All of this sumptuous music of Dream Notes by Pat Battstone is conceived as means to relocate the wistfully alive and breathtaking art of Daniela Chionna to its rightful musical landscape. Ordinarily such a task would have been an insurmountable challenge for a lesser musician than Mr Battstone. But Mr Battstone, the composer, appears to be on the same wavelength as Miss Chionna. She dreams and wills her fingers and brushes, pens and other instruments to dance and prance, and resonate in multiple dimensions and on various media in what appear to be the endless dancing lines, daubed in colour, as if they had a life not dissimilar to musical notes. Meanwhile, Mr Battstone dreams in floating melodic lines that leap off the staved paper only to weave into one another in extraterrestrial harmonies.
Such empathy between Mr Battstone and Miss Chionna has enabled him to render the imagery of her paintings in the musical realm. The music itself is homophonic and, at times, polyphonic too – even polychoral in a Venetian sense, especially when the other member of this extraordinary sojourn, flutist Giorgia Santoro, sings, howls and wails through her instrument. Songs are made up of chords as well as lines of polyphony in which piano and flute meet at some point in which the accelerating melodic lines converge and break apart as the notes played by flutist and pianist leap off the staved paper. As we listen great blocks of sound, with an emphasis on sonorous textures and dramatically varied dynamics act as the aural equivalent of the sumptuous but breathtaking hieratic splendour of Miss Chionna’s paintings. Textures are further enriched by the use of Miss Santoro’s voice, mouth harp and other effects.
With the collision of the two artistic realms – of music and painting – a reconstruction emerges. It is – as we discern from this music – a “fabulous” journey in the deepest sense of the word. You can hear a sense of utter freedom to roam in the realm of an interior landscape as pianist and flutist become an organic part of that landscape that mixes beauty and danger, the sounds of paint brush and human fingers and voices. All of this is evocative of a mysterious world (“The Forest Within”, “Window into the Night” and especially on “Ocean of Hearts”) glimpsed by moonlight in a forest. Until, that is, we emerge into “The Mist of Morning Waters”, when darkness and danger at the song’s beginning is replaced by the mellifluous timbre of Miss Santoro’s flute to the accompaniment of skittering notes played by Mr Battstone on the piano.
All this melts into the next song as we are regaled by piano, bass flute and ululating voice in “Song of Daphne” by the duo. In sheer colour and variety, in the depth of its characterisation and the exceptional range and refinement of their musicianship Mr Battstone and Miss Santoro impart an astonishing power to this music as Miss Chionna’s art takes on a new life of its own.
Track list: L’Albero dell’Incantatore; 2: The Forest Within (pt 1); The Forest Within (pt 2); 3: Beyond the River Banks; 4: Attraverso i Rami; 5: The Flowers of Benten; 6: Window into the Night (pt 1); 7: Window into the Night (pt 2); 8: Blue/Ocean of Hearts; 9: The Mist of Morning Waters; 10: Song of Daphne
Personnel – Giorgio Santoro: flute, bass flute, bansuri, xiao; piccolo, voice, mouth harp, effects; Pat Battstone: piano
Released – 2019
Label – Leo Records
Runtime – 58:33