Award-winning pianist, composer, performer and author (yep, he wrote two best-selling, music-themed cookbooks), Australia’s Galliano Sommavilla returns with his latest album, Light and Shade: The Colours of the Piano. Having taken a small break due to the dreaded C-O-V-I-D (and don’t you dare say it aloud, lest it return), Galliano returns fully recovered, his fingers in fine, nimble form. So, is Light and Shade: The Colours of the Piano a collection of contemporary piano music that soothes the mind while igniting the spirit? Let’s hit the highlights.
Wait. Who does what?
Galliano Sommavilla plays the piano. And that’s all the instrument you need to create something emotionally dynamic and delicately resounding.
Now, about those highlights…
The album begins with “The Colours of Caravaggio,” and what a stunning, quietly powerful opener it is. Beginning with twinkling higher notes, a taking flight of sorts, the song soon roams midrange and finds itself – its confidence. A soft resolve permeates the song, curled up as bristled steel inside phrases leaning towards a lament. And in the final chords, that soft resolve is granted compassion, and musically reassured.
Track #3, “Sahara Green,” hits a few opening chords leaning towards jazz, but they quickly fall to “Sahara Green’s” more mournful notes. And after this dalliance in mild desperation, the song begins climbing – in power, in scale, and in degrees of resistance. But there are soft moments. Lonely moments. Times when the piano is a single person who can’t climb. Who can’t resist. But the music, framing the gloom, also grants this person a means to escape. An exit to contemplate in spite of themselves. And that last chord? It doesn’t pronounce victory, but it does signal acceptance.
Track #5, “Elephant Grey,” is a more subdued affair. Think of floating on water with a consistent, rocking ripple steadily raising and lowering your inflatable chair. It’s there, and with music, tells the tale of its shimmering travels beyond and underneath you. You will be lulled to peace, to dream, by music shaped as the morning tide.
Track #7, “Blue Sentiment,” begins with solitary twinkling before courting sorrow. This is a quiet lament; the end of something, and sitting uncomfortably with the emotionally peeling awareness. “Blue Sentiment” is where we all dwell – crouched and cornered – when life no longer strives to assure our happiness.
The finale, “Colours of the Heart,” brings light back to us. There is pain, and there is struggle, but in the music, there is something penetrating the calcified dismay of our spiraling mortal experience. There is hurt inside the earth, but this rumbling – although chaotic and seemingly permanent – is but part of the flow ever upwards. “Colours of the Heart” is every color, every facet of our lives splattering a canvas. And every shape, every creation upon this canvas is indeed a life of value.
But is it good?
Each song runs the spectrum of several emotions while maintaining something nearly divine. You will rest, and you will float upon, each rounded, room-sustained note. Galliano Sommavilla created something truly special here, and I implore you to listen; I implore you to live. Recommended.
BELOW: Listen to Galliano Sommavilla and check him out on Bandcamp. Please support Galliano Sommavilla by visiting his website and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music. And, as always, thank you for supporting real music.
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