Italian composer Giuseppe Costa’s recording output is very impressive, with around eighteen projects released in the last three years. Among them, Semplice. A twenty-part solo piano project released in 2017. While the title suggests simplicity, it is an album full of musical diversity and complex ideas, merged together seamlessly and beautifully executed.
Costa’s music is more than just minimalism. While minimalistic music tends to lean towards tonality, Semplice surprises by its adventurous colours and harmonies. Of course some of it recalls the works of Philip Glass and minimalism precursor Erik Satie’s—less famous work—Le Fils des étoiles (Parte uno). But there is also some post-minimalism à la Batagov (Parte tre or cinque), some repetitive music (Parte nove), serial and post-expressionist music (Parte quattordici or venti), some jazz (parte otto or sedici reminded me of Keith Jarrett’s La Scala recording) and even some hints of Bach’s music (Parte sette).
Costa cites Jarrett as one of his major influence, which verifies with his concept of instant composing and constant improvisatory feel. Jarrett’s influence is also present in the way Costa has shaped his recording, sliced in different parts. Improvisation seems to be at the centre of Costa’s approach to creating music.
Contrary to many composers, Costa started playing the piano and writing music very late. And it is indeed noticeable in his release—Semplice is full of sensible music, where everything seems to be at the right place, no superfluous technical display; diverse, adventurous and daring enough, and at the same time very accessible.