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London, 2020

Glenn Natale is an American composer and pianist whose debut album is the release Follow the Pines, with the Italian label Blue Spiral Records. It is for the artist a compilation of moods and experiences drawn from his numerous trips out West — North America. It is the description of the scenery, the mountains, the woods, and their impact on the artist, that are at the forefront of Natale’s work.


“Idaho Rain” immediately expresses the impressionistic idea of Follow the Pines; the cascading notes that recall the sound of the rain, the felt piano that gives a dry quality to each note. “Flight of a Joyful Finch” is a piece that sits between the ballade and the lullaby — and still with some sort of impressionistic ideas, here and there. From these two pieces, one understands that there are actually many musical ideas in Natale’s work. 

Indeed, “Follow the Pines” is somehow misleading; with the sound of the felt piano one would expect simple — and few — ideas, but the music is actually very (post-)romantic and full of elements, and harmonic motions, such as in “Magical Day”.

In “In Contemplation” there is no felt piano, and the surprise is the presence of strings that very lightly support the solo instrument. “Sunset Lullaby”, is another surprise, with here and there unexpected rhythmical phrases and harmonic divergences.

“I Saw the Light” is a lot simpler than what has been heard so far, possibly to allow the direct expression of some sort of nostalgia, and announces the last two pieces “In a Dream” and “It Is You”, which, while keeping some of the impressionistic and improvisatory approaches, are a lot simpler in their content. As if the composer had consciously focused most of his musical ideas towards the beginning and central part of the album, and had left the end of it disappear progressively. 


Focusing on the solo piano, Follow the Pines surprises the listener with many particularities; a certain form of contemporary romanticism, many elements of spontaneity and overall a plethora of miniaturist musical ideas that make many of the pieces of the album stand out.

It is a surprising release, which announces something without really developing towards it. Follow the Pines is for solo (felt) piano, but there are many details here and there that separate this work from others, and makes it a very particular and honest release.

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