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  • Writer's pictureArashk Azizi

Light by Peter Simonsen

Peter Simonsen’s debut album "Light" is a captivating collection of eight instrumental solo piano pieces, each imbued with its own unique emotional landscape. This album marks a significant milestone for Simonsen, a Danish pianist and composer whose life took a dramatic turn leading to his emergence as a composer. Prior to March 2022, Simonsen had never composed his own music despite a long career as a pianist. The catalyst for this creative outpouring was the devastating fire at Hyltebjerg Church in Copenhagen, which destroyed not only the church's organ and a grand piano but also all of Simonsen’s scores accumulated over 15 years.

The album opens with the titular track "Light," a piece characterized by a soft arpeggio reminiscent of Alan Silvestri’s work. The playful yet gentle melody establishes a positive and soothing atmosphere, drawing the listener into a contemplative space. This opening sets the tone for an album that delicately balances light and darkness, love and fear, as Simonsen explores a broad emotional palette through his compositions.

"Fade," the second track, shifts to a darker tone with a minimalistic melody line. This piece showcases Simonsen’s ability to evoke deep emotions through simplicity, creating a stark contrast to the preceding track. The third piece, "Trembling Heart," features high-register arpeggios and a mesmerizing, glass-like quality. This track’s ethereal soundscape is particularly captivating, demonstrating Simonsen’s nuanced touch and emotional depth.

The fourth track, "Child," carries a nostalgic and somewhat melancholic air. The underlying heaviness in this piece evokes a sense of longing and introspection, highlighting Simonsen’s talent for conveying complex emotions through his music. Following this, "Shine" brightens the mood with its brilliant melody intertwined with intricate arpeggios, providing a refreshing contrast to the somber tones of the previous track.

"Let’s Meet," arguably the masterpiece of the album, draws comparisons to the works of Erik Satie. Its soft, luminous melody line and delicate execution make it a standout track, embodying the album’s theme of finding beauty in simplicity and vulnerability. "Walk" returns to a darker mood, reflecting a more contemplative and introspective tone.

The album concludes with "Dance," a piece that begins with strong yet gentle chords, establishing a rhythmic foundation reminiscent of a guitar. This final track encapsulates the album’s exploration of contrasting emotions, leaving the listener with a sense of resolution and completeness.

Recorded on an acoustic and lightly felted piano at Moremax Studio with sound technician Sebastian Martin Munk Autzen, the album captures Simonsen’s spiritual and dreamy approach to music. The recordings are marked by a pure and authentic expression, reflecting the intimate and introspective nature of Simonsen’s compositions. The result is an album that feels deeply personal and universally resonant.

Simonsen’s background as a rhythmic pianist and organist is evident in the technical proficiency and emotional depth of his performances. His education from the Odense Music Conservatory and the Royal Danish Academy of Music has clearly influenced his sophisticated approach to composition and performance. This fall, audiences will have the opportunity to experience "Light" live, as Simonsen embarks on a series of concerts in various Danish churches.

In "Light," Peter Simonsen offers a poignant reflection on the transformative power of music. Each track tells its own story, guided by a central melody that is both gentle and profound. The album’s strength lies in its ability to convey a wide range of emotions with clarity and subtlety, making it a remarkable debut from a truly gifted artist.

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