SEABOURNE Steps Volume 4: Libro di Canti Italiano
Previous releases of piano music from Peter Seabourne (9/13) gave notice of a composer wholly at ease in the solo piano medium. This latest disc comprises the fourth volume of the large-scale cycle Steps – once again written with the artistry of Giuseppe Modugno in mind, and unfolding along the lines of an ‘Italian songbook’ where such facets as the village of Bertinoro, the life and work of Modigliani and the pianist’s own playing all make their mark.
Libro di Canti italiano (2010) is a sequence of 19 pieces – or rather ‘cameo snapshots’, as the composer calls them – such as embody many of those qualities which might be felt innately Italian. To take four of the pieces, ‘Piccolo canto d’amore tremante’ (No 4) is an unanswered love song, its rippling melody shot through with acute poignancy; ‘Carillon triste’ (No 10) is a deft assembly of bell sounds and metrical patterns that evokes unexpectedly powerful emotion as it intensifies; ‘Canto lontano’ (No 14) is the rapt heart of the sequence, its three subtly differentiated verses marked off by ominous trills in the bass; and ‘Canto gioioso’ (No 19) concludes the collection with a dance-like verve and energy.
Ongoing commitments have meant that Modugno has not yet been able to perform this volume, though the artistry of Fabio Menchetti is its own justification, even if the sound could have done with a little more ambience. Succinct notes from Seabourne and pertinent reflection from Menchetti enhance a further welcome Sheva release.