Sometimes it’s the little things in life. This album from the Italian pianist is subtitled Music For Piano And Percussion, and, using his own compositions and adaptations of ones by Gurdjieff, Komitas and Guillaume Dufay, creates a very particular space in the listener’s mind.
It’s probably a church, or at least a space with a lot of air in it, a lot of history, a lot of contemplation. It’s cool, but not unwelcoming, gentle and fairly plain, but certainly not austere. And there is no congregation, just quiet music and dust motes floating in the refracted light.
Venier is possibly best known to readers of this blog from his work in a trio with saxophonist/clarinettist Klaus Gesing and vocalist Norman Winstone (their albums are also released on ECM). He has explained how he grew up and is still living in a very small village in Northeastern Italy (It’s the region called Friuli, with its own cultural and historical indentity): “The Adriatic Sea is nearby, then rivers, lakes, hills. There’s lots of silence.”
The sounds we hear are mostly Venier at the piano, but he also plays “sonorous sculptures” created by two artists – bells, gongs, etc. “I thought they could provide an evocative element for free playing,” explains Venier. They are used in a delicate, restrained way, and sometimes serve to bring out the percussive, bell-like sound of the piano.
A beautiful, unassuming album which defies pigeonholing in favour of a more universal poetic, meditative goal.
Categories: CD review