CD Reviews

Music on the Web (UK)

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

[ Jazz index ] [Nostalgia index] [ Purchase CDs ][ Film MusicWeb ] [ Classical MusicWeb ] [ Gerard Hoffnung ]


Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



BUY NOW
AmazonUK   AmazonUS

 

STEFANO BATTAGLIA
Re: Pasolini

ECM 1716738 (1998/99)



Stefano Battaglia - piano, prepared piano
Michael Gassmann - trumpet
Mirco Mariottini - clarinets
Dominique Pifarely - violin
Vincent Courtois - cello
Aya Shimura - cello
Salvatore Maiore - double-bass
Bruno Chevillon - double-bass
Roberto Dani - drums
Michele Rabbia - percussion
 
CD 1
1. CANZONE DI LAURA BETTI
2. TOTÒ E NINETTO
3. CANTO POPOLARE
4. COSA SONO LE NUVOLE
5. FEVRAR
6. IL SOGNO DI UNA COSA
7. TEOREMA
8. CALLAS
9. PIETRA LATA

CD 2
1. LYRA I
2. LYRA II
3. MEDITAZIONE ORALE
4. LYRA III
5. LYRA IV
6. SCRITTI CORSARI
7. LYRA V
8. EPIGRAMMI
9. LYRA VI
10. SETACCIO
11. LYRA VII
12. MIMESIS, DIVINA MIMESIS
13. LYRA VIII
14. OSTIA
15. PASOLINI

Stefano Battaglia has us captured from the start, waving our lighters in the air on the first track; a slow, richly melodic waltz called Canzone di Laura Betti.

This is Stefano Battaglia’s second album for ECM, and in it he honours his countryman Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975) who was one of the great European filmmakers and renaissance men of the 20th century; the sheer scope of Pasolini’s work and eventful life attracting and inspiring Battaglia to create the project recorded here. Two different line-ups are given music and themes which make reference to the atmospheres of Pasolini’s films, the actors in them, and to the man himself.

The first CD features a group that also tours with the name ‘Pietra Lata Sestetto’. This disc has a lush, melodic emphasis - melancholy, nostalgia and tenderness being amongst the music’s principal emotional characteristics. Battaglia certainly maintains an Italian tradition in this aspect of his music making, and while the tracks have an extended atmospheric feel which can give a sense of static transience, there is always a quality in the playing which brings you back – making you listen more carefully, giving you the feel that you’re missing something a bit special if you just have the thing playing in the background. A highlight for me is the seriously spooky Teorema, which might even be strong enough to save a remake of ‘The French Connection’, should anyone be foolish enough to try.

The second CD has a freer, more improvisatory feel, doing away with the horns and adding Dominique Pifarély, Bruno Chevillon and Vincent Courtois, all names which may be familiar to ECM collectors. Battaglia explores subjects including Pasolini’s troubled relationship with the church, his radical politics, and, on the bleak but moving Ostia, his violent death in 1975. Battaglia says of this particular track, "my piece is intended as a Passion for Pasolini, a soundtrack for the violent and mysterious tragedy which occurred on that night of All Saints..." Several of the pieces are short, sketch like, and with a feel of spontaneous but deeply felt expression. There are some almost Eric Satie-like sonorities here and there in the Lyra pieces (later almost Webernesque) which are variations using different instrumentations. The spirit of Keith Jarrett helps out in the intense piano solo Scritti corsair, and other Battaglia improvisations have a dual rhapsodic-serial feel which always gives you a good brain-massage. The prepared piano appearing in Mimesis, divina mimesis is coupled with bowed percussion to create a doom-laden vision of Dante’s hell. The whole thing ends with the truncated question mark of Pasolini, which has a similar effect to the unfinished fugue of J.S. Bach’s BWV 1080.

ECM’s presentation of these recordings goes beyond their sometimes overly enigmatic style, including several Pasolini film stills which reflect something of the nature of the music. Battaglias’s own detailed booklet notes give an account of the origins of each of the pieces, outlining his programmatic intention and creative impulses. This remarkable double CD won’t have you dancing in the streets, but its cover should carry an advisory warning: ‘the content and message of this recording may affect the way you see the world.’

Dominy Clements


 



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

 

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable Arcodiva
British Music Soc.
CDAccord
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter


Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter

Return to Index

Reviews from previous months


You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: