Composer Danaë Vlasse has a storied career that is teeming with accomplishments that many of the most prolific musicians could only dream of. Not only has she been teaching for over 15 years, but her music has been featured in film and on international radio. She was the 2019 Composer in Residence for the Sterling Ensemble and has received recognition from the Producer’s Choice Awards, Clouzine International Music Awards, Radio Music Awards, was a multi-recipient at the Global Music Awards – this is truly just the tip of the iceberg as far as her achievements go. Additionally, she has worked with composers and musicians living all over the world. Most recently, Vlasse has released Poème, a collection of classical compositions based on French poetry that walks us through a range of human emotions.
Vlasse has put together a world-renowned ensemble for this release. Poème features Grammy award-winning soprano Hila Plitmann, alongside pianist Robert Thies, soprano Sangeeta Kaur, and cellist John Walz. The result is that Vlasse’s compositions are brought to life with an undeniable degree of perfection. Each track is wrought with emotion and authenticity yet remains delicate and enchanting.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
From the very first notes of each track, it is clear that Vlasse is a master of her compositions, and has selected truly the correct musicians to bring them to life. The soprano vocals soar and cascade in angelic song, with such emotion and intensity over the delicate and dynamic instrumentation. Vlasse has also been kind enough to translate the lyrics – all performed in French – into English, and it gives us an even deeper look into the meaning in each track.
This couldn’t be expressed any more clearly than in the opening track, Le Baiser. Its shortness and simplicity do not take away from the absolute elegance of the composition. The English translation of the lyrics are especially beautiful:
“So short, so soft; softer than a moonbeam sweeping silence.
Warmer than the crimson of your voice, but fresh as no other until then.
More melancholic than a sigh in this moment, always conscious of its ephemeral soul.”
We get a dramatic showing of Vlasse’s own piano skills more than once on this album, but remarkably so in Piano Nocturne No. 4 “Pour Nelson”. The track is haunting and compelling, ebbing and flowing between melancholy and joyousness.
The addition of the second female vocal in Un Lendemain is a brilliant one, creating additional depth in Vlasse’s compositions. The harmonies are often dissonant before flitting back to more comfortable intervals. Very fitting for voices as lovely as songbirds.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
As dark and mysterious as the sea herself, La Mer is a 13+ minute master composition. Plitmann’s vocals truly shine with emotion and emphasis in this number, reaching unimaginable high notes and effortlessly returning to Earth, not unlike the crashing of waves that this track seems to emulate.
The original lyrics used in this song were written by Lyssabelle Laraque, but they add depth and understanding to the mysterious nature of the track all the same:
“And I returned intoxicated by her sanctuary.
Universe of wonder, legendary,
How I love the sea…in all her mystery!”
It feels like a journey in and of itself, twisting and turning at each phrase, painting pictures with sound alone, and carrying the listener along for the ride in a tumultuous tide.
Stunningly complex and soaringly beautiful. Danaë Vlasse is a bonafide, authentic composer in the truest sense of the word. And though the translations provide further insight, you don’t need to speak French in the slightest to fully appreciate the undeniable musical talent, exquisite and note-perfect vocals, and jaw-droppingly gorgeous compositions found on Poème. For classical music fans of the modern age, this album is a must-listen.
BELOW: Listen to her album Poème and connect with her website and social media platforms. Please support Danaë Vlasse by visiting her online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing her music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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