THE MINIMAL PIANO SERIES VOL. II

London, 2019 

Blue Spiral Records (BSR) is an Italian record label that aims at getting exposure to composers that—according to the label—do not receive the attention they deserve. During the summer of 2017, BSR initiated a contest to gather piano pieces from around the world. The contest was judged by an array of international composers and musicians such as the composers Lubomyr Melnyk and Bruno Sanfilipo, the pianists Matthew Mayer and Olivia Belli, as well as the blogger Giuseppe Trotta and BSR label manager Italia Buccino. Essential to the contest was the criteria of minimalism; reflected in both the compositional elements of the pieces or the genre’s aesthetic characteristics. After a successful first compilation entitled The Minimal Piano Series Vol. I, BSR returns with a second opus—The Minimal Piano Series Vol. II—compiled in the same manner as the first one, and reflecting once more the label’s altruistic approach.

 

There is an intense diversity in the selection of the pieces for The Minimal Piano Series Vol. II. Some pieces flirt with Impressionism—such as Fabio Nuzzolese’s Il Colore del vento, which also strongly winks at a famous Turinese composer—and French contemporary classical—such as Capricorne by Jordane Tumarinson. Other pieces bring memories of Eastern Asia—Reis Taylor Dixon’s Breathe, the Year is 1991—through electronic pop à la Air. Many pieces evocate nature; such as Leaf Cycle by Christina Hingham—which trough a repeating single note and balancing triplets conveys the idea of falling—Daniel Schun’s Summer Rain—that paints a vivid image of the tragic warm summer rain and the rush to hide from it—and also Le Vol des hirondelles by Pedro Santos Sequeira—that translates in music the murmuration of birds. Furthermore, Lionel Scardino’s Quimera’s tribal instrumentation illustrates the crack of dawn in the vast and dry landscapes. There are some more simplistic piano pieces that surprise the listener by clever harmonic choices such as Every New Day by Cynthia Garcia or Beyond Dusk by Carmine Dente. Resilienza’s—by Pablo Mellado Rodriguez—suggestive piano theme leaves very little for the listener to be submerged in dramatic strings. Finally, Silver Apple of the Moons by Traveller reflects the lunar cycles that is suggested in the title, through a fluctuating piano pattern creating an ever changing sheet of sounds. The minimalism of the music is equally reflected in the artwork of Gabriella Sudjono: “Blur, Black and Swirl”.

 

The Minimal Piano Series Vol. II aims at presenting talented musicians that are not well known yet—and it succeeds brilliantly. For most artists it is very hard to find information about, and for many this compilation is the opportunity for a first recording. What a delight; whether it is for vaghy, whose Invisible Touch makes the listening of this compilation worth it, Alexander Merkulov’s Destiny, first born of Philip Glass and Vladimir Martinov—and a study in minimalism—, or Fakhteh Hajihossein, whose Blue Bells ventures in the territories of electronic-acoustic music through pianistic cells and loops. With this series of compilations, BSR has started something that will not only help contemporary classical composers get more exposure, but that through the years will remain as a reflecting glass of the independent classical music scene of the early 21st century.

 

© 2020 Doug Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

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