Giulio Fagiolini – Dietro a un Vetro

Dietro a un vetro is soft and caring, like the half-asleep glow of dawn. It warms the space it finds itself in, its gentle notes, which are petite and perfect, sending the listener to a serene place. Italian pianist Guilio Fagiolini populates his music with bright, soulful notes and thoughtful sequences. Fagiolini’s phrasing stands out from the solo piano crowd because there’s something deeper going on here.

In recent years, solo piano albums have become all the rage, not only oversaturating but waterlogging ambient and modern classical music. But this is different. The music is spirited, kind and warm – loving, in fact – and the notes enjoy a full life despite their brevity. This is a stunning debut.

Love is more than an emotion and more than a state of being, and love can be found in the music. It’s an innocent kind of love. The notes are playful, like old friends with an infinite camaraderie. But a sense of intimacy and comfort lingers here, too: it’s like coming home from school on a bright and windy September afternoon; coming home to a loving family. The music is warm and secure, comforting and safe under the covers.

These days, a lot of piano music feels vacant and void of that special something. It appears to go through the motions, favouring ‘likes’ on a preferred social media site rather than memorable, meaningful melodies. Music isn’t supposed to be like that. Fagiolini reminds the listener of the piano’s quiet, sensitive beauty, of its outreach and its introverted nature. Its shy inhales of oxygen are there, but they’re frequently drowned out by a loud, violent world which lost its sanity long ago.

Fagiolini’s music is deeply soulful and tender, understanding of itself and its place in the world. All in all, it makes for a compassionate record, and that’s sure in short supply. The slow and scented melodies don’t crave the limelight, nor do they have underlying motives. They just want to be.

The music is lifted up because its emotive power shines through. It isn’t clouded by a needless complexity, nor does it bury itself in pages and pages of theory just for the sake of appearing fake or flashy. The music doesn’t wear a mask.

All notes are created equal, but the longer you gaze into them, the more these apparently straightforward compositions unfurl. Like looking into the deep, eternal well of the eyes, you start to understand what it’s going through… you begin to empathize with the music. It’s capable of changing your mood, and subsequently your outlook. And that’s why we need more music like this.

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