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La Reine Seule — Visages
(Kapitän Platte Kutter 060, 2022, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2023-03-14

Visages Cover art

Some readers may recognize Judith Hoorens’ name as the keyboardist of the band We Stood Like Kings. For Visage, she takes on the name La Reine Seule and presents an eight-part suite of solo piano compositions. The overall mood is meditative and impressionistic, along the lines of Claude Debussy’s piano pieces. This is music of calm beauty, with harmonies that are rich without focusing on dissonance. Hoorens treads the thin boundary between precious beauty and cloying sentimentality without tipping over the edge. Her playing, while not flashy or virtuosic, is fluid and emotive, with exquisite control of dynamics and pacing. It is worth noting some of the things she avoids with Visage: there are none of the kinds of Baroque and Classical tropes that come out when many modern (pop and rock) pianists take a turn at writing “serious” music; there are no hints of blues or other popular styles; and there are no cascading arpeggios and runs. Within the chosen limitations, the compositions are full of lovely details, like the way inner voices provide commentary on the primary melodies. If you’re looking to be wowed by extroverted displays of technique, you’ll be disappointed, but if you’d like some well-thought-out piano pieces beautifully played, Visage will be a welcome addition to your collection.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Judith Hoorens (La Reine Seule)

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