To celebrate the original 30 piano improvisations recorded by Michael Price in 2017, 1631 Records put together a wonderful selection of new classical and ambient artists to re-work a favourite track with total freedom to respond however they chose. The new works range from string ensemble arrangements, and solo piano re-interpretations to gritty ambient soundscapes, each one an emotion and moving response to the original source material.
“While the original was meant to capture Price’s creative process in motion, these new reinterpretations pull even more emotion out of the original work. This is both an achingly beautiful recording and a collection of heartfelt tributes.”
Celebrated British composer Michael Price has worked with film-makers for much of his career. After scoring numerous dance works early in his career, Michael Kamen asked Price to orchestrate and program music for his Paramount production of Event Horizon. That 1996 gig sparked a vibrant five-year period during which the pair collaborated on multiple film scores and performances.
More recently, Price has been partnering with composer David Arnold. Among their better known projects is the soundtrack work for the ITV series Jekyll and Hyde.
Diary Reworks represents a different style of partnership. Eight artists have reworked or recomposed pieces from Price’s 2017 LP Diary. The original recording featured 30 solo piano improvisations laid down over six weeks.
While the original was meant to capture Price’s creative process in motion, these new reinterpretations pull even more emotion out of the original work. This is both an achingly beautiful recording and a collection of heartfelt tributes.
Fellow film composer Michael A. Muller transforms Ink On Paper into a gritty ambient piece. Library Tapes’ take on When Rivers Run I See is gentle and fluid.
Dmitry Evgrafov is next with his own, more dramatic take on Ink On Paper. That’s followed by a vintage Sophie Hutchings solo piano performance of I Will, For You.
Madeleine Cocolas’ rework of Song for A takes the album back in an ambient direction, with a beatific vocal added for good measure. Julia Kent delivers a breath-taking cello performance on True Is.
The final pair features Akira Kosemura and Marco Caricola. Kosemura’s take on To Begin is a close-to-perfect combination of classical and ambient electronic music. Caricola’s recomposition of A Birthday – the only piece so described – is more traditional. Lavish strings give the piece added force and resonance.
Like any good compilation disc, this one is bound to send its listeners shopping for more work from each of these artists. Price couldn’t ask for a better set of reinterpretations.
The songs on Diary were certainly lovely enough and warmly accessible on their own terms, but, by their very design, they were unrefined and unedited. In the context of Diary Reworks, we can think of it as a sketchbook left behind by the artist for others to embellish and bring to life as full color, multi-dimensional works of art. Case in point is the lovely treatment of “I Will, For You” by Sophie Hutchings.
The pencil lines of Price’s charming melody are still there to be seen & heard, but the hushed reverb and tender felt touches of Sophie’s piano give them added definition even as her fluid and lilting style add cascading hues of soft color elevating the piece into a blissful suspension of time.
Similar magic is wrought by the album’s other contributors which include Michael A. Muller (Balmorhea), Library Tapes, Dmitry Evgrafov, Madeleine Cocolas, Julia Kent, Akira Kosemura, and Marco Caricola, each one bringing another sketch to life in their own expressive style. Inspiration begets inspiration in this pristine collection which has turned out to be one of the musical treats of the summer.
The artists chosen to rework Diary tracks all also contributed to a wonderful series of interviews on the Contemplative Classical site.
Madeleine Cocolas said, “reworking music feels different to composing something from scratch, yet is still very satisfying to me. It’s an interesting experience to have the starting point of a composition pre-determined, and it’s sometimes nice not to be faced with a blank manuscript. I really enjoy the process of playing around with an original track that is not something I would ordinarily write myself, and turning it into something completely different.”