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Sophie Agnel uses a startling array of objects and techniques in playing inside the prepared piano, demonstrated in these digital concerts recordings from 2008.

Agnel, Sophie
Capsizing Moments

Agnel, Sophie: Capsizing Moments (Emanem)
Label: Emanem    
Released in: Great Britain    

"A veritable tour de force of 'inside' prepared piano playing -- preppiano extensif. The whole of a solo set performed at Les Instants Chavires near Paris. Sophie Agnel's preparations, neither static nor fixed, evolve during the course of her playing as she adds, moves or removes an object, or replaces one artefact with another. These preparations include disposable water cups, nylon fishing-line, bouncing balls, aluminum ashtrays, aluminum foil, industrial nylon, inner-tube rubber and polished rock all of which result in a remarkable sound world far removed from that usually associated with the piano. This is her second solo CD -- the first (on Vand'Oeuvre) was made in 2000, and since then she has appeared in several duos and trios with a variety of musicians. 51 minutes."-Emanem

Excerpts from sleeve notes:

"preppiano extensif

To prepare a piano is to place objects or materials in between and on the strings of the instrument in order to alter its sound. The choice of these additions, and their placement, create a personal audio universe unique to each preparation. Sophie Agnel's preparations, neither static nor fixed, evolve during the course of her playing as the pianist adds, moves or removes an object, or replaces one artefact with another. She in fact prefers to speak of the extensive piano. So what are these introduced artefacts? What do these objects, once chosen, do to the sound, to the music, to the piano thus prepared and extended, to the preppiano extensif?

White, breakable, disposable water cups - plastic cracklings, anxieties. Nylon fishing-line - sawn durations, stridencies, alarms. Bouncing balls - prancing capers, cascading trills. Aluminium ashtrays - metallic sputtering, cracklings. This music is evocative, one could describe images born from listening to it. But more profoundly, more concretely, the phenomenon in question is something else.

No metaphor: what is introduced into the piano is plastic made in China, mass-produced aluminium foil, industrial nylon, inner-tube rubber, polished rock: Artefacts, industrial or hand crafted, whose sounds imply their provenance and history. On them is founded a concrete sound-world. This cult instrument of western erudite music, the end-point of high culture and sophistication, is invaded by contemporary pragmatism, manufactured banality, by objects. The indisputable sounds created by this invasion may well preserve their mystery (a blind listener would have trouble discerning just how this music is made). These rumblings, bells, whistles, plastic stridencies, metallic frequencies attest, in the very belly of the piano, to a necessarily contemporary world beyond the piano. The piano is extended into the world. Sophie Agnel puts the world into the piano.

There may never before have been such improvisation on the piano, on the preppiano extensif. One has probably never before lived in such a world..."-Henri Jules Julien

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Product Information:

UPC: 5030243500420

Label: Emanem
Catalog ID: 5004
Squidco Product Code: 11561

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2009
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardstock 3 page foldover
Digital recordings by Etienne Foyer at Les Instants Chavires in Montreuil, near Paris, November 14, 2008.


Sophie Agnel-solo piano, prepared piano (variable preparations but no electronics)

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Track Listing:

1. Capsizing Moments Part 1 19:30

2. Capsizing Moments Part 2 8:50

3. Capsizing Moments Part 3 22:35

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