Rachel's
Music for Egon Schiele


4.5
superb

Review

by thebhoy EMERITUS
April 27th, 2010 | 19 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist


When I sit down to write a review I usually attempt to formulate my thoughts into an appropriate analogy that structures a loose thesis explaining, in general terms, why I think an album is successful or not. Usually it’s built around some sort of fleeting moment I had while listening to the music, or an unseen connection. Considering the majority of the past month for me has consisted of studying for various exams, which are really impossible to study for (I mean, you either get scansion, or you don’t), any clever analogy I can impart on Rachel’s Music For Egon Schiele would not be clever at all; I would just be boring you. Instead, what I will do is try to capture a photograph for you of a moment I had, just the other night:

I sit at my kitchen table, the varnish table like rolling waves of blackened knots on a dark cherry finish, staring at some forced critique of The Wasteland. It is just after midnight and my house slumbers with my family. Outside spring has caught up to us, so after a week of unseasonably warm weather, we are treated to lashing winds and pelts of rain that tap on the kitchen window like stones of a lover lost at sea. The hanging lamp that dangles precariously over the kitchen table is like a lonely beacon to safely guide that lover in. The light stretches down onto my paper and skirts odd shadows where the pages bend and crinkle. Two hanging ferns populate the opening of the half wall that looks into the living room, dark and empty from what I can see. Yet I can only see half of it and I imagine looming in the space beyond my eye, a pair of dancers clad in wear of the 1930's. They shift boundlessly through the dark room, the creaks of the floor boards like a cracked waltz, they close in for an embrace and.... and what was I doing" Oh yes, studying poetics.

This is what Rachel’s Music for Egon Schiele does, for I was at that moment listening to “Egon & Wally Embrace and Say Farewell”. It’s an album that is cinematic in the truest sense– not a just a series of pretty chords sustained for any given emotion. This has melody that both parallels and counterpoints imagery. As it was commissioned to score a ballet production based on the life of Austrian artist Egon Schiele, such attributes are to be expected. It builds up emotions before manipulating them into something else. Forget modern notions of “cinematic”, think along the lines of the great film composers: Korngold, Walton, Barber. For this reason the album succeeds without a matching set of images to accompany listens. It remains an interesting listen from a technical standpoint, while remaining simple and beautiful to be simply swept away by it. These pieces, for strings and piano mainly, are composed by skilled musicians that results in an album of immense catharsis.

The violin and cello often steal the show, as with the heart wrenching “Wally, Egon & Models in the Studio”, however the piano work of Rachel Grimes is the core of these songs. It’s the propulsive base to eight minute “Promenade”. Grimes plays delicately and simply, though taking moments to stretch her fingers with more ornamental runs. As composed for a ballet production, Music for Egon Schiele is structured rhythmically, with a majority of the pieces in a waltz time. This creates a whimsical atmosphere that is simultaneously sad, delicate, and beautiful. Whereas artists such as Max Richter combine minimalist qualities with electronics to create what is essentially mood music, Rachel’s uses a classically trained repertoire to enhance the listening experience beyond something that just evokes images. Instead it invokes much of the same experiences of its source material; experiences of movement, of fantasy, of a melodious life.



Recent reviews by this author
Sufjan Stevens Silver & GoldAndrew Bird Break It Yourself
Florence and the Machine CeremonialsBlitzen Trapper American Goldwing
The Muppets The Green AlbumThe Horrors Skying
user ratings (66)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
thebhoy
Emeritus
April 27th 2010


4463 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't understand why this is labeled as post-rock. You might as well just call anything neo-classical or classical, post-rock. School's out, time to get back into the reviewing game.

SeaAnemone
April 27th 2010


21408 Comments


ooooo cool review... very introspective. The Sea and the Bells is pretty close to a masterpiece in my opinion, I should really hear this

ziroth
April 27th 2010


1260 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

awesome review, I was just about to give The Sea and the Bells a listen. i love your taste, btw.

thebhoy
Emeritus
April 27th 2010


4463 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

why thank you. I use to have the sea and the bells but I lost it, so I'm trying to get my hands on a copy. There are some bands I just won't download, Rachel's is one of them, too much class to not give my money for.

Spare
April 27th 2010


5567 Comments


i don't have this but it reminded me to give the sea and the bells a 5 which i've been meaning to do for a while

Rationalist
April 27th 2010


880 Comments


lov

thebhoy
Emeritus
April 27th 2010


4463 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

man, it is. I gotta clean that up a bit.



That's a little better. I wrote this review like two sentences at a time for the past month on study breaks. I don't feel it is my strongest.

YouAreMySilence
April 28th 2010


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Finally a review! An amazing record.

Observer
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2010


6954 Comments


bluenotebooks, eh? I guess I'll need to look into this

good review

Digging: Shadow of Intent - Melancholy

Skimaskcheck
April 28th 2010


2364 Comments


What a cool review, although noticed this:

It is just after midnight and the my house slumbers with my family.

Need to get this

thebhoy
Emeritus
April 30th 2010


4463 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I have never actually seen any Schiele, though I dig that painting you put up there. Though I knew what era he was from, the 30's dancers was simply an image that came in to my head. Also, this isn't really referencing him, this was comissioned by a dance production who were doing a modernist ballet based on Schiele's life.

PGST3
August 26th 2011


53 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this album so much. I was actually surprised this had a staff review. Not known enough at all.

Oathbreaker
November 19th 2011


1648 Comments


"I don't understand why this is labeled as post-rock."
I don't understand why half the things that are labeled as post-rock are labeled as post-rock.
Beautiful album by the way. One of my favourites.

North0House2
November 19th 2011


6046 Comments


Love this band. Such mellow stuff.
Anyone seen that Ghim guy's cover for it on youtube?
He's an incredible guitarist.

zaruyache
April 20th 2015


21225 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

digging this.

Wildhoney
June 9th 2017


437 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

one of my all-time favorite records. it's become very important to me on account of how uncannily both the music and egon and wally's story parallel my own life. shame it doesn't get the love it deserves around here. Rachel Grimes recently started selling the sheet music book for the entire suite on bandcamp, and I bought it. She emailed me to thank me for my purchase, and when I replied thanking her in turn, we ended up having a brief conversation. She seems like a sweet, humble person and a beautiful soul.. hope she keeps up her solo piano work.

GhandhiLion
July 7th 2017


5394 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good shit

Digging: Savage Republic - Ceremonial

zaruyache
July 7th 2017


21225 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I didn't even know Grimes was in this group. Her stuff's pretty good.

GhandhiLion
July 7th 2017


5394 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I need to check out her solo work. Gonna find Book of Leaves now



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy