The Chopin Project
If you’re a fan of Max Richter’s work – particularly his entry into the “Recomposed” series (reworking Vivaldi’s Four Seasons) then The Chopin Project will interest you. Here, soundtrack composer and electronic musician/pianist teams with German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott to recontextualise – as well as re-record – works by Chopin; their trick, though, is to also include compositions by Arnalds which respect/pay tribute to Chopin’s influence and sound, and really it can be hard to pick the differences – in listening to the album as a whole I’ll admit I can’t spot the differences, I need the liner notes to help me there.
That’s fine though, because Arnalds’ work on both Gimme Shelter and Broadchurch have sold me on his sound – and The Chopin Project has some of Nils Frahm’s magic pixie dust sprinkled across it too; hence the soft hues around the piano and the gentle blurring of cello lines, piano and electronics.
The “Raindrop” piece (Prelude in D Flat Minor) is gorgeous, but really I’ve found it hard to pick highlights here – just sit back with the album and let it wash, gently, over you. A gorgeous trickle of sound.
For a while there it was competing with Richter’s Sleep as my go-to for the end of the day, the last listen, but just as often I’ve found myself starting the day, this year and last, with The Chopin Project.
I look forward to hearing more from Ott on the basis of her work here.
This is a wonderful way to absorb classical music – wholly of that world but built from/with the parts of this one, antique instruments, sure, but it’s this modern approach to splicing original content inside, and to wind around, these classical pieces, that gives this its edge. Albeit a soft, rounded, easy-listening edge at that.