Joep Beving: The London Session - Songs with Words
There was magic in the room when Joep Beving came to London’s Tileyard Studios last autumn. The Dutch composer and pianist was there to record two different versions of his latest work: September, a meditation for piano and string quartet on stillness and concentration. He also set down An Amalgamation Waltz 1839 in a new arrangement for voice, piano and string quartet.
Joep Beving – The London Session is released across all digital platforms today.
“September was composed in late summer, early fall of last year, hence the title of the piece,” explains Beving. “At the time, there wasn’t a bigger thought behind the music. I was invited to come and record two pieces at Tileyard Studios in London and we decided that next to a vocalised version of An Amalgamation Waltz 1839 we should create a new piece that would fit in well with the feeling of that song. The live premiere of September, performed with ACME, took place at The Triple Door in Seattle last February, which feels like another lifetime now. The piece reminds me of a time before Covid and the turmoil that it triggered. Let’s pray for love and light to prevail before September 2021.”
Beving was joined at Tileyard by four of London’s finest string players and soprano Grace Davidson, known among other things for her appearances worldwide in Max Richter’s Sleep. Her wordless vocalisation soars high above piano and quartet in the free-flowing An Amalgamation Waltz 1839, the original version of which first appeared three years ago on Joep’s DG album Prehension.
Now certified Gold, Prehension is the central chapter in Joep Beving’s recent trilogy of albums for Deutsche Grammophon, framed by Solipsism and Henosis. As he comments in a recent video, when recording Solipsism, he had no plans for a trilogy – it was while writing Prehension and exploring the relationship between it and its predecessor that the idea came to him.
“Solipsism to me was about the individual, Prehension perhaps is more of a melancholic soundtrack to the unfolding of reality … and our responsibility as humans in that process,” he explains. “Henosis means ‘oneness’ or ‘unity’ … In a world of growing separations and the building of walls … we need to start looking for something that connects us all on a deeper level. For myself, and hopefully for others, music is a language which can bring people together and in doing so, maybe prevent them from becoming more alienated from each other and from reality.”
With over 1.5 million listeners per month on Spotify, and sold-out shows across the world – from the Sydney Opera House to the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, from Lowlands Festival to Burning Man – Beving has become one of the most prominent and revered figures of the contemporary classical music world.