Composer / Nylon-String Guitarist
The Age of Lost Kisses
by Richard A. Del Pizzo
The composition of these works served a multi-fold purpose: self-expression, the search for beauty, relief from pain. Music can elevate one from the depths of despair back to normalcy, or, if one begins at normalcy, to the heavens above. From various starting points, I have endeavored to lift myself, and hopefully the listener, to new levels, using the beauty of chords and harmonic progressions as my medium. Though classical performance technique is employed throughout, stylistically the majority of the pieces employ a jazz idiom and harmonic vocabulary. Nonetheless, several works do have a decidedly more ‘classical’ feel, or are possessed of a drive and verve which is typical of Brazilian guitar music at its best. Many present a panorama of moods and cascade through auras as if inviting one to take part in a journey.
Some pieces carry on from where others left off, while some may share a similar chord progression or feel before developing in different directions. Robert Frost’s poem "The Road Not Taken" often came to mind while composing. Whereas Frost had to make a choice, following one path and leaving the other forever unexplored, if I in a given piece had to choose from distinct possible developments, upon its completion I was able to return to the point in the road where I had to commit to one direction, then follow my ideas to an entirely different destination in a subsequent piece. Perhaps keeping this in mind one could produce a roadmap of a composer’s world.
This piece starts life as a jazz waltz, then turns into a rhapsody in 4-time. It is not long though before the waltz breaks into the rhapsody, from which point time signatures and harmonies symbiotically intermingle to the end.
Carrer de la Reina Cristina is an obscure street in Barcelona on which there exists a most wonderful and unique establishment - the Champagneria. I have never encountered this type of specialized champagne bar in any other country and was quite enamoured with it from the onset. The initial lively section might be seen as portraying my step as I approach this estimable institution, or perhaps as bubbles jumping from a Cava glass. The second, more breezy section might be seen as those same bubbles reaching the brain after the first few sips have been taken from a sparkling new bottle of Cava. The final chords leave one, appropriately enough, in a bit of a daze.
This jazz ballad is laden with luscious chords and evokes a yearning - perhaps for a lost age, a lost love, a lost kiss.
This piece, inspired by the ups and downs of life, was among a group of works I wrote in Barcelona where I passed some time in 1998. So, if you place a moody, autumnal individual in a warm, sunny city, what do you get? Music!
It has long been said that the right side of the brain is the artistic side and the left side is the analytical side. Recently I read a new study in which scientists measured biochemical and electrical activity in each side of peoples’ brains as they experienced different moods. The results indicated that when people were depressed, the right side of the brain showed a high amount of activity, while when they were happy, the left side was the more active. This piece was written while I was in a depression (indicating it sprang from the right side of my brain), but is quite upbeat in character and technically difficult (indicating it sprang from the left side). I personally don’t know where it came from, so I pose the question in the title.
The first half of this tune was inspired by Tal Farlow’s exquisite introductory chord solo on Why Shouldn’t I. Though this tune started as an homage to Tal, the second half seemed to take off and organically grow into a chordal romp with its own designs on form and character. Who was I to fight it? In any event, attempting to follow Tal is a tall order indeed!
A spirited little Italian canzone. This is the first piece I wrote specifically for a tenor voice, and hopefully the start of a lifelong relationship with the genre.
The title translates to Flowing (or Fluid) Nocturne. Though eschewing the solemn, plaintive feel of many nocturnes, it was composed over the course of three weeks exclusively between the hours of 12 midnight and 3 AM and was derived from the flow of thoughts, feelings and yearnings that one has when one is awake and alone during those desolate hours. As such, I feel it is as entitled to carry the name ‘Nocturne’ as any dirge written during midday!
This piece was written as a second elegy for a Roman relative who was killed in an auto accident. Though I had composed A Final Farewell upon receiving the news of his death, by the second week, I felt the need to compose another piece, but something more upbeat and positive to alleviate my grief and lift my spirits. I also thought it appropriate to write a lyric in Italian as that was his language. This piece thus served as a second vehicle to come to terms with an inexplicable loss. Building on the philosophy of the Italian pessimist poet Leopardi, it takes the stance that he is better off dead than suffering the miseries of this world, and as such, is a happy piece, celebrating his freedom.
The initial inspiration for this tune came from listening to Brahms lieder. I tried here to create a gentle mood which can lull the listener (or player for that matter!) to a more tranquil world.
Nostalgic with a touch of sentiment, this piece evokes a bygone romantic age. Considered in the present day, one could perhaps only discern a patina from a distant era.
A dreamy little piece which creates a delicate mood as easily shattered as a reverie.
An elegy for a beloved relative tragically killed in the prime of life. I composed this during the days immediately following his death, when stunned and forlorn, I could neither find hope nor take consolation in anything around me. The piece, with an English lyric, is reflective and poignant in character and musically influenced by jazz guitar's most elegant and tasteful proponent, Johnny Smith.
In an introspective and soul-searching hour, the composer/pianist/writer/intellect Ferruccio Busoni, was once spied drinking two bottles of red wine single-handedly. Perhaps feeling a response to his observer’s critical glance was required to avert potential misunderstanding, he said, "Betäuben! Nicht trinken! Aber manchmal muß man sich betäuben sonst erträgt man es nicht!" (Translation: "To deaden the pain, not to drink! Sometimes one must deaden the pain otherwise one can bear it no longer!"). Keeping this wonderful concept in mind, with a nod towards Brazil, this tune uses sequences of lovely chords and light vocal lines to create a gentle euphoria, an ambrosial ambience; a luminous, heady anesthesia which should not fail to numb one against life’s daily deluge.
A wistful little moment, one which could not last a second longer, but one I would not want to live without.
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Produced by Richard A. Del Pizzo.
Recorded and Mastered October 2000 - January 2001 In
All music and lyrics written and performed by Richard A. Del Pizzo except as noted.
Lyrics for Tanto è bello l’amore written by Richard
A. Del Pizzo and Paolo Tichelio.
A Final Farewell and Sei libero are dedicated to the memory of Eugenio Del Duca.
Very special thanks to the following people, without whose
continued support and assistance this CD would not have been possible:
My sincerest thanks also go to:Joseph Jordan, Dr. Michael Papamichael, Anthony Bez, Rob and Gina Del Pizzo, Karl Sten.
Photography by J. Harder. / Disc Graphics by Doris China.
© 2001 Richard A. Del Pizzo