Echoes Of Life – Deluxe Edition features 11 additional tracks by J.S. Bach, John Field, Chopin & Valentin Silvestrov plus a brand-new work by Chilly Gonzales
“When I started playing the programme live in front of audiences, I suddenly realised
that this was no longer just my personal Echoes Of Life journey …
as my original associations slowly began to fade, the thoughts and stories
of the people who attended and witnessed the project began to take shape
and reverberate in the concert hall with the music”
Alice Sara Ott
Echoes Of Life, Alice Sara Ott’s tenth album for Deutsche Grammophon, was released to widespread acclaim in August 2021. While the programme has autobiographical origins for Ott, as she took it on tour she realised that it had equally intense personal resonances for her audiences, whose listening experience was enhanced by the immersive video installation specially designed by architect Hakan Demirel to accompany the performances. Now, as Ott prepares for her major upcoming Echoes Of Life Asia tour this autumn – taking in China, Hong Kong and Japan – she announces the release of a Deluxe Edition, for which she has recorded 11 new tracks. The additional repertoire ranges from J.S. Bach, John Field and Chopin to Valentin Silvestrov, as well as a brand-new work written for her by Chilly Gonzales. It also sees Ott switch between grand and upright pianos.
Featuring extensive liner notes by Alice Sara Ott, Echoes Of Life – Deluxe Edition will be released digitally and on 2 CDs on 27 October 2023, with the Bach Prelude in C major, BWV 846 (upright piano version) released the same day as an audio and video single. Ott’s recordings of Field’s Prelude in C minor (upright piano version) and Silvestrov’s Prelude No. 3 from Distant Music will come out on 15 September and 13 October respectively.
“Her playing is technically unimpeachable, with beauty of tone, virtuoso flair and fine musical judgment throughout”
BBC Music Magazine on Echoes Of Life
Hailed by Diapason as “striking for its sincerity and authenticity”, Echoes Of Life offered an individual and thought-provoking take on Chopin’s Bach-inspired 24 Préludes, Op. 28. Ott highlighted the works’ timeless nature by framing them with music by 20th- and 21st-century composers, including her own arrangement of fragments of the Lacrimosa from the Mozart Requiem. For the extended edition, she has chosen pieces connected with the music, composers and themes of the original album, but without imposing her own associations on them.
As the pianist explains, since Bach’s Prelude in C major (from The Well-Tempered Clavier) inspired Chopin’s first Prélude, and the works by Francesco Tristano and Chilly Gonzales on Echoes Of Life, it was the obvious starting point for the extended edition. “It appears twice in its full form,” she says, “once on a grand piano, with a sound that embraces the entire room and space, and a second time on a prepared upright piano, in a much closer and intimate setting so one can hear the hammers hit the felt on the strings.”
Right at the heart of the complementary 11-track programme is Chilly Gonzales’ Contretemps, whose title, explains its composer, translates as “against time”, with all the musical and conceptual connotations implied by that idea. “It meant a lot to me when Chilly agreed to write a new piece for the Deluxe Edition,” says Alice Sara Ott. “[His] Prelude in C sharp major is a meaningful piece for me and represents one of the main pillars in the architecture of Echoes Of Life.”
Also included here are two further préludes by Chopin and a rarely played pair of pieces by his contemporary John Field – a Prelude and a Largo which, like the Bach, Ott has recorded on both grand and upright piano. The extended edition presents three additional contemporary works as well. The pianist has selected two preludes by Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov, from his Naive Music and Distant Music collections. As she notes, they “do not just paint breathtaking landscapes of sound, time and space, they also hold distant echoes of Frédéric Chopin for those who listen carefully”.
As well as the major tour across Asia, the 2023–24 season sees Ott appear as Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre – performing a new concerto written for her by Bryce Dessner – and also at Radio France, giving several concerts with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Orchestre National de France, in addition to recitals and chamber music projects. She also makes her debut with the New York Philharmonic and goes on tour with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Antonio Pappano.