Steven’s recommendation Nr. 3 (Love In the Sky – Laurent Perez Del Mar)
Today I am going to write about the piece Love In The Sky by Laurent Perez Del Mar, which is the soundtrack of the movie ‘La tortue rouge’ from 2016. I did not watch it, but when a friend of mine sent me the link for the soundtrack, I was immediately caught by its very emotional and powerful atmosphere. This piece starts off by using this drone, a pedal tone (A), that sets the mood for what is coming. It slowly builds up by introducing the key of D minor, which is commonly used to emphasize sadness or seriousness of a specific topic. During the first part of the piece (until 1:20 min), there is some interesting sound design used, which greatly contributes to the increasing tension, that leads to the climax at 1:20 min, when a female voice and string orchestra slowly fades into the mix, which goes along with a crescendo (it gradually became louder) until it finally reveals its full emotional potential at 1:27 min. For several reasons, this is my favourite part of the piece.
At first, the main voice is doubled by the female singer and the high strings section, which sets the focus completely onto that one melody line and therefore makes it really powerful. Moreover, the melody occasionally uses big leaps, which evokes the feeling of importance and seriousness, which is at its highest level at 1:39 min, where the melody leaps a minor sixth up to the minor third of the IV Chord, which feels very emotional and sad to me. The minor sixth is generally known for evoking these feelings. At that point, this interval is used so well, in combination with the loudest dynamic peak point of the piece, that it almost feels other-worldly or ‘bigger than life’ to me. Another point, which I find extremely appropriate to create a sad atmosphere is the use of the Lamento motif, which was already used by Bach in his ‘Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen’ and by many other composers throughout history, as it is so effective. It basically is a chord progression that descends from the tonic to the dominant while using chord v and iv in first inversion in between (i-v6-iv6-v). Usually, the last dominant chord is a major chord, but in this piece it was changed to minor, which makes it even more tragic. The main theme is repeated twice and during the second time, a solo cello adds a second voice to the female’s, which is an elegant way to create variety. It afterwards fades out slowly without resolving back to the tonic, which leaves the listener alone in his or her sadness..
This is the link to the recording of the piece by Laurent Perez Del Mar. The references I made in the text are based on that video:
Feel free to leave me a comment, on how you like this piece or if you have any questions on my post. See you for the next one!
#Wirsing, Steven :)
Steven’s recommendation Nr. 4 (Keith Jarrett – Vienna Concert 2004)
Due to time issues, this is going to be my last review for a while, but I definitely wanted to include my favourite Jazz piano player into this series. Keith Jarrett is born in 1945 in Pennsylvania and played together with Jazz legends like Miles Davis. He does not only play Jazz, but is also known interpretations of for instance Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, and the reason why I especially like to listen to him is that he is a great improviser, who plays entire concerts out of these improvisations. His style is characterized by a mixture of classical elements and Jazz, which is exactly what inspires me and my improvisations as well. Some of his most famous live concerts are for instance The Bremen concert (1973) or
The Köln Concert (1975). My favourite live concert however is the Vienna Concert from 1991, which differs in style from his previous ones, as he balances classical along with Jazz elements in this one, whereas the previous ones had a more distinct Jazz influence. Unfortunately, this concert is not available on Youtube in Germany, so I chose a live recording from a different concert, which he also played in Vienna in 2004, for this blog post. If you are interested in the full one hour Vienna concert from 1991, who can listen to it on streaming platforms like Spotify or other ones.
But still, the excerpt of 2004’s concert gives a good insight of his unique style, and is as well very beautiful. The whole piece is in the key of Eb major, which stays consistent during his improvisation except for occasionally emphasizing the parallel minor key, C minor. For instance, he starts off the piece by playing an Eb major to Bb major chord progression over a C pedal for several times, which creates an open and nostalgic atmosphere, until he releases it to establish the key of Eb major (0:00-0:53). In general, he follows the tension and release principle and uses chord progressions that stick to the rules of classical harmony analysis. From 0:53 to 1:09 min, he improvises over an I-vi-iv-V progression, which a perfect example of this. Moreover, he likes to use deceptive cadences to suspend the feeling of release (for instance see 1:25 – 1:33 until the release at 1:48). There are many other examples in that improvisation. My favourite part is from 3:40 – 4:15, where he again follows the vi-iv-V-I progression, while improvising a very consistent and pleasing melody over it. These are the moments in my improvisations as well, when the flow just brings you to another place and everything makes perfect sense.
Keith Jarret is very expressive in his playing, which can be directly experienced by the listener as he often sings the melody along or makes noises while playing. In that video there is only a short example of this at 2:11, but if you listen to the Vienna Concert for instance, you get the full Keith Jarrett experience. At first I was a bit confused about that, but I now like how he just does not care about it and expresses himself so freely, which I think is so important in order to make the best out of your improvisations.
This is the link to the recording of an excerpt of 2004’s Vienna Concert by Keith Jarrett. The references I made in the text are based on that video:
Feel free to leave me a comment, on how you like this piece or if you have any questions on my post.
#Wirsing, Steven :)