Eydís Evensen : The Light Review
Icelandic pianist-composer Eydís Evensen’s second album, The Light, is an artistic experience that unveils the beauty found within pain, suffering, and solitude. This album is an introspective journey that paints a vivid picture of human emotions through the universal language of music. Read our review of her EP Frost.
The album embarks on its journey with “Anna’s Theme,” a piece that gently coaxes the listener into Evensen’s musical realm. This track, marked by a simple yet memorable melody, unfolds through a series of beautiful chord progressions. Evensen’s touch on the piano is light and flowing, the recording warm with a buzz favored by many neu-classical and contemporary classical pianists. It serves as a solid introduction to the album and to the enchanting music yet to come.
Next, “The Light II” features the stunning vocal harmonies of the Schola Cantorum Reykjavicensis. The composition is texturally rich, evoking strong emotions with its stirring counterpoint among the four vocal parts. With influences from the late Romantic period, the choir’s expressive range and the piece’s multiple contrapuntal lines create a deeply resonating and emotionally stirring music that is bound to captivate listeners.
“Tephra Horizon” begins with a focus on the piano’s lower register before the celestial strings enter. The theme is cinematic, and Evensen’s use of accelerandos adds a dynamic element to the piece. The music swells as the brass and strings intertwine with their respective melodies, all held together by Evensen’s sensitive and supportive piano work. This piece showcases the ensemble’s harmonic capabilities as the various instruments interplay to create a rich tapestry of sound.
Closing the album is “Resolution,” a piece that begins with a developing arpeggio pattern and segues into a steady chordal theme. As the strings make their soft entrance, the harmony blossoms, and a new journey begins. The orchestration between the strings, brass, and Evensen’s piano creates a pastel color palette against her delightful harmonic landscape. Her piano part, featuring playful cross-rhythms, contrasts beautifully with the transparency of the ensemble’s colors. The result is a relaxing and rewarding musical experience.
Evensen’s music exhibits a unique richness that is inspired by life. Her instrumental ruminations on the natural world, pain and loss, grief, and hope, are as timely and relevant as ever, perhaps even more so in our increasingly digital world.
The album was recorded in Iceland, Reykjavík at Greenhouse Studios and Fríkirkjan, and in the UK, London, at Air-Edel Studios between August and September 2022. It was produced by Valgeir Sigurðsson with assistant engineers Domiziano Maselli, Leonardo Tommasi, and Jakob Vasak, while the mastering was handled by Bo Kondren. The executive producer for The Light was Dr. Alexander Buhr. The album’s artwork was designed by Mark Wagstaff and Sarah Hampson, with photographs by Anna Maggý.
The Light is a beautiful and poetic expression through music and a reminder that when so much is being replaced and devoured by the artificial and the technological, remember to turn inward to your inner emotions and release yourself to the tranquility of nature and all its splendor. For both fans of neu-classical music and new-age listeners, Eydís Evensen’s The Light is a journey well worth embarking upon.
May 26, 2023