Even the briefest moments can burn themselves into memory, inspiring feelings that last a lifetime. On FLEETING REALMS VOL 2, works in chamber settings tap into our innermost thoughts and emotions, stirring the senses and sparking imagination. Performed by the Gramercy Trio, composer Isak Roux’s Piano Trio Number 1 is featured on this album, a piece dedicated to the famous French actress Catherine Deneuve, whose work the composer has always admired.
Today, Isak is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to learn about his variety of influences and his thoughts on the clarinet as a widely adaptable instrument…
Who was your first favorite artist growing up?
Artur Rubinstein. My mother gave me a Reader’s Digest compilation album featuring Rubinstein’s artistry. I do believe those records converted me to classical music for life! Hearing such marvelous playing also convinced me that the piano was the instrument I wanted to play. Artur Rubinstein saw to it that Greig’s Piano Concerto is still my most favorite piano work.
When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?
At a very early age. I had to accompany the singing of hymns in our local church. I think I was 8 or 9 when this started. I also played accordion for my godfather who was a missionary, so having an audience was always a given. The step as an adult into a life that always featured the stage was a small one indeed. I never regretted my decision.
If you could instantly have expertise performing one instrument, what instrument would that be?
Undoubtedly the clarinet, one of the most beautiful sounding instruments on the globe. It is so very adaptable. For an arranger or composer it’s a most useful instrument. Stylistically, the clarinet can actually “do” anything.
What was your favorite musical moment on the album?
The slow movement called “The Lonely Lady.” Gramercy performed it with such sensitivity. Of course I have always had a penchant for the sad and wistful in music.
What does this piece mean to you personally?
It was a dream of mine to compose one piano trio in my lifetime. Experiencing its interpretation by a world class ensemble is simply wonderful. In it I have woven together all the influences I had experienced in my youth: gospel, chanson, African folk music, rock elements, minimalism, jazz; You name it, and it is all present in these four movements. Almost my personal “Mikrokosmos,” if you will. And yet, it is also my tribute to the great masters of classical music. The work lies very close to my heart.
Is there a specific feeling that you would like communicated to audiences in this work?
I simply want listeners to enjoy the music and — above all — use their imagination when hearing the different moods conveyed. It should allow listeners to dream about their own “film.” This music is about people and places, and not merely an intellectual exercise.
Explore Isak’s Latest Release
FLEETING REALMS VOL. 2
FLEETING REALMS VOL. 2 is available now from Navona Records. Click here to visit the catalog page and explore this album.