Swiss pianist-composer-improviser Jacques Demierre composed The Hills Shout after a handwritten poem by American poet Robert Lax (1915-2000) sent to his cousin in 1980 (repeated stanzas of The Hills Shout / The Stars Shout and The Sea Shouts / The Hills Shout). This unique moment of wonder led to a solo piano concert at Offene Ohren in Munich in January 2020. The album is an edited version of the concert, in the form of a rondo.
Demierre writes that «the act of remembering a sound is always a way to produce a new acoustic reality, The Hills Shout sounds like the live memory of a past concert. No new sound is added, but all the sound material that was once produced is being reconsidered through the immediate and present experience of my listening imagination».
The Hills Shout becomes a philosophical-poetic work that corresponds and reflects beautifully Lax’ moment of wonder with nature. In a similar way, Demierre is fascinated by the piano’s immense sonic range, and the instrument’s shout to explore its infinite sounds, earthy and celestial ones. He plays inside the piano with its strings like a highly resonating metallic harp and in more conventional ways, in a minimalist and peaceful, Satie-like manner, or employing extended techniques to turn the piano into a restless percussive machine. Demierre keeps shifting between contrasting motifs, some are subtle and sparse, others are quite powerful and even noisy, like in an intriguing structure of origami. And he always lets his imagination – and ours, the listeners – run free. It lasts only forty moments, but all are remarkable and inspiring.
Jacques Demierre (p)