RINASCITA by Paolo Cognetti – the album track by track
My piano compositions are essentially a musical diary. Just like a journal, each track relates to a specific event, emotion or thought and is told straightforwardly – but never superficially – through the notes. The album RINASCITA is the first collection of these kind of compositions and it expresses the necessity and desire to share with others what was first conceived as an intimate thing. Paradoxically, I believe that music may be able to speak to everyone when it arises from a single life experience, so that it fecundates and takes on new meanings.
Rinascita, the track that gives name to the album, reflects a turning point in my life. Rinascita is the choice that, by its own definition, excludes all others; this choice entails risk and, thus, requires confidence to be made. Musically speaking, this path is expressed with an element presented early in the track and after exploring its nature through several perspectives, finds an intense crescendo at the end: its definitive transformation.
Da nessuna parte (Nowhere)
This track represents a moment in which I decided to valorize rationality, putting the emotional sphere aside as far as possible. Its extreme formality, thematic essentiality and rhythmic regularity are, therefore, its more evident features. At the end of the composition, I realized that this attitude would have brought me nowhere, hence, the title of the track.
Viagem (portuguese word for ‘journey’) is a track composed on the spur of the moment, riding the emotional wave caused by a mourning. A melodic fragment passes through, in what wants to be a concise metaphor for every human life. Four sections form this piece: the first refers to mundanity; the second has a more palpable spiritual nature; the third section gives back, with its cyclicity, the sense of a path, of a movement with great directionality; the fourth and final one is the detachment from the body, represented symbolically by the higher piano sounds (soul), executed with the lightest sonority (departure) and set against those of the instrument’s mechanics (body).
A moment of pure contemplation. An ideal place of serenity where conflicts are just a distant echo. Where you lose yourself and find yourself again, following the destiny of what is no more (or less) than a simple theme.
Are we or are we not standing on an invisible, small spinning top, warmed by a sunbeam, on a little grain of sand gone mad that spins and spins and spins, without knowing the reason why, without fulfilling any destiny, as if it enjoyed spinning around like that…
Said Luigi Pirandello in Il fu Mattia Pascal, one of the most famous expressions of his pessimism. I’ve been very fascinated by this “cosmic” vision and have made it my own for many years. However, music, conceived as a creative act, by its own definition denies a senseless perspective (if nothing has meaning, is there any reason to write?). Intorno focuses almost exclusively on one thematic element that appears constantly spinning on itself. To me, it marks the total freedom from this perspective: even if we were on an “invisible spinning top”, or on a “small sand grain gone insane” that wouldn’t make life any less worth living.
Immobile di fronte all’abisso (Immobile in front of the abyss)
Immobile di fronte all’abisso precedes Rinascita in its conception, reflecting a moment in which I felt incapable of making incisive decisions. The recurring vision was of an abyss considered as a positive place where happiness was awaiting me. On top of it, I walked between lights and shadows that emerged one by one and I was unable to leap. I feared the risk that every act of trust involves.
Un altro sguardo (Another perspective)
If it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people. It is easier to protect our feet with slippers than to carpet the whole Earth.
This thought of A. De Mello has accompanied me for many years. When I quote it during concerts, the audience smiles. The truth of the second affirmation can’t be denied, but the idea that this approach could really be a means to inner- and outer-peace is difficult to understand and accept. Looking at the world with different eyes is part of the process of the constant change of the self that is, and I am sure will be, decisive in many occasions. This piece, with its musical “openings”, is an attempt to tell the joy that comes from the refreshment of another perspective.
Gaze in thine own heart
In 2014, I spent a few months in Los Angeles where I experienced a moment of intense transformation. Far away from the places and the people that formed my existential ways, I (re)discovered a forgotten dimension: the freedom of being who I am. Thanks to this freedom, some new aspects of my personality emerged – some good, others not. Gaze in thine own heart talks about these discoveries and the inner conflicts that derive from them. The general trend of the track, both in its formal aspects and its constitutive elements, is almost Manichaean with its clear juxtaposition of good and evil, light and shade. Even though this doesn’t represent me anymore, in fact, I replaced it with an attitude that focuses more on the complexity and contradictory nature of our souls, it was very important to me at the time. That’s what I wrote to a friend that listened to the piece just as I finished composing it and I named it after a quote from the poem The Two Trees by W. B. Yeats:
Gaze in thine own heart […] is about time passing, […] about falling and getting back up, about night and the light that can be found only in it, about listening, about waiting, about patience, about melancholy, about duality, about the sea, about conflict, about dissonance, about the transformation of the self
Piccola Danza (Little Dance)
A Steinerian friend defined this track as “Celtic”. Perhaps it is true that some of its characteristics evoke that world of sounds but I am not sure I have ever fully understood the reason for this definition. I wanted to share this thought because I always love to think about music as the fruit of many encounters: between the author with himself/herself, between the piece and the audience or its recording (one of infinite possible recordings), between the author and the audience and so on, resulting in something that, complicated by the dynamic nature of all the parts involved, has unpredictable and endless outcomes. The track, with its ternary rhythm that both evokes and stylizes the dancing element, arises from the pure and simple desire to write, and it’s in this “abstract” nature that dwells the possibility of relating to it with great freedom.
I was twenty years old; the next day would have been my sister’s birthday and, as it happens, I waited until the last minute to get her a present. To her, I decided to dedicate one of my piano improvisations that I recorded the same night to give her the next day – I gave it a generic title: Winter Sea. Several years later, I found this recording and I listened to it again with great curiosity. The second part of the composition, Onde, impressed me so deeply that I wanted to get it on score. It is the most meditative of my pieces, all of it focused on an ordinary experience that I really love: being by the sea. The principal musical element evokes the characteristic movement of the water on the shore. The piece alternates between moments where the hands are at different ends of the piano’s register – a little like when the eye embraces the entire width of the landscape – and moments where the hands are close to each other evoking focus on a detail: a rock, the foam, a transparency. The constant utilization of the pedal creates a multitude of resonances very close to the natural reflections produced by water. The color of the sea changes partially because the weather conditions are changing, for instance a cloud appearing or the sun going down, and partially because the way we look at it changes. The sea is the greatest mirror of our soul and so the music alternates bright and Apollonian sections with darker ones (almost threatening omens) to other sections of transition in which, as often happens in life, it is not possible to establish what prevails, and what imposes itself is, if anything, the awareness of complexity.
Music Composed and Performed by Paolo Cognetti
Produced by Lawrence Fancelli and Paolo Cognetti
Recorded and Mixed by Lawrence Fancelli at Officina Sonora del Bigallo
Mastered by Tommy Bianchi at White Sound Mastering
Mastering Assistant: Niccolo Caldini
Fashion Designer and Stylist: Erica Marigliani
Photography: Andrea Cresci
Artwork: WOS UP
Label: OSB RECORDS
Publishing: Warner Chappell Music Italiana
Digital delivery: Artist First
Legal Aid: Mario Palazzi
Press Office: Pixie Promotion – Raffaella Tenaglia
Management and Booking: Aurelio Colucci