To date, the prolific Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia has made over a dozen recordings on Splasc(h). On his just-released 1997 solo recording Musica Centripeta,
he demonstrates yet again that progressive piano music need not be punchy, dense, or provocatively abstruse. Battaglia's brand of improvisation emphasizes melody and flow, counterpoint and harmonic development.
In a sense, the title of this disc is quite descriptive: Musica Centripeta cycles through sonic space with an ever-expanding pull. While Battaglia's simplified, pedal-rich tones superficially share much in common with the New Age aesthetic of tranquility, he bypasses the void by utilizing surprise, variation, and harmonic evolution to make each cycle of expansion a voyage of discovery for the listener. At times Musica Centripeta shares similarities with the contrapunctal conformation of baroque music, but at others it bears equal resemblance to the twelve-tone Schoenberg aesthetic.
In other words, Battaglia speaks clearly with his own voicea progressive synthesis of styles focusing energy on the cyclical nature of harmony and the barest essence of tones required to communicate this information. You won't find any hummable tunes on Musica Centripeta, but neither will you find somnolent repetition or forced abstraction. This disc is a serious study of sound, best appreciated with attentive listening and a mind open to creative synthesis.
Personnel: Stefano Battaglia, piano.