Cover The Chopin Project

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  • Ólafur Arnalds (1985): Verses
  • 1Verses04:03
  • Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
  • 2Piano Sonata No.3: Largo09:17
  • 3Nocturne in C Sharp Minor04:24
  • Ólafur Arnalds (1985): Reminiscence
  • 4Reminiscence04:28
  • Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
  • 5Nocturne in G Minor03:01
  • Ólafur Arnalds (1985):
  • 6Eyes Shut - Nocturne in C Minor06:41
  • 7Written In Stone03:27
  • 8Letters Of A Traveller04:17
  • Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849): Prélude in D Flat Major (Raindrop)
  • 9Prélude in D Flat Major (Raindrop)05:57
  • Total Runtime45:35

Info for The Chopin Project

Award-winning young Icelandic pop/classical musician Ólafur Arnalds (celebrated composer of the score for TV series Broadchurch) has always loved the piano music of Frédéric Chopin, but he d grown weary of the uniform and standardized perfection of recordings. There has been no re-invention of the way Chopin s music has been presented since recording began, and I was longing for someone to come along and try something different. And one day, on a long flight to London, I thought: why don t I do it myself? And thus, in partnership with the acclaimed German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott, THE CHOPIN PROJECT was born.

In order to achieve his aim, Arnalds developed an intimate, fragile and often charmingly imperfect sound using old/unusual/altered pianos captured on vintage recording equipment. He also employed various mixing techniques to re-enforce feelings of solitude or loneliness, and to create dreamlike ambient soundscapes. The listener should feel so close to the performer that he or she can hear each breath, or fragile touch of the keys.

Ott was instantly hooked by the project. I love playing on out-of-tune bar pianos and, in my opinion, Chopin s music fits very well to those circumstances, she says. He wrote for intimate spaces, for living rooms, and he loved to improvise and improvisation flourishes in these kind of venues, where lots of things are happening, and the performer can respond to them.

At the start of their project, Arnalds and Ott went piano hunting in Reykjavik, and found instruments with lots of personality . Some of them were prepared with felt to create otherworldly effects. Arnalds then recorded the pianist using vintage equipment, creating a very close-up, intimate setting for her performances. Sometimes there are creaks, breaths, jangling piano strings, rustles of paper in other words, the sounds of real life which are usually removed from Chopin recordings. The result after studio mixing - is a textured, multi-layered musical experience unlike any other.

Ólafur Arnalds, piano (on track 8)
Alice Sara Ott, piano
Mari Samuelsen, solo violin (on track 3)
Viktor Orri Árnason
Björk Óskarsdóttir
Þórarinn Baldursson
Unnur Jónsdóttir
Hallgrímur Jónas Jensson

Recorded at E7 Studios and Harpa Concert Hall, Iceland
Recorded by Ólafur Arnalds, Finnur Hákonarson, Snorri Hallgrímsson and Bergur Þórisson
Mixed by Ólafur Arnalds
Mastered by Nils Frahm at Durton Studios
Executive Producer for Mercury Classics: Dr. Alexander Buhr

Ólafur Arnalds
Born in 1986, Ólafur hails from the suburban Icelandic town of Mosfellsbær, just a few kilometres outside of Reykjavík. He has immersed himself completely in a world of delicate symphonic compositions generating near weightless orchestral pieces. Arnalds explores the crossover from classical to pop by mixing chamber strings and piano with discreet electronics which makes him a perfect fit for cinematic music label Erased Tapes. His motivations are clear: 'The classical scene is kind of closed to people who haven't been studying music all their lives. I would like to bring my classical influence to the people who don't usually listen to this kind of music…open people's minds.'

Through relentless touring and determination this young artist has steadily gained recognition worldwide since his 2007 debut 'Eulogy for Evolution'. His 2008 follow-up EP ‘Variations of Static’ earned Ólafur acclaim from both the contemporary and classical field – transcending a traditional divide. He has sold out some of the world’s most renowned music venues including Barbican Hall in London and has been awarded ‘Best Live Session of 2008’ by BBC Radio 1 presenter Gilles Peterson.

Over the past eighteen months Arnalds has advanced from a former support-act for Sigur Rós to an internationally respected artists in his own right. In April 2009 Arnalds created the 7 song series 'Found Songs' – recording a song a day for 7 days and instantly making each track available via Twitter and the official Erased Tapes website with over 300.000 people downloading for free.

December 2009 saw the release of Ólafur’s contemporary dance score 'Dyad 1909', commissioned by the award-winning choreographer Wayne McGregor. The dance piece, inspired by Shackleton’s South Pole premiered at the Sadler’s Wells theatre in October 2009 and became a much talked about 5-nights of live music, dance and visuals. BBC Four, the ITV1 South Bank Show and Arte TV Europe broadcasted 'Dyad 1909' on primetime television. In March 2010 he embarked on his first ever China Tour, which included sold-out shows in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing, and a live webcast watched by thousands of fans all round the world.

Ólafur Arnalds' second full-length album '...and they have escaped the weight of darkness', continues his mission to lure an indie-generation of pop and rock fans into an emotive world of beguiling electronic chamber music and delicate classical arrangements. The sense of an organic crossover recording is reinforced by the involvement of co-producer Barði Jóhannsson of eccentric pop/rock/electronica-formation Bang Gang. Those expecting a mere continuation of the minimal melancholia of his previous albums are in for a surprise, as the record may be the most uplifting and richly orchestrated work of his career.

'Precocious Nordic composer’s sumptuous second LP … Timeless and sublime' **** – UNCUT

'An artist of immense maturity' (9/10) – Drowned In Sound

Booklet for The Chopin Project

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