Paolo Botti

Viola Trio

Caligola 2060

Paolo Botti, viola; Salvatore Maiore, double bass & cello; Anthony Moreno, drums.


This is a most unusual and fascinating trio session by the gifted Milanese composer / violist, Paolo Botti, who shows us what can happen when a group 'plays the spaces' - that is, exploring rhythmically-charged inventions on sequences of intervals and tonal centers, as opposed to familiar chord changes. To the listener, the group sound may initially appear more abstract or 'out', but that's not to say that this music lacks focus, unity, or an intellectual core.

Highlights include "Tempi che Corrono #1," which is a virtuoso, tour-de-force performance -- a kaleidoscope of contrasting tempi and textures, with each member of the group sharing equal weight in the ensemble. "Apostrofi" evokes an abstract, surreal environment in its very deliberate rhythmic structure; technically, a tremendously difficult piece to play well. "Joy String" features powerful arco and pizzicato work by the cellist, and harmonized lines with the viola; this is orchestral writing of rare excellence. And what beautiful engineering - this recording ought to set a standard in small group performance.

by James D. Armstrong, Jr.

West Coast Editor, Music in Transition