Vanessa Wagner: New EP ‘Les Heures Immobiles’ out now
Les Heures Immobiles, a title inspired by the aphorisms of Henri Michaux, is the new 6-track album from pianist Vanessa Wagner, recorded during an intimate session in December 2022 at the TAP in Poitiers. This mini album brings together compositions by artists Vanessa has not yet explored like Kate Moore and Laurel Halo, and composers she is familiar with such as Philip Glass, Bryce Dessner, and Meredith Monk. It completes the already abundant exploration of a repertoire that Vanessa Wagner has been working on since her albums Inland (2019), Study of the Invisible (2021), and Mirrored (end of 2022)
A new kind of luminosity had settled upon the two lullabies of the session, playing with the nuances of emotions. “Bryce Dessner sent me this “Lullaby For Jacques and Brune”, written for a friend when her twins were born, which had never been played. Like Vanessa, the American composer and leader of The National was trained in classical music, but has freed himself to explore other sonic worlds.
The album also features two transcriptions by Vanessa Wagner—of “Rome III” by electronic producer Laurel Halo, and of the iconic “Gotham Lullaby” by Meredith Monk, an artist whom Vanessa describes as “whole and free”.
“I wanted to give a slightly different colour to this song that I love, sung by Meredith herself, and covered by Bjork in particular, with this solo piano arrangement that Meredith Monk, after listening, allowed me to broadcast. I hear the voice of all the women of the world through this timeless song, a song of love, tenderness and freedom.”
Adventurous when she interprets the compositions of the younger generation (Kate Moore or Laurel Halo), Vanessa plays with the technicality of repetitive loops and the organic modulations of the musical spectrum of her piano.
Finally, the musician summons Philip Glass again in the journey that is “Etude No. 12”: “This etude is one of my favourites, still and vibrant, a kind of restless sweetness that transports me every time.” We also find Glass’ magnificent ‘Dead Things’ transcribed by Nico Muhly as the conclusion to Heures Immobiles, the cinematic piece par excellence written for the film The Hours.