UNDER PIANO SKIES

London, 2021

Under Piano Skies, Mathieu Karsenti’s latest release, is the result of serendipity and the accidental musical meeting of the French composer and pianist Marie Awadis, during the realisation of the virtual collaborative project Haruki — a compilation in honour of the Japanese writer and author Haruki Murakami. As with most of Karsenti’s solo releases, Under Piano Skies is an EP composed of four pieces, all revolving under a central theme; for this particular project meteorological phenomenons and lexicons. Subjects which leans themselves well to musical creativity.  

 

While made of and conceived through many of Karsenti’s usual musical intentions — simplicity, layer-ism, abstraction, contemplation and meditation — Under Piano Skies represents a compositional shift, and challenge for the composer as it is his first release for piano solo. A first for a composer who is accustomed to music for strings… 

Indeed, a move away from Karsenti’s sustained melodies, it is an opportunity for him to adapt and translate his creative ideas to an instrument which steers away from them and which can only access these ideas through clever composing techniques — such as the use of the sustain pedal and creative silent composing. 

One can hear it in the writing, Karsenti tries to make each musical idea last a song as possible, creating a sense of flotation for an instrument which is naturally percussive. 

The performance and interpretation of Awadis is in perfect harmony, and the Armenian pianist is well at ease with the creativity of Karsenti and uses very little additional and extra-instrumental techniques to convey the composer’s written ideas. 

It is suggestive music; both in its intentions — Karsenti descends from the idealistic school of French impressionism, and his music always carries an element of abstract suggestive music — and in its realisation — rather than focusing on harmony, Karsenti explores melodic motifs, suggesting chords and counterpoint. 

 

Karsenti is also a graphic artist, and the more his music evolves, the more the parallelisms between his visual art and his compositions are brought forward and become apparent. 

Under Piano Skies continues where the last project — Exchanges — ended, and going away from strongly contrapuntal music to something more paced and elongated. At least, this is how the listener initially perceives it. Yet, when one does pay more attention to it, there is a subtle and well-conceived line which ties all of Karsenti’s projects together.