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Music to Grieve To
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It’s that time of year again - memories of deaths and funerals - photos appear in my feed and remind me of who isn’t here anymore - I drink too much and only later guess at why. It’s depressing really - you think you’re out the other side and suddenly you get slammed.

I’ve been listening to sad piano music again - the very genesis of this whole music to concept - the track Memories I wrote for my dad that started the list - No-kë’s exquisite Departures that was wrapped up in Charlotte and now this beautifully evocative track from Johannes Hirschmann.

It’s that opening descending figure in the right hand - it just grabs you along with the steadily descending left - as the track develops it reminded me of where this whole list started from - the blending of beauty with sadness, of mixing despair with hope - of using minor keys and subtly morphing them into major melodies and demonstrating through music that there is, even though you may not see it now, a life worth living after loss.

I love the genesis of this track - it appears that Johannes and I have similar approaches to theme development - an idea may be captured in one instant and then be incubated for days, for months, even years until it reaches maturity and is published to the world. Here’s the first time the theme came into existence - back in 2015…

Here it is in 2017 - this time in a different key:

Here’s what Johannes had to say about the track:

I had the first idea for ‘Talk’ in the summer of 2015 , when I was visiting my sister and played around on her piano a bit. It was one of those melodies that immediately remained in my head and that had such a beautiful, melancholic character. That was in keeping with my mood at the time. And I found the chord sequence of the first bars very fascinating. However, I didn’t work on the idea for quite a while, and it was buried somewhere in my head. I only developed the initial idea into a full piece—making several refinements—in spring 2017 . That was about the time when I decided to record a full album of new solo piano pieces, and what had become ‘Talk’ until then just had to be on it.
— Johannes Hirschmann

Johannes has a new album “Fragments” coming out this month on April 19th. You can learn more about it from the links below:

You can learn more about Johannes Hirschmann here:

Website Spotify Twitter Facebook YouTube Instagram soundcloud

About the Curator - Andrew McCluskey

The first visual memory I have is that of the white upright piano in Singapore, Hell and the dark forces lived at the bottom, Heaven and the Angels at the top. They would play battles through my fingers and I was hooked.

After my dad died I was very sad - I couldn't play for a while and when I did, the music that came out reflected my grieving state.  I wrote an album of solo piano music called Music to Grieve to - from which the idea of the Music to community originated.  

If you'd like to know more you should read Nicole's fabulous article on why listening to sad music can make you feel better.