Stefano Guzzetti ~ Leaf

SR02CD (squared sleeve)Mere months after the review of Stefano Guzzetti‘s last album comes the review of another, this one more springlike in nature but no less lovely.  As the birds precede the piano, and the piano precedes the strings, so do the strings precede the warmer weather that many are yearning to enjoy.  A concert tour featuring many related artists also accompanies the release.

Guzzetti’s orchestral compositions sway in the breeze like thin branches waiting for buds to bloom.  At the end of “Womb,” a dog shakes its leash, ready to go outside.  The glockenspiel of “While you sleep” introduces an even brighter timbre, offset by the mature entrance of the cello: like the same dog seeking to dart around the park, restrained by the steering (yet wise) voice of its master.  “Saliva” is particularly sweet, colored by the clarinet of Lorenzo Baldoni, which withdraws mid-piece along with the strings to allow the piano to guide the listener gracefully to its conclusion.

For the most part the album flows well ~ the liner notes even thank the sequencer.  Yet there are still a few incongruences.  The first is a battle of themes, as the album title seems to imply one thing and the track titles another.  The second is a late-album track (9 of 13) that introduces a shaker noise at 3:29, followed by sharp bursts of laughter.  Light dissonance at the end of the subsequent track continues to disturb.  This is not a problem if the album is played as foreground music, yet becomes a problem if the album is meant to aid rest, or study, or romance.  This being said, we’re talking about only two minutes out of nearly fifty.  The buoyant closer “To the end” restores Leaf‘s sense of solemn beauty, beating back the dissonance like the green dispelling the grey.  (Richard Allen)

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