see track listing below review
Giorgio Mirto (guitar)
rec. November 2011 and January 2012, Casa Sonora studios, Grugliasco,
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9258 [63:10]
Imagine a room lit by a fireplace. It is dark, but in a cozy not
scary way. The fire dances and the shadows move and form weird images
and shapes on the walls. The entire room is filled by the sound of
a guitar. This sound is remarkably resonant. Every note seems to create
a broad halo around it; these linger in the air and merging create
haunting harmonies. The music is not familiar but beautiful. Each
piece has a different face and makes a different impression: the many
shades of the evening mood.
These are all Nocturnes in that they create a nocturnal atmosphere,
but without a nod to Chopin or Field. Actually, musically they are
much closer to Villa-Lobos - think, for example, of the Brazilian
composer’s five Preludes for guitar. There is no sadness, but
a dreamy relaxation: you come home tired, you sit in a comfortable
armchair, submerge into the twilight world and watch the play of the
shadows. The recording is very close and resonant, which practically
puts the listener inside the sound and increases this personal connection.
Giorgio Mirto opens the disc with three Nocturnes composed by himself:
apparently, he is an interesting and skilled composer. The three pieces
are multi-layered and ballad-like. They evoke a series of images -
maybe stories, maybe memories. There are stimulating harmonic progressions
and memorable motifs, but above all, there is music, which
goes beyond the simple building blocks of melody, rhythm or harmony.
This is also true of other works on the album. Most pieces are painted
in a cold and dark palette. After Torresan’s bittersweet Notturno
come two pieces by Manca, each sad and a little depressive. Di Salvo’s
Penelope beautifully conveys the feeling of long sleepless
waiting. Ninna nanna a Donegal is a luminous lullaby, full
of love. The melody and the accompaniment are simple and endearing.
La colline di Karen is a slow, atmospheric, Debussian half-waltz.
Albini’s Corale is all about harmony. With its nervously
throbbing pulse, it could be one of Bach’s WTC preludes. From
Pujol we have a sad, fado-like song, static and reflective. Lasala’s
Nocturno brings us to the same night garden where Debussy has
walked in the moonlight. All is quiet - all is good. The music swings
slowly, like a leisurely pendulum.
Rózsa’s Valse crepusculaire is a dreamy, wistful
waltz, with an instantly memorable melody. It creates thoughts about
sitting near a campfire in the night woods with the smoke rising to
the tree tops. The sparks fly and fade, and there’s a vast brooding
presence. Finally we arrive at York’s Into dark. We are
sleepy and so is the music. The fire is dying in the fireplace, the
cinders glow, the darkness quietly and comfortably comes closer. We’ll
go to bed now, and all will be good. The music calmly fades away.
The performance is inspired. Mirto applies light rubato very
naturally, and his dynamic gradations are well calculated. His touch
is soft yet strong, and his manner of sound-producing is truly singing.
The guitar’s voice is sonorous, without the wooden dryness.
There are no micro-delays in front of difficult chords. My only complaint
is about the occasional extra-musical sounds produced when the guitarist
moves his fingers along the strings - these little shrieks and squeaks
and hisses are annoying. They are not too distracting, yet noticeable.
The sound is very full, sometimes organ-like. The acoustic fullness
and closeness creates the impression of almost touching the strings.
This is a lovely disc. Trying to put it into “background”
mode regularly failed: I dropped the stuff I was doing and sat to
listen. When it was over, the “Repeat” button was always
there to help.
Giorgio MIRTO (b.1972)
Three Nocturnes [15:27]
Livio TORRESAN (b.1956)
Roberto MANCA (b.1963)
Notturno No.3 [4:14]
Rosolino DI SALVO (b.1970)
La notte di Penelope [5:33]
Giorgio SIGNORILE (b.1962)
Ninna nanna a Donegal [4:41]
La colline di Karen, notturno africano [4:16]
Giovanni ALBINI (b.1982)
Corale No.45, notturno [5:37]
Máximo Diego PUJOL (b.1957)
Angel E. LASALA (1914-2000)
Miklós RÓZSA (1907-1995)
Valse crepusculaire [4:25]
Andrew YORK (b.1958)
Into dark [2:38]