But for Chris’ tchotchke table over at La Terrasse, I might never have known that a solo work by Rachel Grimes had appeared. Rachel was one of the core members of the Rachel’s collective, chief among them you would assume, for their possessive name to be hers. Rachel’s were a glorious and thoroughly worked through coming together of chamber music and post-rock sensibilities, and as far as I can tell, still relatively unique in that respect. Perhaps The sea and the bells and Selenography found them at their best but beautiful music is liberally bestowed across all five of their albums. ‘Kentucky nocturne’ from Selenography is typical of what arose out of the writing partnership of Rachel’s three main players, Christian Frederickson, Jason Noble, and Rachel herself – swooping low and high, the formal melodies propelled by the looseness of the percussion.
Since the last Rachel’s record I’ve occasionally looked for news but found nothing, until Chris mentioned Book of leaves, and then only because it was obscured by sunlight in his tchotchke table photograph. It’s 14 pieces for solo piano underlain by the occasional sample. If you’re upwards of being a grade 8 pianist, you can buy it as sheet music. And it picks up where the more Rachel Grimes oriented Rachel’s work left off – I’m thinking of the solo harpsichord ‘Honeysuckle suite’, again from Selenography – an assimilation of nineteenth and twentieth century piano music into a 21st century world view. It’s austere but accessible, minimal but rich, reflective and dynamic. The samples are predominantly of birdsong, giving me the excuse to post one of the pieces over at Nightingales as well as here. The music goes where birds go, lives where birds are, in the trees and the air. Have a listen and fly there too.
- Rachel Grimes – My dear companion
- Rachel Grimes – Every morning, birds
- Rachel’s – Kentucky nocturne
- Rachel Grimes website
- Rachel’s website