"G. 1888" is the debut piano album from French pianist/composer Stephane Horeczko, and what an impressive album it is! Horeczko is classically-trained and has written an extensive body of music for film. He is also half of Kaplain, a duo that includes David Rousselet (who appears on two tracks on G. 1888). G. 1888 is an homage to French composer Erik Satie (1866-1925), and the album title comes from Satie’s most famous work, “Trois Gymnopedies.” The “G.” is for “gymnopedies,” and “1888” is the year that work was originally published. Horeczko honors Satie without trying to imitate his style, composing pieces that are “minimal, simple, straight to the soul.” The exceptional cover art also reflects this approach with an elegant line drawing. It is interesting to note that Horeczko was reading "Accueillant sans mot" by French poet Jean Marc de Samie when he started recording "G. 1888," and some of the titles of the pieces come from those poems. Horeczko wanted some of the pieces to be “echoes” of others, and he also did variations on some of the musical themes. Some music that is composed in a minimal style can become trite or boring after several listens, but Horeczko’s twelve pieces seem to open up more and more each time I hear them, making this music an excellent choice for listening with full concentration as well as a quiet backdrop for other activities.
"G. 1888" opens with “Quand la nuit s’evapore,” a classically-influenced piano solo that has a gentle, elegant flow and a warm feeling of contentment - a lovely way to begin! “Fugaces” picks up the tempo a bit, but maintains the calm serenity. The title track is the only piece that sounds somewhat like Satie. Slow, open, and on the dark side, this is a piece I think Satie would adore! “L’etreinte” introduces David Rousselet on tenor saxophone, creating a lovely duet with Horeczko’s piano. “Monochrome” is more somber and slightly agitated, but always beautiful. “Absences” is one of my favorites. The lightly percussive right hand is a gorgeous contrast to the flowing left, creating a mood of longing and reflection. I also really like “Le songe d’Anastasia,” dedicated to Natanska, a character in Dostoyevsky’s White Nights. “Le ciel n’a pas memoire” is the second duet for sax and piano, a graceful collaboration with two artists who obviously understand each other very well. This piece segues into “Ondulations,” a delicate flower of a composition. The last piece, “Une epine et la beaute” was recorded to sound like an old phonograph record - complete with small scratches and pops and the sound arm returning to its place at the end.
"G. 1888" is a fascinating musical journey, and I sincerely hope it is the first of many releases from Stephane Horeczko. Highly recommended!
His writing and playing style is like a graceful gymnast
Stéphane Horeczko's Master Album G. 1888 is something totally new and unique in the realm of solo piano music, with some tasteful jazz saxophone simple, yet heartfelt melodies performed with the piano on track 05- L'étreinte and track 10- Le ciel n'a pas mémoire. His writing and playing style is like a graceful gymnast, with space gifted to the linear time aspect as well as the chords and melodic intervals. The melody intervals and key changes are surprising and satisfying to the ear, many times haunting, highly modern classical, with a slight hint of elegant jazz. These tracks would be ideal for a movie soundtrack, where the soundtrack was completely instrumental and made the music backdrop for a deeply thoughtful, introspective subject matter. The crystal clear sound of the acoustic piano contrasts nicely with the ambient echoed saxophone sound, and the purposely old scratchy phonograph sound of the last mix brings out the timelessness of this album on track 12- Une épine et la beauté.