Neoclassical pianist and composer Frank Clare recently released his debut album, Admiratio Magna.
Inspired by Clare’s appreciation for 19th-century classical music, as well as his love of philosophy, science, and self-awareness, Admiratio Magna explores themes such as the cycle of creation and the power of stillness.
Talking about his music, Clare says, “I started piano at a late age, 15, and was never good at playing other people’s music. But I loved music and wanted to play, so I started composing.”
He goes on, “‘Admiratio Magna’ is Latin for The Big Surprise. What blows me away is that anything exists at all. Matter. You, me. Washing machines. The Grand Canyon, the Milky Way. Chocolate croissants. Anything. everything. The Big Surprise. From nothing to everything and back again. ‘Admiratio Magna.’”
According to Clare, the album is separated into three sections:
“Part One, ‘Vox Intus Omnia’ is Latin for The Voice Behind Everything. It’s inner, still, heartbeat and breath. The space between heartbeat and breath. The verge.
“Part Two, ‘La Grande Sorpresa’ is inspired by Italian opera: melodramatic, rhapsodic and grand. It’s ignition, excitement, catastrophe, and what’s left after there’s nothing left.
“Part Three, ‘Apotheosis,’ starts with ‘L’Extase,’ influenced by French music, creativity, frivolity, individuality, the battle between fun and responsibility, re-creation and the pure joy of being alive. ‘Die Apotheose’ is culmination, transformation, transfiguration. Inspired by German classical music, it is foreboding, dramatic, apocalyptic, apotheotic. ‘Goodbye Hello’ brings us back to just after the end and just before the beginning.”
Encompassing seven tracks, the album begins with “A Gathering of Possibilities,” opening on starkly simple tones, enveloped in space to breathe. As the piece takes on more colors that slowly expand, it reveals sparkling notes, arriving like the inception of rainfall.
Entry points include “Inceptus,” with its dark, portentous intro, flowing into brighter colors, yet still underscored by tentative shadows and increasing tension.
Traveling on Tinkerbell-like, fluttering notes, “The Bells of Noumenania” floats, drifts, and glides on delicate, opulent surfaces that shift to deeper, rumbling timbres on the outro, culminating in almost elegiac tones.
A personal favorite because of its layered textures, “La Grande Sorpesa” trickles, seeps, and drips, producing an elegant sonic dance made up of gentle, tip-toeing nuances. The soft outro ripples with dazzling beauty, like warm Velveeta.
Gorgeously wrought and structured, always allowing room for effect, Admiratio Magna displays the incredible virtuosity of Frank Clare.