Beyond (and Below)
Raindrops on Mars [5:04]
Tokyo Rush [5:56]
Ishtar's Gate [4:40]
Beyond (and Below) [3:46]
On the Run [4:04]
A Melancholic Waltz [6:28]
Perpetuum Mobile [4:59]
Liquid Daydream [6:46]
Le Petit Prince [3:48]
Tokyo Rush (remix) [6:06]
Anne Lovett (piano)
rec. St George's church, Bristol, England. DDD
Discovery Music and Vision DMV101[56:36]
This is the debut album by young French pianist Anne Lovett, featuring her own original piano pieces. Initially released in 2010, the disc has now been reissued through distributor Discovery Records, although both it and a cheaper download version can be bought at Lovett's own website.
From the titles of some of the tracks and the inclusion of a "remix", to the glamour of the digipak design - and, for that matter of Lovett herself, pictured on the cover - this CD has the hallmarks of a pop album. At the very least the would-be listener has every reason to suppose that this is another of those myriad albums of 'ambient' or New Age piano pieces, perhaps of the moody minimalist type churned out by Ludovico Einaudi.
Lovett's stated aim, however, is to write "challenging virtuosic works that would be as wide-reaching and exciting as a rock or pop concert, but with the depth and quality of a classical concert". It does seem rather unlikely that the millions who allow their emotions to be whipped up into a hormonal frenzy by the mass entertainment industry will find much excitement here. Nor are the works challenging in the way, say, Liszt, Godowsky or Ornstein are - as a matter of fact, there are mesmeric textures and flowing, quasi-improvisational passages that are more likely to bring to mind Philip Glass and Keith Jarrett respectively.
Yet most often it is a Satiean nostalgic lyricism, playful and lightly impressionistic, that comes through in Lovett's intelligent, warm and reflective music. Indeed, some of these pieces have a natural beauty that almost contradicts the artificial image-consciousness of the album graphics. Lovett describes this collection as "inspired by real life stories, old mythological legends and imaginary tales", which is hardly revelatory, but although a few of the pieces are relatively self-similar in that semi-minimalist style, there is much here that is instantly memorable. Moreover, a fair amount of virtuosity is required for some of the pieces - the breakneck wave upon wave of notes in On the Run or Perpetuum Mobile, for example - and professional pianists would do well to explore Lovett's music for audience-pleasing recital components or encore pieces.
As for her pianism, Lovett is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, and her credentials stand up well to scrutiny in a performance of her own pieces that is, as may be expected, expressive, fluent and persuasive.
Sound quality is very good. The booklet is more of a leaflet, and tucked away in a sleeve that makes it rather hard to get at, but Lovett's own notes are well written and fairly informative.
Finally, the Tokyo Rush Europop remix is courtesy of "fantastic producer and Brit Award winner James Sanger, best known for his multi-million-selling work with Keane, U2, Dido and Brian Eno": caveat auditor.
Collected reviews and contact at reviews.gramma.co.uk
Expressive, fluent and persuasive.