Click here to [close]

Friday, November 29, 2019

Eve Risser - Après Uns Rêve (Clean Feed, 2019) ****½

By Stef

This is one short album, yet what it lacks in time, it compensates in intensity and musical vision.

French pianist Eve Risser surprises us again, combining gentle, almost romantic phrases in minor key with the insistent rhythmic prodding of the prepared upright piano strings, creating an orchestral feeling all by herself. It's often hard to understand how she does it, and even if you wonder at first listen about the technical and mechanical aspects of how she uses the full potential of the upright piano, with the consecutive listens you just have to stop rationalising and letting yourself be taken by the musical flow she creates. Percussive madness merges with minimal repetitiveness and romantic expansion, all ingredients that would clash in normal circumstances but that are brought to wonderful harmony in her dexterous hands.

The improvisation develops in different parts, like ebb and flow, but with a maintained rhythmic undercurrent that may shift in meter, but keeps propulsing the more melodic parts forward, whether phrases or chords, whether intimate or expansive. The music is inspired by a piece with the same name by French 19th Century composer Gabriel Fauré - and with the lyrics by Romain Businne presented below, describing a state between dreaming and waking, when it's hard to fathom what's happening, as it is in Risser's music. Despite its incredible focus and intensity, the dream state of the lyrics is also present, combining abstract purity with emotional complexity.

Like with her real start with "En Corps" in 2012, and "Des Pas Sur La Neige", her music is mesmerising, hypnotic. Harmonies shift, structures evolve, rhythms and sounds get new meaning, continuity is challenged and maintained. A variety of things happen, consecutively or together, yet the piece's sense of unity and direction is kept throughout, as is the tension between pulse and lyricism.

She does something new and creative and compelling and enchanting with a short solo piano piece, all with her own unique voice and stubborn vision.

It has the right length. You just need to listen to it a few hundred times. And then still enjoy it.

Après Un Rêve

Dans un sommeil que charmait ton image
je rêvais le bonheur, ardent mirage,
tes yeux étaient plus doux, ta voix pure et sonore,
tu rayonnais comme un ciel éclairé par l'aurore ;

Tu m'appelais et je quittais la terre
pour m'enfuir avec toi vers la lumière,
les cieux pour nous entr'ouvraient leurs nues,
Splendeurs inconnues, lueurs divines entrevues.

Hélas ! Hélas, triste réveil des songes,
Je t'appelle, ô nuit, rends-moi tes mensonges ;
Reviens, reviens, radieuse,
Reviens, ô nuit mystérieuse !


Richard said...

I feel like I'm setting up the punchline for a joke, but I'll ask:

How short is it?

Colin Green said...