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L'ESTATE DEL '78

London, 2019

Marco Di Stefano is an Italian composer that alternates between technology and music, whether through improvising or through composing—an equilibrium that reflects in his works. After having studied with the likes of Giovanni D’Aquila, Adriano Guarnieri and Luc Brewaeys, the musician now composes music that is a paradigm of the point of contact between tradition and modernity. Inspired by the novel of the same name by Alajmo, L’Estate del ’78 is Di Stefano’s latest release and first with the Italian label Blue Spiral Records. An opportunity for the composer to explore musical storytelling through ten musical piano chapters.

 

There is a romantic element present in many of the pieces of L’Estate del ’78; whether in the ballade Vigilia, or the lyrical and melancholic L’Ultima volta de ogni cosa—the beginning of the entire project. Based on a descending scale pattern, which is echoed in both registers of the piano, Il Sorriso e l’assenza builds on the contemporary romantic style of the previous pieces. Di Stefano seems to be constantly looking for a balance between romantic music and contemporary music, that winks both at Beethoven and Glass. It is difficult to find a moment in L’Estate del ’78 where lyricism is not at the forefront; Basta—seemingly based on a Bach fugue motif that opens and closes the piece—evolves progressively into a lyrical aria, while Ho scelto io il momento is again constructed on very strong melodic line. However, there are also more contemporary approaches in Di Stefano’s compositional style. Il Talento di Elena is abstract and adventurous, and after a second listen one can find traces of impressionism and experimental music; a delicate addition to the lyricism of the other pieces. Prima o poi features melodic material, but is also well constructed piece with sound collages of speeches in the composer’s native language. Di Stefano is truly a piano composer; he uses the full range and quality of the instrument, and balances technique with the elements of music—dynamics, rhythms, melodies, harmonies and colours—as in Via Marturano 25, as well as adapting traditional classical forms to a more modern musical grammar (Intermezzo)

 

L’ultima volta di ogni cosa is the starting point of Di Stefano’s latest project L'Estate del '78. After having dreamt of the melody, the Italian composer then drew inspiration from the novel to create his own tale. Mirroring the stories and its characters, the album is an occasion for the composer to reinterpret the story and narration with his own musical vocabulary, between tradition and modernism. A well crafted depiction of the Sicilian rural hinterland and visual personality, it is a delicate selection of music to be played at night, or any other time of the day.