Click here to return to the main site.

Classical Music Review

Cover Image

Small Stones
Modern Piano Music


Composers: Jason Tad Howard and Daniel Perttu
Performed by: Nancy Zipay Desalvo (piano)
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 09 February 2018

Small Stones showcases Dr. Nancy Zipay Desalvo’s exploration into both minute and immense concepts. Recorded on solo piano, DeSalvo performs the compositions translating the compressed beauty of Jason Tad Howard and the expansive universe of Daniel Perttu.

In the first half of the recording, Howard’s set of nine “short shorts” feature songs all under the two-minute mark (with the exception of his final track, 'Reconciliation: A Not Quite So Short Short Short', which runs just over four minutes long).

Based around the pitch of “C,” each short short establishes its own character and technical approach while sharing the common thread of its pitch. The compositions ring with recurring themes in melody and rhythmic texture, coming together at the final 'Short Short No. 9' which unveils a grand finale.

Born out of a visit to Stonehenge, Perttu’s compositions expand on the pebble of a simple vision into a larger, more complex structure.

There's no arguing that Desalvo doesn't throw herself into this recording - the passion is obviously on display for even the most casual listener. There's a raw emotion that makes it sound like this is the first time she's discovering the music, while the performances make it obvious that she's lived with each piece for quite some time.

It's quite a short album, the 12 tracks coming in at just 33 min, 59 sec in length. But what it lacks for in duration, it more than makes up for in quality.

Even if you're not normally a lover of modern piano music, there's enough quality material here to convert you.


Darren Rea

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

Digital album
iTunes GB
Digital album
Digital album