Classical Solo Piano: François Bourassa » L'Impact du silence (Effendi / April 16, 2021)

Classical Solo Piano:
François Bourassa » L'Impact du silence
(Effendi / April 16, 2021)

What's the impact of silence? 

Perhaps it's an odd question for a composer to ask as the title of his album, but music is, in the end, a dance between sound and silence. Veteran pianist and composer François Bourassa's recent release is his first for solo piano after a career playing in jazz ensembles and other groups.

François Bourassa » L'Impact du silence

The mood of the album veers from thoughtful to dramatic, accessible to more esoteric. The composer talks about blending diverse directions on the album, and you can hear the drama of early 20th century music in some tracks. He mentions Scriabin in a video interview.

The music is modern, in that it uses a vast palette of music making tools from various eras to create expression, with an attention to melody (at least in bits and fragments) and rhythmic flow. 

François talks about putting the album together in a documentary video.

On solo piano, his musical imagination ventures in a variety of compelling directions. Small Head is moody and rhythmic, a piece that would lend itself to dance. Triadique sparkles, ebbs and flows with emotion. The interludes (Interlude Y and Z) were short and striking - a single musical idea. Andante pays homage to the spirit of late Romanticism.  

Musique pour Film is a standout track, appropriately cinematic in scope. It's a longer piece on the album that cycles through a range of moods 

Bourassa is known for his long career as a pianist in Québec's flourishing jazz community, and abroad as a visiting and touring musician. He's released nine albums prior to this one, including a 2001 Juno-winning live album with his quartet. In his 2017 release Carla und Karlheinz, he explored the influences of Carla Bley and Karlheinz Stockhausen in a jazz mode. This time, he delves more purely into the realm and language of Western classical music.  

His change of direction is in part due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Still, a solo piano release was part of the jazz legacy that had drawn him to the piano in the first place - a legacy of artists like Chick Correa, Keith Jarrett, Monk, and others. 

It's music that is meaty enough for serious listening, but still compatible with the mood playlist model that is keeping classical music relevant in the streaming era. 

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Piano / Composition: François Bourassa; Recording/Enregistrement: Studio La Buissonne; Animation & Concept: Sylvain Robert; Artistic Director: Mathieu Bourassa; Producer: Heidi Fleming; Consultant: Pei Yao Xu