The Wire

The objectivity of post-darmstadt modernism hangs over everything in Noccolò Castiglioni’s music, but through this prism he’s free to express anything he wants. There’s florid decoration owing much to the vocal acrobatics of Italian opera; references to Baroque and classical keyboard stylings abound everywhere, and Castiglioni even plunders ragtime in one piece, a cource most post-serial composers would regard as trivial. The ragtime reference occurs in How I Spent My Summer (1983), a diary-like composition that meanders in a stream of consciousness through the music that engaged him one summer. Echoes of Satie and Schoenberg also waft by. The early Cangianti (1959) is a severely abstract and magnificently visceral study of whacked then tickled piano textures; later pieces like Tre Pezzi (1978) typify Castiglioni’s fascination with material stripped back to obsessively repeated notes and playfull trills. British pianist Sarah Nicolls has a ball.

—Philip Clark