Boomkat Product Review:
Dutch pianist Reinier Van Houdt collaborates with Swiss composer Jürg Frey on this lengthy three disc set of minimal solo piano mastery.
Incredibly, "lieues d'ombres" was recorded in just three days. Reinier Van Houdt had collaborated with Jürg Frey before, most notably on the elsewhere-released "l'air, l'instant - deux pianos" when they struck up a close friendship. This set was a more demanding prospect and required more close attention from both artists; made up of three discs, it contains seven solo piano works from Frey written between 1984 and 2018. While he was recording the pieces at Hilversum's The Muziekcentrum van de Omroep, van Houdt played with Frey's drawings in mind - two of which are featured on the album's cover. "When I write music," Frey explained in an email, "I'm mainly focused on practical work: time, movement, sound and timbre."
Van Houdt brings along with him a critical understanding of Frey's process that inspires him to infuse his performance with delicate consideration. The music is minimal, but struck through with rare beauty. And Frey's composition isn't bare and emotionless, far from it - while it's not as pretty as Erik Satie's notorious furniture music, it's sparse, delicate and brimming with feeling.