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Album Review

Melaine Dalibert: Anastassis Philippakopoulos: piano works

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Melaine Dalibert: Anastassis Philippakopoulos: piano works
This album is the tenth released by the Elsewhere label since its launch in the spring of 2018. It is the third of those ten to feature the French composer and pianist Melaine Dalibert. Whereas on the previous two albums, Dalibert played his own compositions, here he performs piano compositions by the Greek composer Anastassis Philippakopoulos who has been a member of the Wandelweiser composers collective since 2003 and had his first Edition Wandelweiser album Solo Pieces issued in 2005.

Where Dalibert's own compositions have often included clusters of notes and made use of the piano's sustain pedal, Philippakopoulos' piano pieces lean more towards single notes which are allowed to resound and fade away before another is played. Philippakopoulos' own sleeve notes to Solo Pieces consisted of nine couplets which may have expressed his thoughts on composing but also described some of his work. The first couplet was: "music that allows sounds to sound: to die away, completely, into silence"—which could be a quote from the Wandelweiser manifesto, if such a thing existed; it certainly describes the music here perfectly.

The Philippakopoulos compositions here date from 2005 to 2018 and, at the time of recording, in July 2019, represented his most recent works for solo piano. They are all comparatively short, with running times between two-and-a-quarter and three-and-a-half minutes, all twelve together lasting thirty-five minutes. Remarkably, it is reported that Philippakopoulos can take up to a year to compose one such short piece, as each note represents a decision, one which is weighed and evaluated.

The album hannesson.boon.philippakopoulos (Editions Wandelweiser, 2019) included recordings of the four most recent Philippakopoulos piano pieces, from 2016 to 2018, performed by fellow Wandelweiser member Dante Boon (who is rumoured to have an Elsewhere release of his own on the way). Comparisons of Boon's performances to Dalibert's make fascinating listening; while there are differences—Boon often lets notes resound longer, so his versions tend to be longer than Dalibert's, for instance—both players are first rate.

Taken altogether, the music on this album makes a great advertisement for economy; there is not a wasted note throughout nor an incorrect decision by either Philippakopoulos or Dalibert. It is music which can be listened to again and again ad infinitum without losing its power to enthral and fascinate. Another stunner from Elsewhere.

Track Listing

piano piece (2013); piano piece (2014); piano piece (2015); piano piece (2016); piano piece (2017); piano piece (2018a); piano piece (2018b); five piano pieces – 1; five piano pieces – 2; five piano pieces – 3; five piano pieces – 4; five piano pieces – 5.

Personnel

Melaine Dalibert: piano.

Album information

Title: Anastassis Philippakopoulos: piano works | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Elsewhere


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