2020 / Silent Beat Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
Fiori II is the second of a two-part series of solo piano improvisations by Milana Zilnik (Fiori I was released earlier this year). Commissioned by the German label, Silent Beat Records, this is Milana’s third release on that label - Spretto, a series of improvisations inspired by a rainbow of colors, was the first. Like Fiori I, this album is a collection of twelve pieces inspired by a variety of flowers and are titled with their Italian names and listed in alphabetical order. Silky-smooth and relaxed, this soothing music can take the edge off of any stressful day and bring listeners back to the reality that there is inspiring beauty all around us if we just take a moment to look for it. This is the thirteenth album by Milana Zilnik that I’ve reviewed since 2013, and she has become one of my favorite artists. This album is a very clear demonstration of why.
Milana’s last three albums (including this one) have been recorded with “Noire” from Native Instruments. The piano sound is slightly muted, but is clear and colorful and reflects the nature of each flower she is improvising about. Unlike some of the muted piano sounds I’ve listened to, this one doesn’t include the internal sounds of the piano action - clicking of piano hammers, pedal “whooshes,” etc. There are a lot of electronic piano samples that I don’t really appreciate, but this one really sings - at least under Milana’s expressive fingers!
The first flower improvisation on Fiori II is “Lavanda” (lavender), a slow, gentle waltz that captures the grace of lavender blossoms dancing with a breeze. “Loto” is Italian for “lotus,” a flower that is often symbolic of serenity and peace. The quiet motion of the left hand makes me think of ripples on a pond or lake while the more free-form right hand could represent the flowers floating on the surface of the water. “Marghertina” (lawn daisy) has a flowing rhythm, and a simple, slightly mysterious melody. “Mimosa” refers to a flowering sub-tropical tree, and its piece is sweet, delicate and gently uplifting. Many people consider orchids to be the most beautiful flowers of all, and “Orchidea” expresses the formality and elegance of its lovely blossoms. “Serenella,” is the Italian name for lilac, a flowering shrub with a distinctive fragrance, and its piece has an interesting uneven rhythm and a gently hypnotic melody. Like its flower, “Tulipano” (tulip) is stately, uncomplicated and often breathtaking in its unassuming beauty and brilliant colors. “Viola” (violet) brings this lovely album to a quiet close with shades of my favorite color. It seems that violets often appear in unexpected places with a splash of color and a sweet bit of whimsy that is always a welcome surprise.
Fiori II is another very special album from Milana Zilnik and is available to buy/download from retail outlets like Amazon and iTunes/Apple Music, and streaming sites like Spotify. Sure to brighten your day (or night!)!!!
September 4, 2020