Angelina Yershova, Piano Mirage, Italy, AYrecords, AY001 CD (2020)
A native of Kazakhstan (Almaty), Angelina Yershova already has a fair few solo recordings under her belt on her Twin Paradox Records label in the electronics genre but this recent release has her performing on piano only with some very discreet and minimal background orchestral or ambient electronics accompaniment. All the tracks on this album are melodic mood pieces Yershova describes as “sonic paintings” that depict a sunny fantasy world of “Miss Green”, a woman who imagines herself as a child again, revelling in the beauty of this world. However as the album continues, dark forces come into this world, the protagonist must learn a few lessons about love and disappointment, and continues with her journey to find happiness and fulfilment.
Most tracks are short and have a light airy feel and a sparkling flow. The tone is very beautiful and Yershova expresses emotion very well in the way she may vary the speed of her playing and the lightness of her touch. I’d have liked all the tracks or most of them anyway to have been joined up into longer pieces to get a sense of narrative in which Miss Green might learn that being a child forever may not necessarily be a good thing for her if she is to find her life’s purpose. A few more tracks in which the protagonist must fight her way out of darkness, loses hope and regains it, and learns patience and resilience might have been welcome. As it is, the album tends to be a bit too light for most people to take seriously, which in a way is a pity as the best moments come late with tracks like “Purple Passion” and the droning ambient “Stellar Sky” where Yershova shows in a matter of minutes the full range of emotion and mood, from light and carefree to unease, foreboding and anxiousness, and then to resolution and determination, just by playing a simple melody with no frills and the most minimal of accompaniment. “Towards the Sun” demonstrates happiness and sadness in equal measure, and Yershova’s choice of musical backing is significant here in making this track the most complex emotionally as well as musically.
At the very least this album demonstrates that solo piano need not be virtuosic in delivery to express emotion, atmosphere and mood: the simplest melodies, if played with feeling, can have the greatest impact.