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Ólafur Arnalds - The Chopin Project

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The Chopin Project

Alice Sara Ott

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This week's entry in the very-much-like-nothing-you've-ever-heard-before sweepstakes comes from Icelandic electronic musician and composer Ólafur Arnalds and German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott, whose recording of Chopin waltzes inspired the project. What you get are recordings of Chopin piano compositions, plus original compositions by Arnalds based on motifs from Chopin. In one case, "Eyes Shut/Nocturne in C minor" (track six), the two are combined. Arnalds' pieces employ his own electronic keyboard textures, plus a live string quintet. On top of this, the pianos are vintage instruments hunted down in Reykjavik, and the ambience, if you will, was manipulated by recording in various venues and with various microphones there. And, on top of all this, Arnalds adds ambient soundscapes (noise, sounds of conversation, whispers, etc.) to the music. The ideas seem packed in a bit thick. The string quintet, for example, was a sound unused by Chopin, and it introduces an element that seems discordant with the source material. But there is a major X factor working in favor of this release: nobody has ever tried anything much like this, either with Chopin or with any other composer, and it just might be the beginning of something new and important. Check it out and decide for yourself!
© James Manheim /TiVo

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The Chopin Project

Ólafur Arnalds

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1
Verses
00:04:03

Alice Sara Ott, MainArtist - Nils Frahm, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist

℗ 2015 Mercury KX, a division of Decca Music Group Limited

2
Piano Sonata No.3: Largo
00:09:17

Frederic Chopin, Composer - Alice Sara Ott, MainArtist - Nils Frahm, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist

℗ 2015 Mercury KX, a division of Decca Music Group Limited

3
Nocturne in C Sharp Minor
00:04:24

Frederic Chopin, Composer - Nathan Milstein, Arranger, Work Arranger - Alice Sara Ott, MainArtist - Nils Frahm, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist - Mari Samuelsen, FeaturedArtist

℗ 2015 Mercury KX, a division of Decca Music Group Limited

4
Reminiscence
00:04:28

Alice Sara Ott, MainArtist - Nils Frahm, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist

℗ 2015 Mercury KX, a division of Decca Music Group Limited

5
Nocturne in G Minor
00:03:01

Frederic Chopin, Composer - Alice Sara Ott, MainArtist - Nils Frahm, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist

℗ 2015 Mercury KX, a division of Decca Music Group Limited

6
Eyes Shut - Nocturne in C Minor
00:06:41

Alice Sara Ott, MainArtist - Nils Frahm, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist

℗ 2015 Mercury KX, a division of Decca Music Group Limited

7
Written In Stone
00:03:27

Alice Sara Ott, MainArtist - Nils Frahm, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist

℗ 2015 Mercury KX, a division of Decca Music Group Limited

8
Letters Of A Traveller
00:04:17

Alice Sara Ott, MainArtist - Nils Frahm, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist

℗ 2015 Mercury KX, a division of Decca Music Group Limited

9
Prélude in D Flat Major ("Raindrop"), Op.28, No.15
00:05:55

Frederic Chopin, Composer - Alice Sara Ott, MainArtist - Nils Frahm, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist

℗ 2015 Mercury KX, a division of Decca Music Group Limited

Album Description

This week's entry in the very-much-like-nothing-you've-ever-heard-before sweepstakes comes from Icelandic electronic musician and composer Ólafur Arnalds and German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott, whose recording of Chopin waltzes inspired the project. What you get are recordings of Chopin piano compositions, plus original compositions by Arnalds based on motifs from Chopin. In one case, "Eyes Shut/Nocturne in C minor" (track six), the two are combined. Arnalds' pieces employ his own electronic keyboard textures, plus a live string quintet. On top of this, the pianos are vintage instruments hunted down in Reykjavik, and the ambience, if you will, was manipulated by recording in various venues and with various microphones there. And, on top of all this, Arnalds adds ambient soundscapes (noise, sounds of conversation, whispers, etc.) to the music. The ideas seem packed in a bit thick. The string quintet, for example, was a sound unused by Chopin, and it introduces an element that seems discordant with the source material. But there is a major X factor working in favor of this release: nobody has ever tried anything much like this, either with Chopin or with any other composer, and it just might be the beginning of something new and important. Check it out and decide for yourself!
© James Manheim /TiVo

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