Stefano Battaglia Theatrum

Rito Stagionale

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Perplexing and complex music, to say the least, these three sprawling pieces composed by the highly talented Italian pianist Stefano Battaglio occasionally veer toward new age sounds, but ultimately the presentations stand as important contributions with moments of high suspense. Battaglia's orchestras are heavily weighted with saxophones and string bassists, and he tends toward slower tempos that permit a piece to build with time. For some portions, Battaglia can be very melodic and even sweet, but for others, the harmonies seem to explode and the soloists follow suit. Other than the composer, who performs on piano, none of the members of the groups are likely to be recognized by many outside Italy. Yet, the bands are clearly well rehearsed, with the complicated parts performed flawlessly. The soloists, too, keep closely to the moods of the pieces, with integrated improvisations. Battaglia can be difficult listening, demanding close concentration and patience from the listener, but he is always worth hearing.