Lubomyr Melnyk shares a new piece Barcarolle, taken from his forthcoming album Fallen Trees out on December 7th and coinciding with his 70th birthday.
Originally composed for the National Ballet of Canada production of The Dreamers Ever Leave You — a modern ballet piece by the choreographer Robert Binet — Barcarolle glides along like Venetian gondoliers singing folk songs on water, as with its traditional meaning.
Lubomyr explains: "It offers a sort of tree ballet atmosphere, reminding us that trees move in different dimensions to us. So this music is a reminder of trees and how happy they are in their dancing, albeit they dance heavily and with a certain sombreness. It is a sad Barcarolle since the tree is reminiscing. Barcarolle is not really a dance, but a song of water, waves and boats. A barge on the waves of time. The title is of course from the classical music domain and this piece, of all the works in the album, is the most classical in character. People must never forget the beautiful and wonderful world of classical music."
Cascades of notes, canyons and rivers of sound: there’s something about Lubomyr Melnyk's music that channels the natural world at its most awe-inspiring. In Fallen Trees the connection with the environment continues, taking its cue from a long rail journey Melnyk made through Europe. Glancing out of the window as the train passed through a dark forest, he was struck by the sight of trees that had recently been felled. “They were glorious,” he says. “Even though they’d been killed, they weren’t dead. There was something sorrowful there, but also hopeful.” That sense of sadness touched by optimism infuses the album, too: rarely has Melnyk made music so shot through with melancholy and regret, but which sounds so rapt, even radiant.
The five-part, 20-minute Fallen Trees is one of the most ambitious and demanding pieces he has ever created. Though the music is – as ever – Melnyk’s own, Fallen Trees once again features a number of Erased Tapes artists. Japanese vocal artist Hatis Noit, whose first EP Illogical Dance came out to much acclaim earlier this year, lends ethereal vocals, floating mysteriously above the surface of Melnyk’s eddying piano lines before diving far beneath. Other contributors include Berlin-based cellist Anne Müller, a sometime collaborator with Nils Frahm, and American singer David Allred, the most recent addition to the label family. “More than any of the albums that I’ve done, it’s a real collaboration,” Melnyk insists, emphasising how much he owes to his producer, Erased Tapes founder Robert Raths.
Despite the autumnal hint in its title, there’s little suggestion of Melnyk slowing down. Having received critical acclaim and co-headlining the prestigious Royal Festival Hall as part of the Erased Tapes 10th anniversary celebrations, after many years his audience is now both global and growing. The composer is finally gaining a momentum in his career that matches the vibrant, highly active energy of his playing.
Erased Tapes presents Lubomyr's 70th birthday concert at London's EartH on January 24, with very special guests Peter Broderick and Hatis Noit, plus support from Anne Müller.
· listen to Barcarolle
· listen to Son of Parasol
· pre-order Fallen Trees LP/CD/DL
· book tickets for the 70th birthday concert