Being a young composer myself, only really 16 years old and having so much to learn, yet already acheived amazing things, I have a huge respect for the young musicians around me. I feel that all of us can truly make a difference in the world, no matter where we’re coming from. Race, gender, country? It doesn’t matter. After all, music is a universal language, isn’t it?
Dmitry Evfgrafov is a Russian composer that, to say the least, is just like us young musicians, except that he possesses a truly prodigious gift: to be able to compose minimal works featuring piano and violin, and that though there is limit in instrumentation, there is no limit in the powerful emotions that Dmitry is able to put into his work. The most amazing thing about all of this? Dmitry is only 17 years old, and has only been composing for the past 3 years. And yet, he has acheived what most could only imagine acheiving: to have his music released to the world, for all to hear. With that, I feel very proud to be reviewing the precursor EP to his upcoming debut LP: Lying On Your Shoulder.
“Lying On Your Shoulder” is a 5-track EP of, as said, minimal compositions featuring piano and violin. However, I make no understatements when describing the sound of these compositions. This is modern classical music at its best, and at first listen, you wouldn’t be able to tell that this was made by a 17-year old, with only 3 years of compositional experience. The sounds on this EP are high-class classical music that sounds as though it would have been composed by a 30 or 40 year-old composer who has gone to a music college, received a diploma, and had been writing for years on end. Therefore, all of these minimally simple yet emotionally complex compositions coming from a 17-year old? Yes, it’s incredible.
“While The Glacier Was Melting” is the first track, starting with very soft, minimal chords that slowly build into more complex progressions, until it reaches an emotional climax with violins, and then breaks down to a soft ending. The sounds are as melancholic as they can get. But obviously, we’ve only finished one track of this EP, and it doesn’t stop there.
“Peals of Thunder” is a rather sad composition featuring very beautiful harmonies between the piano and two or three violins. At times, it reminds me of great classical ballads, while at other times sounding quite influenced from perhaps majestic trance progressions (particularly BT’s “Flaming June”) and indie/post-rock compositions. I could be dead wrong with what I think the influences are, but nevertheless, you can somehow hear them in the music.
“Filled Your Heart, Stirred Your Mind” continues with the sadness of the last track, except that it takes a stunning twist, having influence from perhaps a classical Russian dance or lullaby. It’s as though the sounds of Tetris are realized in piano form, but are much more complex and more thoroughly written than the famous Tetris theme.
“I’m Lying On Your Shoulder” is a slower but much happier composition, and yes, though the title suggests it, I feel quite a bit of romance going on in the piece. The sounds are quite heartwarming and could easily have come straight out of a romance film. I especially love the plucked strings that happen near the middle of the composition. I love the sounds of plucked strings as compared to the usual bowed strings (maybe Penderecki’s “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima”, as disturbing as that piece of 20th century classical music is, is the reason for it?).
Finally, the EP closes out with a bittersweet composition entitled “My Dear Melonie”, featuring a huge, emotionally breaktaking layering of piano and violin quartet at its climax. It sounds like a love song, having perhaps an influence of pop music at the beginning, but assuredly, as the composition continues on, the further it strays from your typical pop and classical music. Then, suddenly, the composition ends, and so ends this EP.
Obviously, I have not heard much classical music in my lifetime so far. Sure, I’ve heard albums from SOTL and EPs from Good Weather For An Airstrike that have the classical influence there, as well as I’ve heard the modern classical sounds of Penderecki, Bartok, Ligeti, and the podcasts that frequently come out from Headphone Commute, but I have never heard classical music become as emotional and as minimal as this EP. “Lying On Your Shoulder” is one of the most promising classical debuts of the year, and certainly my favorite “pure” classical EP at the moment. Is it because it is written by a composer only one year older than me, and yet has a lot of talent that is truly prodigious? Is it because it is unlike classical music I’ve heard in the past? It is all of these and more. What I am sure of is this: Dmitry Evgrafov has a promising future ahead of him. In fact, if I would ever make a film that would need minimal, emotional classical music like this, I would definitely contact him. Highly recommended listening.
Album: Lying On Your Shoulder
Artist: Dmitry Evgrafov
Genre: 21st century/modern classical/minimalism
The EP will be released February 14th by Sonic Reverie. Go to http://www.sonicreverie.co.uk/ for more information.