Having worked extensively on electronic and ambient soundscapes in previous projects, modern classical Italian pianist Stefano Guzzetti has signalled a renewed interest for a more simple and acoustic sound in recent times. Releasing his first solo piano collection At Home – Piano Book Vol.I on Home Normal in 2014, the musician has now joined forces with a string ensemble to perform his music to a live audience.
“This is the way I prefer to play live” says Guzzetti whose ensemble includes himself on piano, Simone Soro on violin, Giulia Dessy on viola and Gianluca Pischedda on cello. Coinciding with the launch of his own imprint Stella Recordings and to capture “the studio counterpart” to his live set, the Sardinia-based pianist has released Ensemble on 22nd July 2015 last.
With the exception of the last track “Nana” (comp. Manuel de Falla), all songs on the record are composed by the pianist and are curated from the musician’s previous recordings – his solo album, his soundtracks or his Waves on Canvas project. The string arrangements add wonderful texture and depth to Guzzetti’s short vignettes.
“All our days”, “Harvest”, “Pluvieux” or “Loin” to name but a few are simply gorgeous and touching themes, all exhibiting undeniable cinematic qualities and the concision of every track demands repeated listening. Clocking at a short minute and thirty eight seconds, “Feather” – one of the highlights of Ensemble – could well have been expanded and arranged into a much longer suite. However, the brevity of the song seems to pack a stronger emotional punch.
Ensemble is available from all digital platforms and to reflect the live and “handcrafted” nature of the music, the album was first released as a “handmade” deluxe limited edition of 250 numbered CDs inside a hammered ivory cardboard sleeve with a six-page booklet and 2 postcards.
And on 22nd September 2015 next, the record will be released as a 200 Vinyl 2LP limited edition on Brooklyn Bridge Records with cover artwork by Shinro Ohtake.