Sunday, May 28, 2023

Sunday morning music


The music label Brilliant Classics is known for bringing out recordings of rarely heard and hard-to-find artists and music.  I've featured some of them on this blog before.

While visiting their Web site last week, I was intrigued to come across a new album by pianist Jeroen van Veen.  It takes 17 pieces from composer Yann Tiersen's collections "Eusa" and "Kerber".  It's called "Island", and is scored for piano only - no other instruments or orchestration.  That's very refreshing in an age where people seem to think that the volume of sound, rather than its clarity or purity, is what's important.

Brilliant Classics notes:

Yann Tiersen’s (b.1970) music traverses genres from French folk music and chanson to minimal, avant-garde and post-rock. The French composer and multi-instrumentalist is primarily known for writing the music for the film Amélie. In 2016 he made the album EUSA, then in 2021, he ventured a step further towards electronic music with his new album Kerber (2021). The latter is a beautifully structured, immersive and thoughtfully constructed electronic world, composed on the island of Ushant where Tiersen now resides. The title of each track on these two albums refers to a specific place on Ushant. Kerber, for example, is named after a chapel in a small village on the island. Some offer the perfect soundtrack for contemplation on a long walk or staring out of a window on a train journey. Others seem predestined to be background music for study or relaxation. With each song, your imagination can easily conjure a scene from a movie: a breakup after a fight in a cosy café or a nature documentary showing two baby birds opening their eyes for the very first time.

After a frightening experience with a mountain lion in California, Tiersen came to a realisation. He needed to discover himself more intimately, and to do that, he needed to better know his home, Ushant. In order to understand his home and discover himself, he decided to draw a musical map of the island, of which EUSA is volume one; it contains ten piano works about ten places on Ushant.

‘I think there is a similarity between the infinite big and the infinite smallness of everything,’ explains Yann Tiersen. ‘It's the same experiment looking through a microscope as it is a telescope.’ This exploration of the micro and the macro has permeated much of Tiersen’s career, and Kerber once again shows the vast expansiveness and intricate detail of his work.

This isn’t a collection about isolation; it is more an expression of being conscious of your immediate environment, and your place within it. For Tiersen, this approach extracts the same degree of profundity as spending the evening studying the stars – which he himself does. ‘You can look at things that are thousands of light years away and relate your own existence to this really cosmic element,’ he says. ‘But you get that same feeling with the things all around you.’

‘A leading exponent of minimalism today’ (Fanfare). Pianist Jeroen van Veen has selected to perform the principle 17 works from these two of Tiersen’s albums for his own Island album.

There's more at the link.

Here's the album, courtesy of Brilliant Classics' YouTube channel.  I've enjoyed it very much.

The album is available on Amazon.  I like it enough that I'm going to buy a copy, to support the composer and the artist.


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