Benedetto Boccuzzi: À Claude

The Claude in question is Mr Debussy but if you’re expecting an album of Clair de Lune delicacy you’d be mistaken, as Boccuzzi’s album takes off from where Debussy leads, moving from the dreamy to the avante garde, the idea being to show the link between Debussy and composers old and new, including Boccuzzi himself.

The opening piece is as might be expected, Cloches À Travers Les Feuilles being from Debussy’s Images suite. It was inspired by church bells and it gives the melodious sound of bells a watery feel. It is followed by Et La Lune Descend Sur Le Temple Qui Fut from the same suite, this one slightly darker and definitely more moonlight than water, and then Poissons D’or, both more eastern in sound.

(Quasi) Notturno is next, one of Boccuzzi’s own, and heads off where Debussy was pointing, impressionistic and atmospheric, at one point Boccuzzi playing the inside of the piano. It leads without any noticeable join into George Crumb, starting with his Pastorale (From The Kingdom Of Atlantis). Crumb is followed by Messiaen.

A lot of this was new to us and writing about it is harder than listening. Once the – as it transpires – easy listening of Debussy is over it’s an album that creates mood and atmosphere rather than offering up tunes and melody. It’s not hard but neither is it delicate, and you’ve got to get involved in the rough and tumble to enjoy it.

The sleeve notes and the quotes we found from Boccuzzi suggest intensity and arty earnestness, but we benefited from getting this from Benedetto himself, his message suggesting a polite man who also knows how to get his hands dirty selling his own works. We heard this more as a pianist wrestling works to his own ends and creating something new. Well worth a listen if you’re feeling adventurous.

You can buy this from benedettoboccuzzi.com

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