Date: March 10th, 2023
Video By: Eefje Schuurkes
This morning, I am spending some quality time with Cedric Vermue and his beautiful 21+ minute piece, which is simply titled “Variations”. The shorter version of this piece has already appeared on his 2023 album, Perpetua, from which I have premiered a track titled “Aether”, and which, subsequently, appeared on my Best of the Year selections in Music For Watching The Snow Slowly Fall In The Moonlight list. So, yes, I’m certainly a fan. This particular piece has echoes of Arvo Pärt‘s “Für Alina“, whereby soft, sparse, and scattered hammers fall on the strings and let them ring out into bliss. As far as solo piano pieces go, this track is past the “standard” time of two to three minutes in length, but as far as I am concerned, it can go on forever. Along with its somewhat nostalgic and longing melody, the images depicted in the video relay a sense of solitude and retrospective calm, the one I find to be particularly poignant very early in the morning, as the world is still asleep in trial for another day. The video was shot early in December in Northern France together with the visual artist Eefje Schuurkes at a democratic artist-run Performing Arts Forum, which is actually in a monastery in St. Erme Outre et Ramecourt. Just like the piano piece, the video can be left playing in an endless cycle, gorgeous imagery with those gorgeous sounds.
Variations is a circular piece without a beginning or an end. It consist entirely of a reduced minor scale with only the first 5 notes of the scale. Leaving the piece floating in a perpetual A-minor chord. The phrasing is inspired upon Gregorian chant; the first notated choral music that was sung by monks in monasteries from 900 onwards. Three is a holy number in the Christian religion, portraying the holy trinity. Variations is structured in a similar way as a Kyrie in a holy mass, with each Variation containing three repetitions of a melodic phrase.
— Cedric Vermue
As mentioned above, the album came out in March of last year, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying it today. You can also check out other videos by Cedric on his YouTube channel.