Stefano Battaglia piano, prepared piano
Michele Rabbia percussion, electronics
In this beautiful duo album by two of Italy’s most creative musicians, roles are frequently overturned, as lyrical percussion shades into electronics and texture turns to melody. Stefano Battaglia reminds us that the piano is also a percussion instrument and Michele Rabbia is sensitive to all the tonal implications of drums and cymbals. The musicians play with and without scores in material that is variously open-form, tightly-controlled, inspired by folk idioms, by liturgical music and by art installations. Battaglia allows beautiful themes to ripple through the work, and sounds are given room to blossom. Duets for piano and percussion have long represented an important zone in the work of Stefano Battaglia (in the early 1990s, he collaborated with both Tony Oxley and Pierre Favre). Since 2000, Michele Rabbia has been Battaglia’s principal percussionist, appearing on both of his previous ECM releases – “Raccolto” and “Re: Pasolini” – as an ensemble member and fellow improviser. On “Pastorale” the musicians shape the music together.
ReviewsThe latest CD from the freely improvising Italian piano and percussion duo is a gently undulating soundscape of spaced notes and hovering textures. As the eleven pieces unfold, Rabbia's tinkling glass electronics swirl like mist round Battaglia's recisely resonant piano. - Mike Hobart, Financial Times