Among all the musical genres, Meditative and Modern Classical are the ones where the delicate balance between beauty, complexity and creativity is probably the most difficult to achieve and keep in time. Sliding into banality or moving in the other direction towards a sterile and unappreciative conceptuality, in this case, is definitely a possibility. And it is not by chance, thus, that there are a few composers that have mastered the secrets of this complex art and who manage to place basically every one of their new albums at the top places of the music rankings. But in the midst of these well-known and appreciated composers, every now and then we may discover a few young revelations who emerge from the mass of those musicians who seek commercial success through the mere repetition of an already established canon, and instead manage to amaze and inspire us with new musical ideas.
Let’s see who are the composers of Meditative and Modern Classical music who impressed us more than any other in 2017. As mentioned earlier, you will find affirmed and renowned authors but also some new musical revelation.
1. Max Richter, Three Worlds Music From Woolf Works
Three Worlds Music From Woolf Works is Max Richter’s eightheth album and it’s mostly consisting of the music score that the British musician composed for the ballet Woolf Works in collaboration with choreographer Wayne McGregor. Compared to the major works from Richter, this album somehow leaves the post-minimalist sounds of his last releases to embrace a neoclassical style, somehow closer to his early works. Interspersed with the larger orchestral moments, we still find, however, a few synthetic inserts which give the music an estranged and pleasantly artificial atmosphere.
This is a must-have disc for all Richter’s fan but, more in general, for all music lovers. It represents a perfect fusion between creativity, depth of sound and enjoyability.
2. Joep Beving, Prehension
The story of Joep Beving testifies the impact that social media and modern streaming services may have on the success (and sometimes the failure) of a new artists. This Dutch musician recorded some of the original piano tunes that he used to play for his family, distributed them online, and eventually sparked a stratospheric interest from hundreds of thousands of Spotify subscribers. At that point, contended by a number of record companies, he released this year a second record, Prehension, which confirmed the class and talent of the artist.
The style of Joep Beving follows the successful stream of modern classical and contemplative piano music, but just because of the fact that this genres begins to be definitely inflated, to emerge from the mass becomes even more difficult. The short compositions collected in Prehension reach the magical point of equilibrium where accessibility of the melodies matches with class and style. All the musical attributes of Bevings’ compositions float in that delicate balance between minimalism and delicacy where every additional element would make the sounds redudant, but anything less than that would compromise pleasure and smoothness of the songs.
3. Daigo Hanada, Ichiru
Daigo Hanada is a young and talented Japanese pianist and composer, born in Tokyo but based in Berlin. Hanada released on last February a little masterpiece, named Ichiru, where he plays delicate and minimalistic melodies on a simple upright piano. The album contains a collection of relatively short but deeply captivating piano moments (intimate vignettes), which collectively show how sometimes the simplicity of arrangement and the immediacy of the melodies may generate an immediate connection between the author and the listener.
This is definitely one of the most lovely albums we heard so far in 2017.
4. Peter Broderick, All Together Again
All Together Again is the new solo record from American composer Peter Broderick. The LP collects in a single place all the works he was commissioned to write during his first decade of career. The interesting thing about this album is that despite being a collection of pieces conceived for different purposes and in different moments, they all manifest the same musical sensibility and the charm that have become distinctive features of the style of Broderick’s production. From a musical point of view, his music belongs to that category of compositions where nothing is excessive: every note, every chord every beat, every layer of music is there because the song couldn’t stand without. This is music stripped of any redundancy. Soundscapes and delicate melodies that are perfect to accompany the movements of your thoughts.
One of the most particular pieces of the LP is A Ride On The Bosphorus, an epic 17-minutes long piece that was commissioned for an art project.
5. Akira Kosemura, In the Dark Woods
Japanese composer Akira Koseumura has recently reached the important milestone of 10 years of well-regarded career in modern classical music. In such time he has achieved a respected position in the music scene because of his ability to mesh together minimal tunes played on the piano with field recordings, other acoustic instruments and also electronic soundscapes. Kosemura’s music has always been extremely delicate, some call it “sparse”, and according to many more suitable for a musical background rather than made for deep and concentrated listening. Personally, I’ve always appreciated his style, which represents for me a magical way to flee into a serene world, free from all those complications and problems of our everyday life
Kosemura’s last album, In The Dark Woods, maintains all the typical features of his music and it contains a beautiful collection of intimate and delicate pieces, most of them playing aroung a few simple piano tunes. The LP is focused on the concept of finding comfort in the darkness and it is maybe one of the most introspective works the Japanes arthist made so far.