horizontal line

Giorgio Gaslini is a pianist, composer, improviser, conductor, teacher and all-round elder statesman of Italian music. He has written operas and ballets, scored over 40 films (most notably Antonioni’s La Notte), played with jazz luminaries such as Anthony Braxton, Don Cherry and Steve Lacy, and recorded innumerable albums, including tributes to a diverse selection of musical heroes, from Robert Schumann to Albert Ayler. He clearly subscribes to Duke Ellington’s dictum that great music is ‘beyond category’.

Now in his 80s, Gaslini continues to give concerts and release discs that uphold this ecumenical spirit. Piano Solo: Incanti, a live recital from Messina in May 2011, sketches an outline of classical repertoire from Monteverdi to Bartók, slips in Cole Porter’s Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye and filters it all through the sensibility of a consummate improviser.

Whether it is the subtle romanticism of Fauré’s Au bord de l’eau or Barbara Strozzi’s baroque lament Soccorrete, luci avare, Gaslini treats his sources with loving respect, keeps his improvisations pithy and plays with a finesse that he has refined over six decades.

His take on Handel’s Lascia ch’io pianga is spare yet tender, with a fleeting hint of the blues; remarkably, his version of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, shorn of its jingoistic text, is both charming and tinged with sadness.

The liner notes talk about Gaslini’s ‘search for beauty’; on the disc itself, he delivers his findings – and a few surprises – with a master’s touch.

GRAHAM LOCK Read the full review on Agora Classica

   Read full review   

To continue reading, please upgrade to a premium account. You will have immediate full access.

Read more classical music reviews online here:

Piano International, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing