Last July, we were treated to an introduction to the absolutely masterful work of pianist and composer Danaë Xanthe Vlasse with her album Poème, a gorgeous collection of classical music that we found to be a “stunningly complex and soaringly beautiful” project. Now Vlasse is back with another album that is unquestionably of the same high caliber. Paying homage to her heritage, her release Mythologies is inspired by the myths of ancient Greece and features the soprano vocal work of Hila Plitmann and Sangeeta Kaur, alongside Robert Thies (piano), Brendan White (piano), Wouter Kellerman (flute), Lili Haydn (violin), Eru Matsumoto (cello), Virginie d’Avezac de Castera (viola), Nadeem Majdalany (percussion) and Emilio D. Miler (percussion). With this album, Vlasse has created a captivating, enthralling work that strongly embraces the classic elements of the worlds of both music and art, elevating each to well beyond the highest of expectations.
Opening the album is Sirens, and right away we are plunged headfirst into a fully immersive and transportive sonic landscape, fully depicting the monsters of lore who lure unsuspecting sailors to their deaths with their singing. The vocals of Plitmann and Kaur make for an incredible and believable interpretation of the siren’s enchanting melodies. The sections of harmony create an enchanting blend of unity and dissonance, moving effortlessly between moments of perfect resolution and moments of pure tension.
This is followed by Poseidon & Odessysus – an ominous track at the start, rich with bass tones with the piano lightly fluttering in the background. This is another exquisite example of the wildly impressive harmony work executed by Plitmann and Kaur; their voices move and work together in a way that might best be described as angelic. The blending of their harmonies with the flute in the track’s final minute is astoundingly beautiful.
The cello intro to Nepenthe is hair-raising in the best way. A haunting, melancholy, and ominous melodic line that gives way to a light, ethereal piano which serves as the perfect soprano complement. The back and forth between the strings and the piano in this piece is a perfectly delicate dance of balance and harmony, and makes this track a true stand-out on the project.
Metamorphoses is a journey in and of itself, clocking in at just over seventeen minutes long, and is performed solely by Vlasse herself on piano. This epic poem in sonic form starts gently and lightly, if a bit foreboding, before the piano opens up into a more uptempo, bouncy melody at around the three-minute mark. This is followed by several other movements – some subdued, some energetic, some warm and inviting, and some intricate and otherworldly. Living up to its name in totality, this is a transformational collection of works of art within a work of art. This kind of expressive, moving, thought-provoking music is an example of composing at its finest.
Ethereal, dramatic, artistic, and inspired. Simply put – the music on Mythologies is utterly brilliant. This is a timeless collection of compositions compiled with a clear vision and through deep inspiration, brought to life by a musical cast with an almost unbelievable amount of skill. And at the heart of this work is the incredible talent of Danaë Xanthe Vlasse – as a composer, she is truly in a league of her own, and this album is pure proof of that.
BELOW: Listen to Mythologies and connect with her website and social media platforms. Please support Danaë Xanthe 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!