Piero Milesi is an Italian composer who approached minimalism from a unique
angle on Modi (Cherry Red, 1982 - Cuneiform, 1984).
The six movements of Modi No 1 is heavily influenced by
Steve Reich and achieves the same kind of
emphatic transcendence of Michael Nyman's
The three movements of Modi No 2 for chamber ensemble and soprano
represent a substantial innovation of
Steve Reich's method.
The melody (that has Japanese overtones) is much more relevant,
and the fluctuations in the percussive pattern are more elegant and
complex. The oscillation reaches a point in which the instruments
follow two asynchronous waves of pulses, with the voice floating across
both. The piece changes dramatically in the third movement, with the
pulse becoming much stronger and the fluctuations becoming much wilder.
Most of his work was for the cinema and the theater, as documented by
the soundtracks collected on
The Nuclear Observatory of Mr Nanof (Cuneiform, 1986).
The 13-minute Mr Nanof's Tango is actually a flute-driven elegy
caressed by sympathetic strings and lulled by
minimalist repetitive patterns in the strings and keyboards.
Excerpts from the one-hour piece The Kings of the Night include
The Procession, which creates suspense by releasing a flock of drones,
Three Figurations, a sort of frantic gamelan that generates a
sort of tidal wave of sound amid symphonic staccatos.
One of the most intriguing selections,
The Presence Of The City, is actually a piece (mostly rollicking
piano figures) that evokes a lifeless soundscape, possibly a nocturnal one.
The multi-media piece La Camera Astratta (Cuneiform, 1989) was
perhaps his most ambitious effort in this field.
Within Himself (Cuneiform, 2000) compiles compositions of the 1980s and 1990s.
The three-movement concerto So Soggy (1992) begins with a jazzy Gershwin-ian piano sonata which slowly mutates into a plaintive piano and violin duo over stately organ and funereal percussion.
The 16-minute Dentro di Se' runs the gamut from gentle Terry Riley-ian minimalism to lyrical Steve Roach-ian electronica.
Avanti La Tre is samples of voices recorded at a train station, and calm instrumental passages.
Fuochi Sul Tevere sounds like music for fireworks, in which
baroque and circus music are merged in cycles of repetitive patterns.
Milesi died in 2011.
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