The Armenian German based pianist and composer Marie Awadis has recently released her second solo project, Searching. After her first album in 2015, Awadis returns with a project that blends modern minimalism with her traditional Armenian roots. The composer is well known for her performances of traditional and folkloric piano pieces, as well as being half of the Duo Karma founded in 2009 with Karolin Scholz.
Searching is a fascinating project in many of its facets. From the simple triadic introduction of Breeze, that sets the mood for the rest of the album, to its closing piece—Huysi Zanker (Bells of Hope)—that reveals some of Awadis’ musical Armenian heritage. Although primarily a composer, Awadis ventures in the world of improvisation with Autumn Improvisation, that lays spontaneous music over a repetitive ticking note. The principle of iteration is used again on You, a melancholic piece based on a tetradic chiming melody, as well as Oror (Lullaby), a very serene piece which makes use of a left-hand ostinato supported by thematic variations. There is a striking simplicity in Searching, as well as a strong research for lyricism and musicality–Song without Words or the nostalgic Louna’s Waltz. Two tracks illustrating moments of the year; September and November are two airy and almost mystical pieces which on their own hint towards some of the most oriental pieces of the album. Indeed, the title track, Searching, mixes pianistic textures and ornamental melodies reminiscent of the music of the Caucasus region.
It is very clear to see where Awadis comes from musically, whether it is the likes of the American minimalism school or the influence of the romantic composers. However, she always seems to be looking to surprise the listener, notably through the use of unexpected notes and melodies—marks of her own history and cultural heritage—bringing interesting flavours to the music.
Awadis seems to be in perfect control of the art of making agreeable pieces of music, that shine with modesty and melodicity. However, it is for her a process which has not reached its end, and in her own words “Searching is a part of my path I started a couple years ago, trying to find my place in music”…