2020 / Silent Beat Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
Fiori 1 is the first in a two-part series by pianist/composer Milana Zilnik. Commissioned by the German label, Silent Beat Records, Fiori 2 is now available as well. Milana’s first album on the label was Spettro, released near the end of 2019. Spettro is a collection of fifteen solo piano improvisations, each named for a different color. Both of the Fiori albums feature twelve piano solos inspired by a variety of flowers, and the tracks are placed in alphabetical order. This is the twelfth album of Milana’s that I’ve reviewed since 2013, and I really admire that she keeps taking her music in new directions - often at the suggestion of her producer husband, who has never steered her wrong (or, if he has, they have never released the results!). The album has had more than 4 million streams across multiple platforms since the release of the first single in March of this year, so it is obviously reaching a lot of happy ears!
As it was on Spettro, the piano sound on the two Fiori albums is “Noire” from Native Instruments. The tone is slightly muted, but some of the notes have a beautiful, sparkling brightness and some are more luminous - a perfect way to describe the beauty, softness and grace of a variety of flowers!
Fiori 1 begins with “Aster,” a gently soothing piece with a rolling left hand and a simple, direct melody - a lovely start! “Calla,” also very soothing, is more stately yet expresses the graceful shape of the flower itself. This piece alone has had 1.5 million streams on Apple Music and has been included in a dozen editorial playlists! Like the delicate blossom it is named for, “Camomilla” (“Camomille”) is quietly unassuming, light and very pretty - a favorite! “Croco (Crocus)” was inspired by one of my favorite flowers. Small in stature yet often brilliantly colored, it is one of the first flowers of the year, often growing up through snow and ice. Strength and determination as well as a delicate beauty flow throughout this piece. “Dalia (Dahlia)” is again on the more ambient side with a gently rhythmic movement that makes me think of colorful dahlias blossoms bobbing their colorful “heads” in a summer breeze. “Garofano” is Italian for “carnation,” a delicate yet long-lasting flower, and the piece bearing its name is light but strong, not fragile. “Giglio (Lily)” is one of the few minor key pieces on the album and I think it’s my favorite. Poignant and full of longing, I love the simple honesty of the emotions expressed! “Hyacinthus” captures the sweet fragrance and often jewel-toned blossoms of this rather unique plant. “Iris” is another favorite flower - both the slender Dutch iris and the bigger German varieties. Being taller than many flowers, this piece seems to reflect the slow movement of these gorgeous flowers in a spring breeze.
Fiori 1 is a real treat for the soul as well as the ears, and is available from Amazon, iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify and Google Play.
June 30, 2020
with Stephan Beneking