Stefano Battaglia Trio
The River of Anyder
CD | ECM | 0602527680552 | ECM 2768055 | 08-11
The pure water of the Anyder River flowed through Sir Thomas More’s “Utopia”. Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia celebrates it here, in music uncontaminated by jazz trends. His fourth ECM album by Battaglia, following on from the critically-acclaimed “Raccolto” (Recorded 2003), “Re: Pasolini” (2005), and “Pastorale” (2008) is an organic-sounding piano trio recording with robustly lyrical music that can easily speak to a substantial audience.
Stefano Battaglia: “I set myself the task of writing songs and dances uninfluenced by the sophistication of contemporary musical languages, striving to shape pieces that might have been played on archaic instruments a thousand years ago. I think of it as a kind of music before the idioms.”
If outside contemporary jazz trends, the album is not entirely without precedents, In ECM’s catalogue, the recordings of Gurdjieff’s music or the “Changeless” improvisations of the Jarrett trio could be considered approximate stylistic signposts.
In brief, “The River of Anyder” is – intentionally – a timeless piano trio album.
In preparing the music, Battaglia was inspired by diverse literary, philosophical and spiritual writings and by allusions to mythical and legendary locations. The CD booklet is attractively peppered with quotes from the relevant authors – Thomas More, Francis Bacon, Rumi, Arthur Rimbaud, Hildegard von Bingen, the Sioux chieftain Black Elk and others – with text fragments juxtaposed with fine art photography by Caterina Di Perri.