Melaine Dalibert - Piano Works [Elsewhere Music - 2020]Piano Works sees the welcome return of French pianist/composer Melanie Dalibert- who over the last few years has put out a consistent flow of sparse, atmospheric & at times memorable piano based albums. For this release, instead of playing his own compositions, he’s tattling a select of compositions from Greek composer Anastassis Philippakopoulosa- and these perfectly fit Dalibert’s talent for playing pared-back, hauntingly slow, yet intriguing piano music- that slowly but surely gets under one's skin.
The release appears on US modern classical label Elsewhere music- and the CD is presented in a mini gatefold, this features on its front a block of color changed seascape pictures, and inside the gatefold, this theme continues with one large seascape photo with a barren landmass in it's middle.
Featured here are twelve tracks, with a fairly short total playtime of thirty-four minutes- though the slowness & skeletal structure of the release makes it feel timeless really. The CD is split into two selections- we have compositions from between 2013 & 2018, there are seven of these. Then we have pieces from between 2005 & 2011- and they five of these. Each of the twelve tracks
run between two & three minutes apiece, and each is built around series of melodic or atmospheric notation- that’s often left to drift & simmer off in moody resonance.
The first seven tracks are based around a similar mid tonally range- with the patterns played been fairly near to each other, but subtle enough to create a feeling of steady shift/ progression. So, as a result, you can’t break this first part of the album down in certain moments, or shifts- as it remains fairly consistent in its pace, structure, and way they are played.
The five early works that top off the album are slightly more varied in both their wider use of tone, different types of playing, and use of piano- though once again the compositions are very sparse. After the lulling structure of the first part of the album, we find the deep doomed rolls meet sudden high darts of “1” quite jarring. As we move we come to contemplative mid-range simmer & slow darts of “3”. With the album been finished off with “5” this begins with a fairly rapid repeated series of rolling notation that seems hopefully-yet forlorn, before these slow and a higher note dart is added to the sequence.
Once again Piano Works highlights both Dalibert the emotional depth, control, & skill he puts into his playing. Unlike his last release, the rather wonderful Cheminant which topped my personal best of the year list, Paino works is less approachable due to its often narrow use of patterns & tonal range- but I’d say if you enjoy the more skeletal piano focused compositions of Feldman you’ll enjoy what we have here.Roger Batty