Zbiginew Preisner / Lisa Gerrard / Dominik Wania
Memories of My Youth
The Polish composer Zbiginew Preisner has worked widely across theatre, dance and film – including orchestrations for David Gilmour and perhaps is best known for a series of film-scores including music for The Secret Garden and the Three Colours series of works by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski (also his A Short Film About Love and A Short Film About Killing).
Lisa Gerard (Dead Can Dance) you know and love for her multi-octave singing with band and solo and her own significant soundtrack-scoring contributions (Gladiator, Whale Rider) and Dominik Wania is a young pianist who has worked across jazz (Marcus Miller, Dave Liebman, Joey Baron) and noise (Noise Trio), creating solo albums ad collaborating with a wide range of musicians in small combo and duo/trio settings.
Here it is Gerrard’s voice and Wania’s piano giving live to compositions from Preisner which, as the title tells us, take their inspiration from the Polish melodies of his upbringing.
Gerrard is exquisite from the opening breath-control and eerie silences of Roots through two pieces she co-composed (America, Australia) and in the reverence she creates (Nocturne) alongside Wania’s delicate chord voicings.
In fact it’s Wania’s piano that is perhaps the real star here – this “night music” is full of dramatic shapes (Confession) and soft phrasing
This is an album to curl up with in contemplation. A nightcap by the fire, a cup of tea and a good stare out the window, your favourite book nearby, your eyes closed for the evening but your brain still in processing mode, sleep beckoning.
I’ve been listening to this set of nine new pieces in a variety of settings, finding a new favourite moment each time.
This of course is what I crave from music. And this is the type of ‘soul’ music you feel you’ve earned as you listen. What a discovery. What beauty. All of human emotion channeled into stark, lovely pieces.
This won’t be for everyone. Which as always is what I like most about it.
But as a fan of Gerrard and Preisner’s work, separately, this feels like a perfect – wonderful – collaboration. And Wania is a new name for me to work through now, knowing he’s added his delicate touch to many great albums across the last decade.
This, for me, is nearly perfect music and in the stark opening days of 2020 it feels like the ultimate soundtrack.