Universal Music Canada

Víkingur Ólafsson’s relationship with Debussy and Rameau continues as he releases the first single from Debussy · Rameau Reflections, his forthcoming album showcasing contemporary reworks of the music of these two revolutionary French composers.

The Reflections project launches on September 25 2020 with the digital release of Hania Rani’s reimagining of Debussy’s La Damoiselle élue. The Polish pianist, composer and singer Hania Rani places Debussy’s sublime music within a meditative electroacoustic soundscape. Her score reiterates the opening chords of the original piece while adding bell-like piano arpeggios and gentle layers of sound colour to the mix, evoking melancholy impressions of a mysterious dreamworld.

Hania Rani explains: “While working on a new interpretation of this work, I decided to take a look at the emotions evoked by the opening chords, also known as the ‘Circle Charm’. The harmonic motif has become the basis for the entire rework, thus keeping the composition in a meditative character and an atmosphere of anticipation. On this foundation I built a melody, a delicate song wandering in the distance – corresponding with the lyrical expression of the original work by Debussy. The repetitive sequence of chords and the developing melodic line thicken the texture of the piece more and more, eventually bringing it to a climax in the middle section, which lets in some light and hope to the piece. As in the original Debussy prelude, the ending is a return to the chords already known from the beginning, which enclose the whole in a circle. Thus, it is difficult to tell exactly what is the end and what is the beginning of this musical story. Does it really end or does it continue, sounding mute in silence?”

Speaking about Debussy · Rameau Reflections, Ólafsson says: “I wanted to explore certain works from fresh perspectives, to reimagine them and invite other composers to rework elements of these extraordinary pieces. I’m delighted that Deutsche Grammophon agreed with me on continuing this creative conversation with Debussy, Rameau and some of today’s most imaginative musicians.”

Hania Rani’s e-single will be followed by the release of four EPs, in November, January, February and March respectively, while the full album will be issued in CD and LP formats on March 12 2021.

September 29, 2020 9:15am ET by Pressparty  

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