“Breathtakingly brilliant pianist” (Gramophone) Víkingur Ólafsson has announced his new album will feature contemporary reworks from his critically-acclaimed recording Debussy • Rameau which topped the US and UK classical charts when it was released earlier this year. Debussy • Rameau Reflections includes reworks by Ólafsson and other contemporary artists as well as several of the Icelandic pianist’s unreleased Debussy recordings.
Víkingur Ólafsson’s Reflections project launched today, 25 September 2020, with the world premiere of Polish pianist, composer and singer Hania Rani’s meditative electroacoustic reimagining of Debussy’s La Damoiselle Élue . Her single will be followed by the release of four EPs, in November, January, February and March respectively, and the full album will be issued on CD and LP on 12 March 2021.
Hania Rani explained, “While working on a new interpretation of this work, I decided to take a look at the emotions evoked by the opening chords, also known as the ‘Circle Charm’. The harmonic motif has become the basis for the entire rework, thus keeping the composition in a meditative character and an atmosphere of anticipation. On this foundation I built a melody, a delicate song wandering in the distance – corresponding with the lyrical expression of the original work by Debussy.”
Debussy • Rameau Reflections includes reworks by Víkingur Ólafsson and other groundbreaking artists
Debussy • Rameau Reflections also includes reworks by Víkingur Ólafsson and other groundbreaking artists including Icelandic singer-songwriter Helgi Jónsson, genre-defying Icelandic duo Hugar, Texas-based post-rock minimalist ensemble Balmorhea and Christian Badzura, Vice President A&R New Repertoire at Deutsche Grammophon. Ólafsson’s previously unreleased recordings of Debussy’s Pour le piano and a selection of pieces from the composer’s Préludes – including ‘Bruyères’ and ‘Canope’ recorded on both an upright piano and a Steinway to offer very contrasting listening experiences – are also featured on the recording.
“I wanted to explore certain works from fresh perspectives”
“I wanted to explore certain works from fresh perspectives, to reimagine them and invite other composers to rework elements of these extraordinary pieces,” explained Víkingur Ólafsson. “I’m delighted that Deutsche Grammophon agreed with me on continuing this creative conversation with Debussy, Rameau and some of today’s most imaginative musicians.”
Víkingur Ólafsson’s most recent album – Debussy • Rameau – received widespread critical acclaim, including a Diapason d’Or, The Sunday Times Album of the Week, Editor’s Choice in Gramophone magazine, and Recording of the Month in BBC Music Magazine, as well as winning the 2020 OPUS KLASSIK Award for Solo Recording of the Year (piano).
“The new superstar of classical piano” (Daily Telegraph) Víkingur Ólafsson has become, in just a few years, one of the most sought-after artists of today. The global success of Debussy • Rameau followed that of his award-winning Johann Sebastian Bach album and its sister release, Bach Reworks, featuring reimaginings by diverse artists including Peter Gregson, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Skúli Sverrisson. The same thread of inspiration and originality is at the core of Víkingur Ólafsson’s new release Debussy • Rameau Reflections which celebrates the two revolutionary French composers and translates their musical languages into contemporary reworks.
Hania Rani’s reimagining of Debussy’s La Damoiselle Élue, the first single from Víkingur Ólafsson’s new album Debussy • Rameau Reflections, has been digitally released.