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Interview with Fabrizio Paterlini

img  Tobias Fischer

„Beauty“ is one of those terms that keeps popping up in press releases and reviews, yet no one really seems to be able to define what it means in relation to music.
Beauty lies in simple things. As I am constantly trying to evolve as a human being, it gets clearer and clearer in my mind that finding beauty means leaving the useless behind and focus on simple, real things. As you get closer to this objective, you discover „beauty“ in everything you do. My music speaks this language - or at least it tries to - as my effort in composing constantly aims to put the right notes at the right places, providing the listener with the message he wants to hear with the highest conceivable degree of immediacy. 

Sound artist Dirk Serries once pointed out that there seems to be a general fear of beauty because of its connotations with cliché. Do you feel the image of beauty has been corrupted in a way?
I would not necessarily say that it has been corrupted. Maybe it has been overwhelmed somewhat by a lot of superimposed concepts of „beauty“. We live in a society of a „thousands spurs“, where everything is supposedly „beautiful“ and „indispensable“. Sometimes, the best thing to do in order to find beauty is to calm down and start asking ourselves what we are really looking for and what we really need.

How important is restraint in this sense?
The notes I love the most are the ones I don't play at all! The piano has this „magical“ ingredient which is resonance. I see resonance not as something  activated by a specific wooden key, but as an ethereal cloud surrounding my compositions. And I love, really love letting the music breathe and leaving space between sounds and notes. You see, the art of subtracting and reducing as much as possible the amount of redundant notes while composing is as difficult as the actual writing of melodies.

The idea of beauty is also connected to the idea that the arts should be an antidote and anti pole to a cruel and unjust world.

I like to think of the arts in general as a „pure“ and clean field in which the powers of ideals are still alive. In sharing my music, I have decided to make it available for everyone in a digital format using a „name your price“ philosophy. And I always welcome working for projects that reinforce this high consideration I have for music and the arts in general. I am not saying that everything that is „commercial“ is bad. But I believe that when talking about art we should always treat it with respect.

In how far are you partially working with ideals that can not be realised?
I left the struggling of working with ideas that can not be realised behind me. It took me years of pursuing a musical and personal path to find my own language in composing and now it’s clearer than ever to me that the only way to compose music is by actually doing it! No more delays, no more „if I had..“, or „I need to find...“ – composing means being in the „here and now“. There’s no space for things that can not be realised!

In how much is the piano, as an instrument, essential for your creative vision of beauty?
The piano represents my own voice – even more, the piano works on behalf of my voice. Every part of the instrument becomes essential in the compositional process, it’s like a mirror that answer me as a direct consequence of my movements. Digital or electronic instruments, even if I use them when the original instrument is not available, lack personality - at least most of them do. And personality goes a long way.

Is technical craftsmanship inextricably connected to realising your musical ideas in any way?
Technical ability is important, as it provides you with the fundamentals of „how to“ play your instrument. It’s definitely not enough. I would say technical craftsmanship is like a vehicle that can take you to the territory you master best. The difficult part is to find where this place is – once you've discovered it, however, you’re sure to reach it. It’s just a matter of time.

In which way is classical music in general shaping your compositional style or your sense of beauty?
I always find it difficult to give a definition of the style I am composing in. It’s not classical, it’s not „contemporary classical“, but somehow it’s strictly connected with the beauty of the „perfect“ harmonic solutions of a certain period of classical music, mostly towards the end of 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. I do not have any particular reference in classical music, although I studied it when I was younger. I think that somehow a general „imprint“ of my past studies can be recognized in my compositions, but from time to time I enjoy leaving the „marked trail“ and exploring new formats.

How important is it to you that you're the one performing your own compositions?

I really enjoyed discovering how other artists „felt“ my music and enjoyed remixing it on the Viandanze Re-Imagined project. I was thrilled each time I listened for the first time to a „new“ version of my piano pieces which sometimes added some electronica or full orchestral arrangements. But still I will be the only „performer“ of my own compositions, also for my next album. Performing my own compositions is as natural as speaking in my mother tongue.

With regards to those remixes, doesn't the use of vocals, drum computers or synth-strings, for example, feel like an intrusion?

The idea of re-imagining my pieces for solo piano was proposed by Thom Carter, when I contacted him asking if he would like to remix one of my Viandanze piano songs. I enjoyed all his releases so far, and I was really enthusiastic to discover his own perspective on my music. I believe that sharing music and ideas between us and being open to all musical paths, gives a great opportunity to learn and improve also in our „official“ music field.

So do you see the chance of the remixes feeding back into your full-length albums?

That's also a good point. I love to listen to the combination of piano and electronics sound, so, yes, I’d love to combine them in one of my future release. As with everything until now, I believe that this new “musical path” will be flowing naturally without thinking about it. When the right time has come, I’ll do it. Now, however, it’s time to focus my efforts on my third piano solo release. Then we’ll see.

In Italy, especially, Ludovico Einaudi has gained great popularity for his work in a similar category as yours. Is he proving to be an inspiration for you or rather an annoying comparison?

Ludovico Einaudi is surely one of my favourite musicians. I love the balance and soft details he includes in his harmonic textures. His works were surely an inspiration at first - I spent a lot of time studying and playing his music some years ago. Sometimes my music is compared to his - especially my first album, Viaggi in aeromobile - but this is far from annoying, as Einaudi’s music is certainly a peak of excellence in our category.

By Tobias Fischer

Fabrizio Paterlini Discography:
Viaggi in aeromobile (Music Center) 2007
Viandanze (Fabrizio Paterlini Records) 2008
Remixed (Fabrizio Paterlini Records) 2009
Viandanze Re-Imagined/ w. March Rosetta (Test Tube) 2010
Fragments Found (Fabrizio Paterlini Records) 2010

Fabrizio Paterlini

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