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London, 2022

1751 is one year after the death of Bach. For Luca Longobardi, this date represents five years of research, study, creativity and practice. The Italian composer’s latest release is not only a creative project, but also an educational piece; an attempt at better understanding baroque music and its practices, and through it Longobardi’s own music and work. It is also the musician’s return as an exclusive performer; with amongst its eleven pieces, four Scarlattis, intended to support his instrumental electronic suite. 


“Aura (sul Sistema Temperato Equabile)” reveals the direction that Longobardi has been taking — and actively working on — over the past few years. Steering away from traditional composition and finding comfort in the world of sound design and multi-sensory experiences. A pulsating almost dehumanised electronic tapestry. Biber’s “Annunciazione (dalle Sonate del mistero)” merged with Scarlatti’s “Sonata in Do# minore K247” is a stark contrast, yet fitting successor to the unsettling introduction of 1751. Longobardi, here supported by Laura Masetto on the violin, slowly reveals his personality as a performer on the main supporting material — the music of Scarlatti. Through the mist of the electronics, a sensitivity progressively reveals itself. Each appearance of Scarlatti, the consequent “Sonata in Re Minore K1” and “Sonata in Mi Maggiore K380”, appears as a relief, a clear sky after the storm and a strike of light. The choice of the baroque pieces seems to have been focused on the most in-temporal of them — if all baroque music is not in-temporal —, allowing them to breathe in the 21st century just as much as they did a few centuries ago. Is this not the essence of baroque music after all? Longobardi’s choice of this era has been clever enough to allow the music to adapt to our ears and current tastes. “Mutazione #1 (Studio sull'Aumentazione)” and “Rain - Seconda Mutazione (Studio sulla Picarda)” both act as transitional musical pictures moving the listener between past, present and future. At the border of tension and instability, yet never quite there. Both pieces, despite their appearance, represent essential angular pieces for 1751. “Notes (Studio sul Pedale)” is a more dynamic electronic passage, electronic cloud. Like all of the pieces of the album, the piece is an opportunity for Longobardi to study and create at the same time. “The Long Walk (Studio sui Manuali)” and its washed out synth, recalls a long obscure tunnel, where crumbly distorted textures evolve over time. Two beautiful conclusions to 1751; “Aria (à la manière de Scarlatti)” seems to close the album as a compendium of all that happened, a fusion between the traditional and the modern, while the “1751 (Corale)” acts as a postlude, a credit to 1751, and a way for Longobardi to bring a sense of serenity to what has been an eventful journey. 


1751 is indeed a journey, and is meant to be listened from beginning to end; it is really the only way one captures the essence of Longobardi’s architectural talent. The album is rich in ideas and if one can only admire the musician’s unique sound and musical approach — as well as its resulting pieces — it is to me the structural quality of the work which gives such a superb narrative and intrigue; and is the mirror of the composer’s past five years embedded in its output. 

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