Stefano Battaglia Trio


Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia and his trio develop directions established on their acclaimed 2011 release “The River of Anyder” with a new selection of chants, hymns and dances, all written by Battaglia and inspired by descriptions of visionary places from art and literature – from Alfred Kubin, Jonathan Swift or Charles Fourier to Italo Calvino. “Songways” finds “a new harmonic balance between archaic modal pre-tonal chant and dances, pure tonal songs and hymns and abstract texture,” Battgalia says, “thus documenting the natural development of the Trio life, with a larger space for action from the drums”.

Stefano Battaglia und sein Trio führen hier fort, was sie mit ihrem vielgelobten Album “The River of Anyder” 2011 begonnen hatten – mit einem Reigen aus Battaglia-Eigenkompositionen, die alle inspiriert sind von den Beschreibungen mythischer Orte in der Kunst und Literatur, in Werken von Alfred Kubin, Jonathan Swift oder Italo Calvino. “Songways” findet „eine neue, harmonische Balance aus archaischen Gesängen und Tänzen, rein tonalen, liedhaften Stücken und abstrakten Texturen,” sagt Battaglia, “ und spiegelt so die natürliche Entwicklung des Trios wider, bei der das Schlagzeug nun größeren Bewegungsspielraum hat.“
Featured Artists Recorded

April 2012, Auditorio RSI - Radio Svizzera, Lugano

Original Release Date


  • 1Euphonia Elegy
    (Stefano Battaglia)
  • 2Ismaro
    (Stefano Battaglia)
  • 3Vondervotteimittis
    (Stefano Battaglia)
  • 4Armonia
    (Stefano Battaglia)
  • 5Mildendo Wide Song
    (Stefano Battaglia)
  • 6Monte Analogo
    (Stefano Battaglia)
  • 7Abdias
    (Stefano Battaglia)
  • 8Songways
    (Stefano Battaglia)
  • 9Perla
    (Stefano Battaglia)
  • 10Babel Hymn
    (Stefano Battaglia)
Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia’s trio received much critical praise for the 2009 ECM recording “The River of Anyder”, with Down Beat writing of “novel and utterly delightful lyricism” and hailing it as “one of the year’s most beautiful piano recordings: an undercurrent of gentle push-and-pull, flowing beneath its endless wellspring of haunting melodism, gives it its depth and weight, even as its diaphanous interaction suggests an evolving language.” “Songways”, recorded in April 2012, is precisely concerned with the further evolution of that musical language.

“The new step”, Stefano Battgalia explains, represents “a new harmonic balance between archaic modal pre-tonal chant and dances, pure tonal songs and hymns and abstract texture.”
Songs, chants and dances – each of the forms offers Battaglia and bassist Salvatore Maiore plenty of room to develop lyrical ideas. And, as the trio has developed, an expanded space has opened up for the drums also, giving Roberto Dani opportunities for textural shading and for playing melodically across the kit, hypersensitive to the pitches of drums and cymbals.

For “Songways” the trio returned to Lugano’s Auditorio Radiotelevisione Svizzera, with Manfred Eicher producing. The dynamics captured here are those of an improvising trio listening intently and responding to each other in the natural acoustic of an exceptional recital room. As with its predecessor, the new disc takes many of its inspirations from legendary or mythical places in literature or religious and philosophical texts. Battaglia’s canvas is broader than ‘jazz’, and he has always drawn influence also from arts beyond music. Some of the allusions here:

“Ismaro”, or Ismarus, is the city Odysseus attacks in Homer’s account of his long journey home. The “Mildendo Wide Song” is, Battaglia says, inspired by Jonathan Swift’s description of the capital of Lilliput in “Gulliver’s Travels”. Title track “Songways” pays homage to Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities”, and “Armonia” takes its cue from Charles Fourier’s utopian “Theory of The Four Movements”, while “Abdias” is named for the novella by Adalbert Stifter. The free floating “Vondervotteimittis” alludes to the clock-obsessed town in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Devil In The Belfry”. “Monte Analogo”, Mount Analogue, is the title and destination of Renée Daumal’s surrealist book. (Daumal was also a Gurdjieff student and something of the patience and centred focus of Gurdjieff’s music may find an echo here). “Perla” is a city in “Die Andere Seite” (The Other Side) the novel by Austrian expressionist illustrator Alfred Kubin. And the “Babel Hymn”, of course, references the Genesis story of the Tower of Babel and God’s confounding of the Earth’s language. These are amongst the sources that fire Stefano Battaglia’s imagination.