Swiss-born Sculptor, painter, draughtsman and printmaker, Alberto Giacometti is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. Initially known as a surrealist, his response to the horrors of the Second World War led him to focus solely on sculptures of the human form, tall and slender figurines that seemed so ghostly. This was art made in the shadow of the holocaust and it is haunting, shocking, and immensely moving.
When director Susanna Fanzun wanted to someone to score her documentary on the life and art og Giacometti, she turned to Polish piano player and keyboardist Hania Rani, the music that she has made in response is graceful and delicate,. a deeply tender meditation on the artist’s art and life.
Rani is an extremely versatile musician (watch her open-air concert at Invalides in Paris from last year to see her move seamlessly from melodious jazz pieces with a full band, to ballads to extraordinary experimental pieces). Here though she has focussed solely on improvisational piano works. There’s an sense of that light, a close mic-ed effect that Nils Frahm initially explored on his album ‘Screws’ - the most exquisite of which is the debut single ‘Spring’.
She has contributed to Frahm’s annual Piano Day and has identified him, as well as Olafur Arnalds (who she has also worked with), as a huge influence on her music. The recent single ‘Dreamy’ is also a delight, you know that behind the tranquil surface there is so much depth. Like Max Richter’s mesmerising ‘Sleep’ this is music that it will resonate deep inside of you.
Rani has described the record as dealing with the themes of ‘…ghosts, spirits, and the little bits in between life and death. ’ It is something that you can hear in the sadness of the beautiful ‘Stampa’ , the tidal motion of 'Storm' and the anxious tones ‘Struggle’.
At the time of writing, a date has yet to be given for the UK release of Susanna Fanzun’s documentary on Giacometti. In the meantime, the emotive and subtle textures of this work may lead you to ponder on life’s most pertinent themes. What more can music offer us than this?
Jay Lewis is a Birmingham based music, movie and arts obsessive. Jay's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.
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