Franco Battiato

Shadow, Light

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These pieces for voices, piano, chamber ensemble, and orchestra are absolutely ethereal. Gentle tempos, layers of subtle harmonic dissonances, and grounded spiritual overtones are the essence of exquisite. Some pieces are similar to Brian Eno's Plateau of Mirrors and Litany of Arvo Part. Five sections for the Latin mass ("Messa Arcaica") are among the pieces, but the whole flows seamlessly in texture and theme. Composer/vocalist Franco Battiato brings 25 years of meditation practice to this music; his voice pleads and comforts softly with a worldly intimacy and touching anguish ("Poverty Patria/Poor Country"). Mezzo-soprano Akemi Sakamoto, on the other hand, sings out victoriously. Persian/Indian touches are evident in the Zenlike "Haiku" featuring vocalist Pouran Ghaffapour. "Ricerca Sul Terzo/Investigations on the Third" begins with angelic choral echoes -- a floating fantasia that takes off in a celebration of tabla, sarod, and tamboura. Performing credits include the I Virtuoso Italiani Orchestra, Athestis Chorus, the Astarte Orchestra of London, and the Coro Chamber Music di Milano. Battiato offers a compelling and timeless experience with a continental flair.

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