Ballad Nocturne – Ann Millikan

As a former jazz pianist turned classical composer, Millikan unites these two worlds in the title cut, Ballad Nocturne, featuring renowned Italian pianist Emanuele Arciuli: a marriage of jazz ballad and classical nocturne. One hears shades of Chopin and Debussy as well as Miles’ Kind of Blue. Arciuli plays with precision and fluidity as the music shifts from fleeting jazz lines to rolling arpeggios and minimalist gestures. Never heavy-handed or sentimental, Millikan’s orchestration gives the piano just enough support and counterpoint to convey the richness of her ideas. At one point in the work, we could easily imagine ourselves in a canoe looking up at the night sky as moonlight plays on the water. Sparkling clustered string harmonics and bowed crotales hover over a lonely left-hand melody in the piano’s bass like twinkling stars. Weaving and mutating, constantly shifting and changing, Ballad Nocturne grows from a nucleus into profoundly expressive and intimate music. Writer/Producer Martin Perlich’s word for it? “Ravishing”