An Aural Refuge…

Listening to Casa by pianist Jean-Michel Blais makes my heart yearn for a place to call home. The piece is just one of the amazing tracks that explore the colourful textures of the piano.  The transformations from nostalgia, pensive silence and reflections, melancholy, yearning, and a homebound journey with renewed perspectives. Casa plucks my heartstring. But, listen also to the jolly life of Budapest, and one finds the multi-layered texture reminiscent of Brahms’ Hungarian Dance N°5 or Listz’s Hungarian Rhapsody N°2. And, then, the background sounds incorporated into the pieces — children playing, birds singing, the weather, a camera’s shutter clicking and whirring, and inhalations — create enriching backdrops for the compositions. There is a refreshing effect in these works by the Quebec native, yet they are peppered with John Cage’s silence, Philip Glass’s repetition, and a moment’s spark of creative improvisation.  But most important of all is that I have found an aural refuge in Jean-Michel Blais’ offerings.

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