Title - 'Nightfall'
Artist - Alice Sara Ott
For those not in the classical know, Alice Sara Ott is a German classical pianist and the elder sister of Mona Asuka Ott.
Ott was born in Munich, Germany, in 1988; her Japanese mother had studied piano in Tokyo, and her father was a German civil engineer.
She says she realized as a child that "music was the language that goes much beyond any words" and that she wanted to communicate and express herself through music.
So, she started piano lessons when she was four, and reached the final stage of the youth competition in Munich at the age of five, playing to a full house in the Hercules Hall.
She won the Jugend musiziert competition in Germany when she was seven years old. In 2002 she was the youngest finalist at the Hamamatsu International Piano Academy Competition in Japan where she won the Most Promising Artist award.
From the age of twelve, she studied at the Salzburg Mozarteum with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling while continuing her school education in Munich. Ott has won awards at a number of piano competitions, including first prize at the 2004 Pianello Val Tidone Competition.
Releasing this August 24th, 2018 via Decca Classics / Deutsche Grammophon, Ott's new album, Nightfall features works by Satie, Debussy and Ravel; including Gaspard de la Nuit, one of the greatest challenges of piano literature.
Indeed, the album marks ten years that Ott – one of the world’s most in-demand classical pianists – has been signed as an exclusive recording artist to Deutsche Grammophon.
Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
1. Rêverie, L. 68 (4:43)
Suite bergamasque, L. 75
2. 1. Prélude (4:19)
3. 2. Menuet (4:24)
4. 3. Clair de lune (4:55)
5. 4. Passepied (3:50)
Erik Satie (1866 - 1925)
6. 1. Lent (4:18)
7. 1. Lent et douloureux (3:25)
8. 3. Lent (2:56)
Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937)
Gaspard de la nuit, M. 55
9. 1. Ondine (6:50)
10. 2. Le Gibet (9:20)
11. 3. Scarbo (10:14)
12. Pavane pour une infante défunte, M.19 (6:54)
Nightfall takes its inspiration from twilight: the brief, magical time when day meets night, light meets dark. Thus, this stunning, brilliant, and ethereal new recording from Ott is a merging of contrasts is reflected in a program of works that explores the complex dichotomy existing in every human character.
Also included on the album is Debussy’s Clair de Lune, one of the most popular works in the piano repertoire, which sets to music the celebrated poem by Paul Verlaine.
However, behind the beautiful, dream-like melody, the poem tells of the sadness disguised by the whimsical mask of happiness. Meanwhile Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit sets to music three poems by Aloysius Bertrand who, according to one account – felt he had received the prose from the devil himself.
Ravel’s technical Everest is full of allegorical allusions, suggesting that it is in our dreams that our deepest fears arise. From Ondine the mermaid, who faces rejection after a doomed love affair with a human being, to Scarbo, the goblin who attacks artists at night, perhaps hinting at our fear of failure.
In Gibet, the heartbeat of the deceased beats throughout the piece, bringing us face to face with loss. Satie’s Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes also feature on the album.
Deceptively simple in their minimalist compositional style, the pieces by contrast contain much complexity. Instead of musical instructions, the score features a series of ambiguous, ludic instructions such as “open your head”, or “sculpt something hollow”.
In closing, Nightfall features three composers who lived, worked and died in Paris. Three contemporaries, sometimes friends, sometimes rivals, who were all part of a time that gave the art world a new definition and direction.
You should also know that Nightfall is accompanied by two short films, created in Paris, by the Tokyo-based French film director, Julien Lévy.
'Nightfall' [CD] Official Purchase Link