Three moving, atmospheric neoclassical pieces

Joel Humlen – “Long term car park bin fire”
-I’ve never titled a neoclassical piece, so I’m not sure what the process is like, but I have to say this one seemed interesting to me. I’m not sure what exactly the song is meant to evoke about a parking lot fire, but there’s something in the power of these strings that speaks to me. I feel a cinematic light in the midst of this piece that I rarely hear. The piano is minimalist yet incredibly dynamic in its movement; that is to say not the loud and soft of how hard the keys are struck; I mean that it is dynamic in that it pulls out emotion and puts it in the center of the room. It makes me want to write. It makes me want to dream.

Mikael Oterhals – “Laura”
-I have always said that songs with the name of a woman are either love songs or blues/breakup songs. Since this one doesn’t have exact lyrics, I am going to judge by the mood that it’s a love song. The minimalist piano work does a great job of speaking in conversational tones. The shift in tone and style around the one minute mark allows the song to mature into a larger, more expressive piece. When it returns to the sweet, musicbox style, I can’t help but be struck by the intimacy of the whole composition. This one is an inexpressible delight.

Hideyuki Hashimoto – “Koto”
-I’ve covered Hashimoto’s music here in the past, but this one hit me with even more force. There’s something pointed and emotional about the composition. The recording allows the listener to hear the mechanics of the piano, which I love. Beyond that, though, there’s a phrasing and personality to the melody on this piece that feels like a mystery unfolding. I can’t wait to hear what the next line has to say, even if I don’t fully know the message of the piece. It calls my interest nevertheless. What does it say to you?

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