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.
Track Listing: Il Volo Dell'Ibis; Intessitura; Pian Del Lago; Musica Centripeta; Arca; Dardo; Melancholia Generosissima; Diaram; Accade; Madame Blavatsky; Illusionista; Limbus.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.