Víkingur Olafsson – Reflections (2021) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Víkingur Ólafsson – Reflections (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:09:01 minutes | 1,08 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

This album is something of an offshoot of pianist Vikingur Ólafsson’s album Debussy/Rameau, which offered a deep and well-received dive into the relationship between those two composers. Here, Ólafsson offers manipulated performances of mostly Debussy, with a couple of works by Rameau and one Debussy improvisation by Ólafsson himself. Most of these manipulations are by electronic musicians, taking Ólafsson’s own performances as a point of departure, but there are also low-fidelity recordings Ólafsson made at home during the coronavirus pandemic. These contain pedal and breathing noises that are substantial enough that the effect is beyond simply that of homemade recording. Ólafsson seems to be trying to create a kind of acoustic counterpart to electronic distortion and to weave it into the general mood he creates. Fans of Ólafsson’s generally experimental approach will be interested in his latest explorations, which contain innovations in the interaction between classical performance and contemporary electronics, and the commercial success of this release suggests a continuing appetite for those explorations. Others, though, might start somewhere else with Ólafsson, who is undeniably a fresh voice. The home recordings for many will simply come off as sloppy and self-indulgent, and the electronics, while interesting, don’t seem to make a coherent statement. This recording may be regarded as a footnote in the career of an artist who has genuinely new ideas that don’t need the veneer of self-conscious experimentalism. – James Manheim


01. Bruyères (Home Session)
02. La damoiselle élue (Hania Rani Rework After Claude Debussy)
03. Canope (Home Session)
04. Footsteps
05. Muse d’eau
06. L’entretien des muses (Hugar Rework After Jean-Philippe Rameau)
07. K.A.H.D.
08. Reflection
09. Pour le piano, L. 95 : 1. Prélude
10. Pour le piano, L. 95 : 2. Sarabande
11. Pour le piano, L. 95 : 3. Toccata
12. Drowned Haiku
13. Canope
14. La Cupis (Balmorhea Rework After Jean-Philippe Rameau)
15. K.A.H.D. (Home Session)
16. Bruyères