GIORGIO GASLINI (b.1929): Murales Promenade for Piano and Orchestra, Piano Concerto, Adagio is Beautiful for 16 Strings.
Catalogue Number: 08S048
Reference: STR 37038
Description: Gaslini's compositional style is an appealing combination of readily assimilable tonality and a quirky unexpected quality likely resulting from his long parallel career as improvising jazz pianist. He has no problem juxtaposing quasi-popular sounding melodic naïveté with serious neo-romanticism and then abruptly wrong-footing the listener with an outburst of wildly discordant chaos or a completely unexpected change of harmony. This idiomatic freedom and a fondness for pizzicato contrabass lines are the only real references to jazz, though; this is not 'classical jazz' or 'crossover' music. Murales Promenade derives its thematic material from a jazz album of the composer's from thirty years earlier, re-imagined in what is effectively a four-movement piano concerto. The piece was supposedly inspired by walking through a Latin American town and encountering a series of large, impressive murals treating a number of subjects, celebratory, sinister, violent, emotionally evocative. These vivid images writ large are conveyed in a series of tableaux now solemn, now agitated, one minute brightly lit, the next obscured by shadow. Adagio follows a very Romantic darkness to light trajectory, beginning with astringent harmonies and an atmosphere of uncertainty, then undergoing a progressive Verklärte Nacht transformation to end in radiance and reconciliation. The concerto was one of the composer's last works, a more completely 'classical' composition than Murales, with suggestions of Messiaen and Prokofiev here and there in a generally more consistent idiom, though with the same free-ranging unpredictability. A series of seven notes gives rise to four movements charting a kind of spiritual journey, beginning with celestial navigation in the dark and becoming progressively more tonal to end with an exultant meditation on an actual spiritual. Alfonso Alberti (piano), Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento; Yoichi Sugiyama.