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When the Royal College of Music hosted the UK’s first festival devoted to composer Ivan Fedele in February this year, it advertised his work as ‘sun-drenched spectralism’. Fedele may be Italian, but as this CD shows, his music is adept at all degrees of heat and light, from the cold but pulsating sonorities of Etudes boréales, inspired by a trip to Finland, to the depths of the night evoked by Due notturni con figura. Fedele (born 1953) is a much-lauded figure on the continent, where the numerous recordings of his work already include a prize-winning disc of his complete solo piano music performed by Ciro Longobardi. Apart from Etudes boréales (1990), Maria Grazia Bellocchio has cannily avoided that repertoire here, opting for one work originally composed for harpsichord (Suite francese) and two others, Two Moons and Due notturni con figura, that feature piano and electronics.

Fedele’s typically spectralist focus on timbre and resonance is attractively varied. He brings a personal fascination with the spatial possibilities of music, plus a refined and delightfully unpredictable sense of form. In Two Moons, for two pianos and two ‘virtual’ (pre-recorded and ‘digitally elaborated’) instruments, presumably all played by Bellocchio, recurring figures interweave at different speeds, creating what Fedele calls ‘spirals of magnetic resonances’. In Due notturni con figura, a single piano is set within an ‘aquarium’ of electronics; the interplay between the former’s submerged rumblings and the latter’s sonar-like echoes makes for eerie, compelling (and drenched) spectralist poetry.

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Piano International, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing