Les heures immobiles by Vanessa WagnerRelease date: July 7, 2023
Label: Infine Music
French pianist Vanessa Wagner has been making a name for herself with her diverse repertoire that covers composers from a variety of genres, which she then transforms into something that is anywhere between modern classical and avant-garde. That repertoire can range from Maurice Ravel, through John Cage, to a piano/electronics duo with Murcof (Statea, 2016).
On Les heures immobiles,her most recent outing, she is in a more modern mood, as far as the composers she tackles – two from Philip Glass, a composer she often refers to, Kate Moore, Meredith Monk, and two, who many would not connect to modern classical music, The National’s Bryce Dessner and Laurel Halo.
The album, inspired by the aphorisms of French author Henri Michaud was recorded during an intimate session in December 2022, and the six variations Wagner present here, have that aura of intimacy she was looking for.
Wagner particularly refers to the transcription here of the iconic “Gotham Lullaby” by Meredith Monk, an artist whom Vanessa describes as “whole and free”. As she explains she wanted to give a slightly different colour to this song that I love, sung by Meredith herself, and covered by Bjork in particular, with this solo piano arrangement that Meredith Monk, after listening, allowed me to broadcast”.
Yet, all of the interpretations here are almost perfect, with Wagner’s intricate touch shining throughout.