Echoes of Life by Alice Sara Ott
The past will always echo through the years, affecting the future in ways that are surprising and often far reaching. Would Chopin have guessed that in the year 2021 we would still be playing and revelling in his music? It’s been over 180 years since he originally wrote the 24 Preludes, Op. 28 but they continue to be an integral part to any pianist’s repertoire, and when you’re an internationally renowned musician you can’t help but be influenced by their bite-sized beauty. Alice Sara Ott certainly is, but more than that she’s found other works that give these preludes a contemporary context. Interspersing the 24 Preludes are seven pieces ‘from composers who, in their own time, challenged the system and redefined music’, writes Ott. Ligeti, Nino Rota, Takemitsu and Ott herself each have a moment here that blends almost seamlessly with the charm of Chopin’s Preludes.
At this moment in my life, I’m definitely doing some comfort reading and listening, but I still yearn for something more. I listened to this album on repeat for an entire day in lockdown and it gave me the emotional space I wanted; in the refinement of Ott’s playing, I found a moment of peace.