There is something about the change of seasons that makes us realize so much about ourselves and our place in the world, but no season does that better than Autumn. Autumn Stories, the latest album by Italian composer and piano virtuoso Fabrizio Paterlini was recorded in 14 weeks from September to December last year, a piece every week. What makes this album enthralling is that it captures that melancholy feeling of leaves falling, the weather suddenly getting colder, the feeling that life is coming to an end and that it is time to contemplate on all that is gone.
Paterlini who began his career as a rock musician, at some point decided to focus on playing the piano, which as he says best expresses his inner world. While piano music has been done to death, Autumn Stories is refreshing to the ears, revealing itself to have the dignified beauty that can survive all criticism and make us long for those rare moments when each one of us had the opportunity to witness that beauty in our own lives (and perhaps realize for the first time how valuable those moments are to us). Along with the piano he uses string and other instruments, that certainly add some flavor and variety to the recordings, but it is the soul of the pianist that truly shines throughout the album.
At times resembling the minimalism of Olafur Arnalds, with emotions running wild in the piano melodies, and at others bringing to mind the playfulness of Yann Tiersen (especially his wonderful, nostalgic work in Good Bye Lenin!) takes us on a journey, that he apparently enjoyed as much as we the listeners do. It takes a lot of courage to release a new, emotionally charged piece of music every week, knowing that hundreds or thousands of people will listen to it out of context and comment on it, but I suppose the compactness of each “story” is the result of him doing his best to cut what is unnecessary, and be left with the essentials. The end result is certainly Paterlini’s best work, as he proves to be a composer who wears his heart on his sleeve, and is very much willing to make music that is meaningful, music that evolves as it progresses, and in the end leaves us with the sense of fulfillment that we would like to feel when our Autumn arrives. (John Kontos)