

In putting together his lyrics, therefore, the composer has not only a specific score in mind and a particular rendition, but in doing so he is also acutely aware of the need to be communicative without overshadowing or otherwise working to the detriment of his beloved music.



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