Mario Bajardi, LUX – Theatre Works, Italy, self-released CD (2021)
Like many artists whose works we review here at The Sound Projector, Mario Bajardi has his fingers in many pies: he’s a violinist, an electroacoustic musician composer, and a sound design teacher at the Academy of Art and University of Palermo in Sicily. It is probably no surprise then that despite having worked continuously in electronic / electroacoustic music composition and production, and in collaborations with film directors, he released his first album last year as an independent agent. “LUX – Theatre Works” spans a number of pieces scored for theatrical productions and is dedicated to one Francesco Vinci, about whom I haven’t been able to find any information. (Well I have found some information online about a Francesco Vinci but the fellow turned out to be an infamous serial murderer who terrorised the Tuscany region back in the 1970s and 80s. Doesn’t sound like anyone to dedicate an album of theatre music scores to!)
The music on the ten tracks featured here range from moody droning ambient and pensive piano solo (“Medusa”) and icy frost nostalgia (“Cascata”) to live performances with a vocalist (Miriam Palma) accompanied by a solo violinist and backing percussion, piano and other effects (the two “S.Rosalia” tracks). Most mysterious of all though is “S.Orsola” which first appears as an ethereal space-ambient work of quiet buzzing drone and uneasy atmosphere, and then becomes a serene tapestry of alternating choral singing and sighing orchestral wonder. Just when you think you have Mario Bajardi figured out as a composer of works with a formal contemporary classical bent, he goes off and does something testy, jarring and angular in “OMO” or a little darkly techno-ish in “Drift”. I definitely think though that the “S.Orsola” tracks are the highlight of this recording, perhaps because their performance rely on Palma’s emotionally raw singing and the violin playing is just as intense and emotional.
With the exception of the opening track, the music here tends to be short but all of it has a light touch and very little here is disturbing. Even when individual tracks feature grand orchestral music on a large scale, the music has the feel of rays of light going through it casting benevolence and optimism wherever they go. The album will be of interest to fans of soundtrack music and library music archivists and serves as an introduction to a composer and musician who already has a considerable body of work behind him.