Just Before Dawn

Luca Miti

What we are here presenting is one of the most intimate releases we produced ever. Luca Miti is a “strange” kind of composer and musician. And organizer, too. He has the uncommon attitude to make private experiences and let them become “public” in a very natural way. Primarily known for his compositions (most of them unconventional and ”experimental” in the best sense) and improlive-written collaborations, he’s also a “perfomer” with many different sides. One of these aspects is shown in this album. This is really an “album” in the broader sense. It contains pieces that are “images of life” for Luca. They are parts of his own musical essence. The daily activities, the loving moments, the earliest listening, the deep influences, all of this is comprised in this “lovely” compilation. The Piano is the “classic” instrument of Luca. He’s not the incredibly skilled performer, but he’s, to me, the "real" performer. And, most important, he really “understand” (‘cause he loves it) the music he plays. This CD is not only a collection of beautiful pieces by more or less known contemporary composers. It’s, first of all, a gift that Luca makes to himself and to us, trying to communicate his own experience. You’ll have the chance to discover some little gems in it. And you’ll have the opportunity to listen to them in the most “honest” way you can do.

”I received a copy of the new master, and it was a lovely surprise. I have always thought of you mostly as a composer, but here you are also playing the piano very well. More important, you are a real interpreter. You have found a collection of little known pieces that really go together and you have placed them in what sounds to me like the right sequence. I must add that I did appreciate your interpretation of my own Long Decays. Most people read too fast and don’t give the sound time to really fade out.” (Tom Johnson)

“Luca Miti, who is already present in the 'ants' series both as a composer and as a performer, in this new CD has chosen to present himself exclusively in the role of the pianist, taken in the traditional meaning of the word. And a good pianist he is indeed, and it is to be regretted that he seems rather reluctant to show his skills to live audiences.

The pieces he selected for this release may be ascribed to minimal music, with all the controversial aspects the terms implies. As by now some decades have passed since the period of the greatest splendor of this musical movement perhaps one may speak, in the case of the recent pieces, of neo-minimalism. Not being really an expert of the field I would propose the following, simple, distinction: one type of minimal music, which in its austerity is closer to minimalism in the visual arts, takes the term rather literally, in other words, few sound events are happening, the sound-to-silence ratio shows a clear preponderance of the latter. Cage has pushed this line to an extreme in his organ piece for Halberstadt: one sound event per year. Among the pieces on the CD Michi's Passatempi e giochi d'attenzione n.1 appears to be the one most clearly rooted in this area. Michi's work furthermore transcends, according to the intention of the composer, the conventional 'piece' format, its duration, for instance, was determined by the chosen total length of the CD.

Long decays by Tom Johnson - one of the grand (not yet old) men of minimalism - focuses on the fading away of sounds, and gives ample space to silences that are determined by the lenght of text fragments the performer has to read for himself, inaudible to the listener. The CD shows that also Kurtag, who hardly can be counted among the minimalists, has written a piece in a somehow minimal style.

In the other type the term 'minimal' rather means that the material used is very restricted and undergoes limited variations, but there are nevertheless, sometimes at least, lots of sounds. This applies, for instance, to the 'classic' minimal work on the record, Riley's Keyboard Study n.2, where Miti does a remarkable job as performer.

Knowing Miti's compositional style one would suspect that he is more inclined to the first brand, but as a pianist he appears to be quite at ease with both of them, and the selection actually shows a far greater number of pieces belonging to the second brand. A characteristic which seems to distinguish the 'old' and (at least many) of the 'new' minimalists is the fact that the pieces of the latter are rather short, sometimes very short (specially when compared to the 'oldies') and the touch of intimacy that pervades many of them.The sometimes heavy assertiveness which for years has delighted the fans of Glass, Riley & Co. (La Monte Young was a conspicuous exception) seems to have given way to yet another (possible) interpretation of minimalism: brief "Moments musicaux" with some tendency towards the joli, or "Albumblätter" with the presence of (or should we say the return to) extramusical references. This is enhanced in the pieces by Curran and Chauveau which are placed in an ambient atmosphere. In Delor's Journal we find an attempt to link the compositional process to the composer's life time: the modules of the pieces were composed one per day over a certain period. In Piva's pieces the extramusical reference is the architectural structure of the church "San Paolo alle Tre Fontane". The remaining pieces (Guidi, Masin - who also wrote their pieces for Luca - and Burnell) appear to share quite a similar atmosphere as the ones mentioned above, even Spiegel's Cyclic Score nr. 2, in spite of the fact that chronologically speaking it belongs to the previous generation of minimalism.” (Albert Mayr)

8 pages booklet with scores by Tom Johnson, Anna Guidi, Enrico Piva.


Price: $18.00