New album "Once" is the fourth album by Egor Grushin which was released June 1, 2016 (previous releases: "Inside" (2012), "Absolution" (2013), "Dominicano" (2014) ). "Once" consists of nine songs, most of which are recorded accompanied by a string Quartet. Unlike the previous one, this album hasn`t horizontal storyline, each track tells his own story. The record is based on the principle-contrast, lyrical compositions followed by lively, melancholic after dancing, dramatic after meditative.
On the album worked:
Grand Piano, effects, keyboard – Egor Grushin
Cello – Roksolna Pakholkiv
Violin I – Anna Bura
Violin II- Marta Bura
Viola - Eduard Pogarecki
Sound engineer – Bogdan Nestor
Recording Studio - "Virtuoso Records"
Artwork – Andriy Balan
released June 1, 2016
A Closer Listen. Richard Allen. June 29, 2016
These are tough times for solo pianists, as there are so many of them with tens of thousands of grand pianos sold each year, more prospective pianists are born daily. The growing success of Piano Day is only a reflection of a surging worldwide interest, echoed in the amount of submissions we’ve been receiving in this category. So what does a piano composer especially a cinematic, pop-inflected composer need to do in order to get noticed?
Singles help, and over the past few months, Ukrainian composer Egor Grushin released two in advance of his fourth album. “Ocean” set the stage with pure piano, while “Sparkle” added string quartet. By treating the album in the same manner as a pop release, Grushin is already ahead of the game. Consider the practice of releasing a ballad before a banger, and the association is cemented; radio will likely embrace at least one. A similar principle is evident in the sequencing, which on this release receives special note: the alternating moods of these pieces are purposeful, meant to keep the interest strong. Not that this is needed with a half-hour album; but like the singles, and the string quartet, it helps.
Most importantly (and obviously), one needs to enjoy the songs. Again, Grushin has paid attention to detail, creating catchy melodies with titles that reflect the time of year: the aforementioned “Ocean” and “Sparkle”, along with “Summer.” Andriy Balan’s cover is a match. Early highlight “Essential” begins as a gentle waltz, but develops depth as it progresses, culminating in a Mahler-esque string surge set against a segment of solo piano, highlighting the strengths of all the performers. “Summer” is as playful as the title implies, characterized by carefree plucks and flurries of notes like dandelion seeds on the wind. The title track is melancholic and wistful in its early stages, romantic and assured in its later stages, wrapping around to its beginning as it ends. Continuing on this theme, the closing “Loss” heightens the drama and is nearly anguished in its emotional immediacy. While Grushin has declared this not to be a concept album, it comes across as the story of a doomed summer romance ~ one beautiful enough to repeat, if given the chance, regardless of the outcome.
Merchantsofair. June 23, 2016
Ever since I heard 'Die Moldau', I've been hooked on classical music, along with a massive number of other musical styles. Unlike most people, I didn't know about classical music until I was twelve or so. In school, we had one hour of music class every week and that's where I heard that magnificent piece of music for the first time. My musical journeys haven't been the same since, and I'm still discovering beautiful works, created by piano and strings.
Lviv, Ukraine resident Egor Grushin is actually one of my favorite present-day composers. Like several of his lesser known colleagues he surpasses well known ones like Olafur Arnalds, Sebastian Plano and Nils Frahm. Grushing would fit in quite well with that ensemble, certainly with a varied album like this one. Sometimes it's minimal and subdued, sometimes it's playful and joyous. It contains piano and strings, and a whole lot of talent.
After an intro, 'Essential' is exactly what the title predicts. This songs, and many others on this album, would fit perfectly on an 'Essential Classics' compilation, right in between the Mozarts, Beethovens, Händels and whonots. This is a joyous piece, a bit melancholic perhaps. Follower 'Summer' also doesn't disappoint. It sounds like a warm day in August, somewhere in the late eighteen hundreds or so.
Speaking about melancholy. The title track 'Once' really is a tearjerker and I write that in the best possible way. Remember that 'Essential Classics' compilation? Well, 'Once' deserves a spot too. It's followed by a waltz, aptly named 'Waltz'. But I'm not going into a song-by-song on this one. You'll have to check out the other ones for yourself while I press the repeat-button and enjoy this graceful album a few times more... You should too
Anthem Review. June 19, 2016
A classical cross-over/modern classical composer and pianist from Lviv, Ukraine, Egor Grushin is fast becoming a champion of modern composition. After releasing a trio of acclaimed albums, Egor has returned with his fourth studio album, ‘Once’. The follow-up to 2014’s ‘Dominicano’, the new album consists of nine musical cuts, most of which have been recorded and accompanied by a string quartet.
The record is based on the principle of contrast, with each track awash with its own lyrical composition, spreading between lively melodies, melancholic sounds and a vibrant, alternating series of themes. From sounds that make you want to dance, to the infinitely dramatic and pristinely meditative, ‘Once’ is a constant wave of evolving moods and dynamic forms.
Unlike Egor’s previous albums, ‘Once’ doesn’t follow a single narrative, with every song comprising of its unique story. From the sombre tones of ‘Essential’ blossoms an emotive journey of discovery and adventure, while ‘Summer’ flourishes with a delicate series of light, frolicking tones that will entrance and inspire. Every composition holds firm its own sense of magic, and even the shortest tracks of ‘Waltz’ and ‘Intro’ hint at an unfolding sense of wonder.
‘Once’ is another strong release from one of the most impressive talents of the modern classical era, and for anyone willing to voyage into a world of piano driven brilliance, Egor Grushin is the best guide you could hope to have.