Album artwork for Éclats (Piano Works)

Éclats (Piano Works) Christine Ott

Release date: November 3, 2023
Cat No: GZH110
Barcode: 4250101464034
Digital Album
Two years after Time to Die, French composer Christine Ott returns to Gizeh Records with her fifth album, Éclats (Piano Works), a collection of twelve pieces for solo piano, twelve impressionistic miniatures, instrumental and cinematic fractals celebrating the beauty of life.

Éclats (Piano Works) is a kind of mirror image to Chimères (for Ondes Martenot) (2020, Nahal Recordings), which showcased her other favourite instrument, and for which Christine Ott is particularly renowned - as she is through her past collaborations with Yann Tiersen, Tindersticks, and this year with Chilly Gonzales. But here, there's no vintage electronics: the musician unfurls acoustic landscapes in black and white, alone at the piano, behind a Steinway, a Fazioli or her father's old Prestel. The album opens with Pluie d'arbres, a powerful yet delicate allegory of deforestation. This duality runs through the album, whose energy is sometimes melancholy, sometimes hopeful, but always generous and full of empathy.

Sometimes nourished by revealing improvised gestures and crystallised during live performances, these new pieces by Christine Ott also make the link with various projects by the artist, both on stage and in film. Die Jagd nach dem Glück (The Pursuit of Happiness) is an extract from her original composition for Lotte, mon amour, a film-concert created in 2014 based on 4 short films by Lotte Reiniger, a German director from the first half of the 20th century. Lotte Reiniger was a true pioneer of animated film, and her films are still incredibly modern and human. Originally composed for piano, Martenot ondes and viola, this highly romantic piece is presented here in its simplest orchestration. Éruption Volcanique also foreshadows another film-concert work by Christine Ott, to come in 2024, for Robert Flaherty's Man of Aran. Set on a storm-swept island off the coast of Ireland, the film depicts the daily life of a fishing family in the 1930s. In a film-concert with an ambitious, physical and immersive score, the musician pays tribute to the courage of these inhabitants, united by a strong sense of solidarity, in constant battle with the elements.

Éclats (Piano Works) presents works recorded over a long period of time; a clear homage to Hitchcock, the writing of Vertigo undoubtedly has its origins in the composer's youth. Some pieces, such as Étreintes and Amours étoilés, were recorded during the sessions for Only Silence Remains (2016), and Christine Ott has regularly performed Golden Valley on stage since its creation in 2018 - whether as solo piano or rearranged in groups as part of her parallel projects (Snowdrops, Theodore Wild Ride...). Other compositions, such as Clouds of Dreams, are much more recent. So it's a real gift to finally discover on record the variety and richness of these twelve original compositions, which have long remained in the shadows.

And to bring these melodic bursts to life, Christine Ott called on the services of visual artist Léa Barbazanges, who creates sculptures and installations using assemblages of plant, mineral and animal materials. The works that adorn the album cover come from her Optiques series; 12 photographs of crystals seen through a lens, like a poetic prism that brings us closer to living things, their textures and ramifications, as obvious as they are complex, and that give a formidable visual echo to the 12 compositions on the album.

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