The pianist known only as Alchymie has released her instrumental LP of seasonal music, “Midnight Clear.” The full-length album consists of no fewer than 15 tracks for a grand total of over an hour’s listening time. It has been proudly released independent from involvement with the corporate music industry. Gentle as a winter breeze yet evocative, moving and even inspiring at times, “Midnight Clear” is the latest reason for fans of instrumental music to pay close attention to the elegant and intuitive playing of Alchymie.
Asked to name some key musical influences for her “Midnight Clear” LP, Alchymie cites imagery rather than people: “A clear northern winter sky full of stars, the clean newly fallen snow, the stillness as everything waits, the absolute perfection and beauty of a moment in time … midnight clear.”
As unbelievable as it may seem, these ideas go a long way toward suggesting the overall sound of “Midnight Clear,” which album takes its name from the 1849 classic, “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” (Track 9 on the record). This makes perfect sense, as Alchymie’s selections for her new LP are the same songs and carols which have signified the holiday season for nearly two centuries.
The songs on “Midnight Clear” include such time-honored compositions as “Silent Night,” “Good King Wenceslas,” “We Three Kings of Orient Are,” and “What Child Is This.” Also of note, Alchymie closes out her album with the New Year’s Day tradition of “Auld Lang Syne,” followed finally by what may be the oldest surviving holiday song, “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” which first appeared in its modern form in 1599.
These songs have qualities and characters all their own, but the collection, presentation, and overall performance of the album belong solely to Alchymie, a pianist with as much character and soul in her playing as the songs have in their grand histories. She lends to each track an inventiveness and imaginative interpretation which manages to be both innovative and unique as well as strikingly respectful to the original pieces. Returning fans of Alchymie will remark that nobody could balance these aims the way Alchymie can.
The artist describes the message of her new instrumental LP in the following paragraph:
“The magic imparted by a particular time of night during the holiday season, just before midnight when things go clear, it’s quiet. The snow has given a hushed blanket of solitude in which we can relax, reflect and enjoy the holiday season through ambient stillness with soundscapes that remind us of familiar holiday melodies but allow our thoughts and hearts to drift even further.”
“Midnight Clear” by Alchymie is available online worldwide beginning Sept. 1, 2015. Get in early, fans of piano and holiday music.
"Angels We Have Heard On High adds considerable depth to this holiday classic; the dense arrangements of this effort will stand up to repeat listens. The most important part of this composition has to be the narrative that is weaved through the playing; there does not have to be anything in the way of vocals to have listeners experience a full tale....."
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