“When I listened to the finished master, I knew it had to do with the movement of birds, and with watching, listening, waiting”, says Israeli pianist Anat Fort about the title of her new album “Birdwatching”, which she recorded with her trio that is Gary Wang (bass) and Roland Schneider (drums). She also added Italian alto clarinetist Gianluigi Trovesi to the mix.
The album starts with a solo piano vignette, a beautiful, simple melody that is called “First Rays”, just like the first rays of sun in the morning when you step out into your garden and watch the birds, which I often do during the spring and summer months. Blackbird and crow say hello in “Earth Talks”, where Gianluigi sets in with his lyrical, storytelling playing that is a perfect match with Anat’s crystal clear way of moving over the keys.
And the wild part of nature is described on the brittling, nervous “Not The Perfect Storm” which shows the uncomfortable part of mother nature as well. The trio pieces sans Gianluigi are very strong as well – the earthy loveliness of “It’s Your Song” is breathtaking. Anat really masters the art of pure and unpretentious writing with this longing piece. And to stay in the picture of the album’s title, I can really see the birds bouncing around in the hedges and making all kinds of noise and games in “Jumpin’ In”, another of the more active tracks on the disc.
There are two parts of “Song Of The Phoenix”, a magnificent ballad with the second part portraying a lively and bouncy dance where alto clarinet and piano come together as one after a bright and happy sojourn somewhere outdoors. It ends with some classical piano trio movements. The first part is more like observing what’s going on and waiting for something to happen and being satisfied in the end even though nothing has actually happened. Anat’s genuine description of a flock of starlings, which is also called “Murmuration”, simply shows her love for monitoring and observing the birds – it’s like she is telling the story of a big family of starlings and their mutual attraction to each other.
The last two short pieces here, the contemplative trio track “Inner Voices” and the uplifting and meditative “Sun”, only add to this astounding piece of music. This is probably going to be my soundtrack for the start of this year’s garden season which begins around the end of this month.