Chords of Love: Reviewing Flora Cash's 'Vår Pil' Piano Quintet
Flora Cash's foray into contemporary classical music, manifested in the evocative album "Vår Pil (Piano Quintet Suite För Rocker Peggy)," marks a departure from the duo's familiar indie/alt sound. Composed by Cole Randall, with additional arrangements contributed by Shpresa Lleshaj and Canadian composer Jordan Grigg, the album takes a sentimental journey through emotions. The music in the album is mostly driven by melody, rather than rhythm, weaving a delicate tapestry that mirrors the contemporary stylings of Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, and Ludovico Einaudi.
Vår Pil unfolds as a seamless 13-minute-long piece, divided into four interconnected parts. The muted quality of the piano timber persists throughout the album, providing a cohesive foundation, while the strings contribute to an atmospheric mood, reminiscent of the aforementioned modern composers. The integration of main melodies that are variations of each other on the piano serves to fortify the unity of the album, transforming it into a harmonious whole rather than a collection of individual pieces.
"First Steps" emerges as a commanding opening, featuring staccato figures on the strings and a perpetually ascending arpeggio-like melody on the piano. Its powerful composition elevates the listener's mood, setting a dynamic tone for the journey ahead. The emotional depth of "To Watch You Grow" resonates as a love song articulated through instruments, adding a layer of sentimentality to the suite. This track, highlighted as a "focus track" by Flora Cash, encapsulates the essence of the entire suite, acting as a pivotal moment in the narrative.
"Teenager" introduces a mysterious core with a piano melody that variates from the main motive in "To Watch You Grow." The piece evolves into an epic mode, only to conclude with a solo piano, seamlessly connecting it to the subsequent track. "Search" closes the album on a positive note, featuring an upbeat arpeggio on the piano and a poetic melody on the strings. While staccato figures on the strings introduce suspense, the overall mood remains uplifting and positive, leaving the audience in good spirits.
Flora Cash's venture into classical realms, fueled by the artistic prowess of Cole Randall, Shpresa Lleshaj, and Jordan Grigg, alongside the vibrant performance by Djordje Milanovic, results in a timeless gift in the form of "Vår Pil." Crafted as a tribute to their daughter, Rocker Peggy, this album immortalizes shared moments and emotions, making it a cherished and deeply personal addition to Flora Cash's eclectic repertoire.