Album of the Week: Vanessa Wagner

French classical pianist Vanessa Wagner’s latest record, Inland released on InFiné, presents a wonderfully diverse and charmingly off-kilter set of minimalist works for solo piano.

Consisting of short pieces, the longest being 9:09, from composers Moondog, Nico Muhly, Meredith Monk, William Susman, Bryce Dessner, Pēteris Vasks, Gavin Bryars, Hans Otte, Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, Philip Glass, Wim Mertens, and Michael Nyman, Inland is also a study in quiet, shimmering beauty.

From the artist’s website:

Known for her musical flair, the intensity and the rich touch with which she plays, her thoughtful interpretations of a vast and continuously renewed repertoire, are the reflection of her awareness.

She carefully chooses each and every one of her projects, ranging from the release of records to the stage, with an overt willingness towards eclecticism and the rigors associated with her art.

The album’s title comes from John Cage’s Imaginary Landscape, Wagner explored Cage and other composer’s works with electronic musician Murcof on her previous release Statae (also highly recommended), but here it’s all Wagner and piano all the time and the range and breadth of sounds, places, spaces, emotions, and wonder is breathtaking. I only wish Inland was longer (like forever).

You need to devote your time to the full album and even then, if you’re anything like me, it’s only after repeated plays does the magic take hold.

Inland is available from from InFiné‘s Bandcamp page.

Listen here (if time is dear at the moment, try out track 9 “Das Buch der Klänge, Part 2” by Hans Otte):