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Album Review: Secret World
Fabio Mancini
Cover image of the album Secret World by Fabio Mancini
Secret World
Fabio Mancini
2007 / Fabio Mancini
39 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Secret World is Italian pianist/composer Fabio Mancini’s second solo piano CD of original music. Also an accomplished organist, he has released a CD of baroque works for that instrument as well. Full of energy and passion, this is a CD of “big” music that varies from very classical to jazz and progressive rock with a little new age thrown in. As a performer, Mancini plays classical music as a soloist and with orchestras both on piano and organ, and he also performs with a progressive rock band (The Watch) as well as an Emerson, Lake, and Palmer tribute band. These eclectic influences give Mancini a unique voice and approach. With advanced degrees in both piano and organ, Mancini also teaches at the University of Milan. Many of the CDs I review are intended for relaxation, but this one is definitely more for energizing and stimulation. A few of the tracks are more serene, but most are quite powerful - obviously the work of an extraordinary musician and a pianist who lives and breathes music.

The first of the eleven tracks is “Looking for Something,” a piece that swirls in a vortex of sound, passionately seeking something or someone, or perhaps resolution - a very powerful and emotional work. “Tramonto di Sabbia” is dark and turbulent, but also very emotional and complex. “Down the Street” is fast and lively, played in an “agitato” style - edgy and excited. “Wrong Way” seems to pick up where “Down the Street” ended, with a rhythmic deep bass pattern that then goes off in a different direction - lost, agitated, and anxious. It’s a fascinating, harmonically and rhythmically complex piece, if not a comfortable one. "Just a Thought” takes us to a different musical dimension, one that is calmer and more peaceful. A series of flowing broken chords and a simple melody give this piece a sense of tranquility. My favorite track is “Out of a Dream,” a mysterious piece with several themes and a sense of emotional urgency - very effective! As the title implies, “Rock Toccata” is all over the piano. Big and brash, this is about as far from new age piano as you can get. I also really like “Fantasia Danzante.” Fast and passionate with a haunting melody and compelling rhythm, this piece stays with you after the final notes trail off. The title track closes the set in a pensive mood. Exploratory and subdued, it seems to come from deep within - a lovely ending to a most interesting and exhilarating piano album!

More information about Fabio Mancini is available at his fabiomancini.org. Secret World is available from cdbaby.com. Check it out!
October 11, 2007