Daniele VENTURI: Quattro lembi di cielo (2003-05)1; Preludio all’infinito silenzio… (2007-08)2; Planto (2006)3; Charanam (2007)4; Agnus Dei I (2005)5; Bagliori (2005)6; Trois très triste (2007)7; Angeli che avete bisogno del suono (2007)8; Transfigurations (2008)9; Il mare è tutto azzurro (2007)10; Lai (2007)11; Tratti sospesi (2007-08)12. Raffaello Negri1 (vln), Duo Novecembalo2: Chiara Agosti (fl), Diadorim Saviola (hpsi), Nicola Baroni3,5 (vlc), Fabiana Ciampi4(hpsi), Barbara Vignudelli5 (sop), Antonella Guasti5 (vln), Monica Moroni6 (fl), Enrico Calcagni6 (ob), Paolo Panigari6 (clar), Alessio Pisani6 (bsn), Francesca Salvemini7 (fl), Alessandro Carmignani8 (c-ten), Paola Perrucci8,12 (hrp), Fausto Caporali9 (org), Ensemble vocale Arsarmonica10, Duo Dissonance11: Roberto Caberlotto, Gilberto Meneghin (accordion). Bongiovanni GB 5161-2 (1 CD) (http://www.bongiovanni70.com/).

These 12 fine pieces, not quite miniatures, come together as a string of gems or stories in a series. Sometimes the instrumentation is non-standard: flute and harpsichord for Preludio all’infinito silenzio…, accordion duo in Lai. The presence of a piece for organ, Transfigurations, almost justifies the intent of a home recording; however, because there is an Agnus Dei for soprano, violin and cello, and a piece addressing angels for countertenor and harp, Angeli che avete bisogno del suono, we could just as well be in a sacred space.

Some of the titles indicate Venturi is mindful of his country’s musical legacy, the exotic or single words suggest Scelsi and Donatoni, the poetic lines referencing silence and sea could be Nono or Sciarrino. Indeed, Venturi gently introduces us to precious things, to show we are on secure footing. Each piece proceeds deliberately with sensitive economy. When the flute player in Trois très triste sings, this is not for effect but a logical progression. The set is framed with larger solos for violin, Quattro lembi di cielo, and dissolving harp, Tratti sospesi. The Quattro lembi di cielo are engrossing, and in gentle defiance of the program which Venturi has built, I have replayed them independently.

Grant Chu Covell
[April 2016.]