Reviews. Short Stories (Piano Book. Volume Two) 31 Maggio 2018
Forse è vero, la vita è composta di piccole storie che in molti non sanno serbare con amore. Travolti e stravolti dalla tempesta del quotidiano evitano di aprire le pagine dei propri diari e dimenticano di scrivere quanto di vitale e importante può accadere nel corso di una vita prigioniera della pausa del fine settimana e della schzofrenia lavorativa dei giorni seguenti. Eppure basta un incontro fortuito, qualcuno che improvvisamente appare nella tua casella di posta, uno sguardo attento, un gesto non scontato, l’offerta di ascolto, lo schiudersi di una vera amicizia. Basta non rinunciare e saper accogliere la vita trasformando il piacere, la sorpresa, la speranza e la passione in scrittura, in dolcissima musica che instancabile fluisce a riempire le pagine di quel diario dedicato alle piccole storie, le nostre piccole storie capaci di trasformarsi in reali occasioni di cambiamento e crescita. Aprite quelle pagine bianche, iniziate a riempirle di parole e mentre lo fate lasciatevi avvolgere dalle note di questo album, intense ed intime composizioni per pianoforte scritte da chi ha saputo cambiare il corso della sua vita senza mai rinunciare al sogno, scrivendo giorno dopo giorno, le sue piccole storie. (Mirco Salvadori)

Sound Thread. April 29th, 2018
I truly treasure the atmospheric, introspective music of neoclassical Sardinian composer and pianist Stefano Guzzetti, and am continually impressed with each new collection of his compositions. Dedicated to his sister Francesca: “a beautiful and lovely tiny paper ship,” his new album, Short Stories. Piano Book Volume Two, is the proper sequel to At Home. Piano Book (Volume One), his equally-as-stunning debut masterpiece from 2014. This is the music I save for sunny and snowy Sunday mornings, late night mood music, and any-time-of-day inspirational headphone-friendly mood music. It’s music that calms and soothes the soul, transporting you to a simpler, gentler time and place. The nine contemplative compositions on Short Stories generate an aura of calm and rejuvenation that emanates from Stefano’s artful and carefully executed piano performances. It’s difficult to find the words that do proper justice to adequately describe such beautiful instrumental music. Having said that, I therefore encourage you to explore Stefano’s music for yourself – finding the right time and moment to allow Short Stories to take you away, and ground yourself. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Just as Stefano’s music is attentive to detail, atmosphere and presentation, the same applies to the physical and artistic presentation. Stefano has worked with renowned photographers and designers including Marc Atkins, Vaughan Oliver, Shinro Ohtake, and Chris Bigg among others to provide the perfect artistic packaging and visual accompaniment to his music. Photography and imagery for Short Stories was provided by Renata Floris. The special edition of Short Stories is presented in an individually numbered package, that includes the CD in a four-panel recycled card, plus a 40-page A5 music score booklet of the album signed by Stefano. Beautiful packaging, I must say! (Tom H.)

Drifting, almost falling. April 28th, 2018
“Short Stories. Piano Book Volume 2” is the follow-up to the successful first volume of early 2014, also released by Home Normal. “At Home – Piano Book Volume 1” brought Guzzetti more notice which led to him establishing his own imprint with Stella Recordings, music publishing with Mute Song and vinyl releases through Brooklyn Bridge Records. “Volume 2”, already sold out from the label, takes Guzzetti further into the conversation around important pianists. “Apertura” which is a reworking of a track that originally featured on the tour release “春を待っています (Waiting for Spring)” from 2016, opens the album with a similar close recording sound to his previous album “Alone (Night Music For Piano Solo)” and is a melodic piece that has a constant rhythm that feels more accustomed to non piano music. The track feels sing songy in the way it flows, it’s not linear, but a bit choppy. There is a great tone to the piano that is full of warmth and you just get the feeling of a light summer afternoon with rays of light filtering in. “Hands” feels like a narrative driven piece. The playing is very deliberate with flowing keys and constant rhythms. It feels like a love song in the way it moves and the delicateness is mixed in with the consistency of playing. There is nothing muted or harsh, just really pleasant playing. “Tecla (II)” like “Apertura” is a reworking of a track that originally featured on “春を待っています (Waiting for Spring)” from 2016. This track has a starker feel to it with a mixture of deep and sharp keys and a racing playing feel. You get the vision of Guzzetti playing with one hand minimally striking the keys while the other quickly flows across the keys. Sounds reverberate around adding to the sound scape creating an element of suspense to the piece. The way the track is constructed allows for the mood to build with the minimal elements being the center of attention. “Welcome” a track firmly rooted in the modern classical genre that you could imagine being augmented nicely with a string section. Very cinematic in its approach and make up. The track goes through several sections with most having a slight almost melancholic / despair feeling that hangs at the edges. Changes in the speed of playing and the tone of the piano, give the listener a feeling like you are part of a conversation with the music and the way it is interacting with itself from section to section. “Paper Ship” a repetitive flowing section is joined by a complimenting section of different tone that maintains the tempo and flow as the initial piece. The feel of the piece is one of affection. The piano playing borders on romantic, but it doesn’t feel like a romantic piece, but one more concerned about a deeper connection. The music unwinds nicely with both sections having a rich tone that is very pleasant to listen to. “Namida” stark reverberating glacial minimalism welcomes you to a track where there is a feeling of control. The music utilizes space and timing without being in any form cluttered. Backwards snatches of drones bring this firmly into the ambient sphere which matches the feel of the piano tones. It is a perfect fusion of piano and drones where they match so well and the drones build on what the piano started at the beginning of the track. “Be My Shelter” a fast flowing piece with naturalist sound recording that flows in beautiful fashion that again you could hear being brought into further life with his Ensemble. That is not to say that this is a piece that would only be better with accompaniment, rather it is a testament to Guzzetti because his music has that grand scale feel to it that you can imagine the roar that this piece would have with further instrumentation. It is probably the stand out piece for me because of the consistency in the way it reveals parts of itself over the short three-minute journey. The emotion, the pace, the desire to hear more it’s all there. “The Sky is Clear Now” close recording reveals an ambient slice of piano with long flowing airy drone like tendrils from the keys. I suspect with the title the music is represented this way or vice versa. The music is very airy and like with fluid movements and thought out progressions that work well in ambient music. There is a slight submerged feeling to the piano which accentuates the ambient feel of the track. “Nuvole lontane” translates to “Far Clouds” and has a feeling of music that is traveling away from the listener. The music is composed of three main elements – a repetitive key progression, a light twinkle section and a bass section that drones out with a nice deep tone. The music flows away from the listener in waves and changes in tone as the keys roll in their loop like pattern. All the elements work together well creating a fusion of light elements with a moody undertone. As mentioned before, the last four years have seen Guzzetti come into prominence in the Modern Classical/ Piano scene and with an earlier incarnation as Waves on Canvas, he has been releasing music since 2011. You sense an artist coming into his own and at the height of his powers. Try to search this release out from stockists of Home Normal, you won’t be disappointed. (read the original article here)

A Closer Listen. April 25th, 2018
We like short stories. We also like pianos, the color blue, origami vessels, and the fact that Stefano Guzzetti has dedicated this album to his sister Francesca, “a tiny paper ship.” Over the past half decade, the artist has issued a series of endearing, personal albums, such as last year’s solo piano set, Alone. Many have come with distinctive packaging; the early editions of Volume Two included a 40-page score book. But great presentation is empty without great music, which is why it’s such a delight to encounter yet another positive, engaging set from the Italian composer. As is clear from the title, there was a Volume One, a Valentine’s Day release on Home Normal four years back, perhaps coincidentally titled At Home. Volume Two not only continues to demonstrate his abilities, but connects the music to the literary world rather than the soundtrack world, a development we heartily support. While instrumental music is often associated with film scores, the genre is even better suited to provide the soundtrack to a book. Guzzetti further suggests that these pieces are short stories in themselves and can in fact be read, note by note. But what are they about? Thanks to titles present and past, one can glean a cluster of positive associations: community, family, love, hope, nature, cycles. While many albums include at least one sadder piece, the endings lead to calm closure, and even joy. On this album, the disquiet of “Tecla (II)”s discordant notes gives way to clearing skies. Even though these pieces are constructed as short stories (in contrast to the novels of prior works), they still follow a discernible arc. “Hands” is a caring piece, reflecting not only the hands that play the notes, but helping hands, hands of greeting, hands of comfort, hands that hold other hands, hands that wave hello and goodbye ~ the upper notes like plaintive, open hands, the lower like hands filled with warmth. “Welcome” is a long preparation for company, culminating in a soft reunion. And then there is the tenderness of “Paper Ship,” exuding an encouraging, heartfelt, familial love. Volume Two‘s most melancholic track, “Norida” (which sounds like the Japanese word for “tears”) arrives two-thirds of the way in, but is followed by a happy triptych, the most memorable of which is “Be My Shelter.” By the end, it seems that Guzzetti has not only found shelter, but has become one. While finishing the final chapter, we’re already anticipating the next book. (Richard Allen) (read the original article here)

Rockerilla (n.452, Aprile 2018)
Quattro anni fa, Stefano Guzzetti spogliava per la prima volta la sua espressione artistica delle componenti elettroniche di Waves On Canvas per presentarsi in una scarna dimensione pianistica, da allora coltivata anche in forme più articolate. Il secondo capitolo del suo Piano Book replica gli emozionali contorni notturni del precedente episodio, regalando nove incantevoli miniature pennellate da armonizzazioni compunte e misurate progressioni. Vi è un qualcosa di palpitante e sospeso tra le note dell’artista sardo, il cui approccio istintivo esalta i naturali caratteri del pianoforte in equilibrio tra grazia e pathos. (Raffaello Russo)

Beach Sloth. March 30th, 2018
Stefano Guzzetti delves into a compassionate temperament with the soothing “Short Stories. Piano Book Volume Two”. Keeping things stripped down the essentials allows him to show off his undeniable chops. An impressionistic mode comes to inform the entirety of the collection, at times making his work akin to the similarly emotionally resonant work of Claude Debussy. By avoiding a traditional route, Stefano Guzzetti gives these pieces such a warm, inviting presence. Never overstaying his presence, Stefano Guzzetti’s playing works akin to that of a conversation between old friends, letting every single note resonate strongly. Very tactile “Apertura” is so finely produced that every single movement is fully felt. Rhythms are established, broken up, and reframed in fantastic new ways. Slow-moving and slow-building “Hands” goes for a contemplative mood. Quite dramatic the flourishes of “Tecla (II)” explores rich resonate lower register tones. The quiet solitude of “Welcome” feels so real and so satisfying. Nearly pastoral “Namida” goes for something quite delicate, for every single key feels carefully considered. Stefano Guzzetti lets the space in between sounds come to further sculpt the piece. A wintery presence comes into effect on the tender “Be my shelter”. Sounds echo off into the distance on the dreamy “The sky is clear now”. “Nuvole Iontane” closes the album off with hypnotic cyclical rhythms, becoming ever more mysterious with each reiteration. On “Short Stories. Piano Book Volume Two” Stefano Guzzetti taps into a quietly powerful mood, one that at times becomes so spellbinding. (read the original article here)

Independent Clauses. March 22nd, 2018
“The sky is clear now” – Stefano Guzzetti. It’s one thing to write an album of solo piano works, but it’s quite another to create an album of very high quality in the genre. Guzzetti clearly knows what he is doing–instead of just creating a beautiful melody or an intriguing bass hand, he sets the mood and tone for the piece as it is going along. There are some other sounds to help create the relaxed, somewhat melancholy mood, but it’s mostly the carefully curated tone of the piano, the subtle timing of the notes, and the relationships between the low end and the treble that create this enveloping mood. A beautiful entry into the genre. (read the original article here)

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