First published in the Guardian on 17 November, 2016
Giuliano D’Angiolini: Cantilena
Quatuor Parisii, Melaine Dalibert, Manuel Zurria etc (Another Timbre)
A port in the storm, this. Giuliano d’Angiolini is a Paris-based Italian composer and ethnomusicologist who makes music of whispered, consolatory indeterminacy. He’s probably best known (if he’s known at all) for a 2011 album called Simmetrie di Ritorno, but I’d argue this new release is more sublime, or maybe just more timely. It contains poised and attentive performances of the piano piece Finale, the string quartet (suoni della neve e del gelo) and the five-flute Aria del flauto eolico, all of it the most discreet and enabling kind of chance music — like John Cage, d’Angiolini uses procedures that play out differently every time — that isn’t didactic or abrupt and doesn’t resort to shock tactics. Instead it lays sounds bare and leaves generous opens spaces for a listener to feel her own responses, or not. This is music in the present tense, no guile or bile or shouting, no post-truths.