Aural Landscapes: Yann Tiersen – “Roc’h ar Vugale”

PHOTO CREDIT: Christopher Espinosa Fernandez

PHOTO CREDIT: Christopher Espinosa Fernandez

Yann Tiersen

“Roc’h ar Vugale”


Yann Tiersen has done it again.  I believe that Tiersen is the world’s greatest classical composer.  This time, Tiersen has set his musical sites on a collection of 10 solo piano pieces which form a musical map of his home island Ushant (“Eusa” in the local Breton language), which is positioned in the Celtic sea between Brittany and Cornwall. This is also his first solo piano release ever.  Each track was conceived in and named after a location on the island. Initially, tracks were only available as sheet music, with each piano piece accompanied by a photograph of the location and a field recording.  For his album he took things a step further – firstly, Tiersen manipulated his original field recordings to create a subtle drone of the natural noises on the island, then took everything to Studio 1 at Abbey Road and recorded the solo piano.
Between each piece we hear the sounds of the island, and Tiersen’s improvisations that are all titled “Hent.” Hent translates from Breton to English as Path, and with each one Tiersen leads the listener across the island landscape to a new location.  There is no doubt that Tiersen is a genius.  The only people who come close are Philip Glass and Brian Eno.  This is one of the most beautiful pieces ever.  Enjoy.

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