Meet Ms Pianissimo
Updated: Nov 8
Pianist Anna Sofia Nord's EP Meets the Moment
Picture: Anna Sofia Nord at the piano (Spotify)
Starting late as a hospital radio presenter meant a sudden need to expand The Hub's dusty internal playlists. Or risk going on air with the anachronistic enthusiasm of an Alan Partridge. The Horror! So the family Spotify account was a Godsend, its clever algorithm offering daily playlists across different genres based on frequent plays.
Örebro, Sweden-based pianist and composer, Anna Sofia Nord's soft-keys, pianissimo, thought-provoking music was an early "Ooh, what's that? Let's hear that again!" discovery moment on The Hub's ambient feed.
YouTube Video: Breathe from Anna Sofia Nord, 2020
A stand out was the elemental Breathe from 2020's eponymous album, Anna Sofia Nord. The tune featured on an early The Hub playlist on its Wednesday evening Epsom Hospital Radio show, coupled with Kate Bush's Breathing, from the 1980 Never for Ever album. The deceptively simple tunes quickly catch your attention, calm and connect to you on a deeply emotional plane. Breathe opened the door to the rest of the album and the snappily-titled tracks became repeat listens, implanting Anna Sofia Nord as a composer to watch.
YouTube Video: Butterfly, 2020
So The Hub was truly excited when the ten-track album Longing was released in autumn, 2020. The stand out this time was Butterfly, a celebration of nature's ephemeral wonder. It followed the formula of light piano strokes across a brief moment in time - one minute and thirty nine seconds. But as before, those strokes left a calming, thought-provoking impact. So much so, that The Hub was quickly working on a 2-hour, four-zone Butterfly playlist for its now Covid-affected Facebook Live Wednesday evening, Theme Show.
Of her music, Anna Sofia says: "I have played the piano since early childhood. I come from a musical family so music has always been around. One of my earliest memories is sitting in front of our old family piano together with my mom and sister picking out melodies.
Music has always been a way for me to express emotions/feelings. Words are harder, that is why most of my compositions are instrumental. I have always played the piano so I guess composing and improvising is a natural progress.
Of Butterfly, she adds: Butterfly started with a musical idea that turned into the intro figure. I thought that sounded a bit like butterflies flying over flowers and the piece evolved from there. I often have a musical idea that turns into different sections. Titles often come second and describe or sum up the feeling I have/get when playing the piece."
An Exciting Moment
YouTube Video: Expectance from the Moments EP, 2021, released by Andante Piano
Anna Sofia Nord's music has been an intrinsic companion on The Hub's journey. So it is a pleasure to celebrate the spring 2021 release by Amsterdam-based Andante Piano of Anna Sofia's EP Moments via the link below. The EP is a six-tune collection of characteristically memorably-titled and enjoyable musical moments.
Anna Sofia is unsurprisingly thrilled with the new releases (Expectance and Content have been released separately as singles) and the collaboration with Andante Piano.
"I am really excited about this EP and the singles that are being released. The six pieces were all inspired by the sound of a felted piano, where a strip of felt is placed between the hammers and the strings to reduce the attack and give the sound a soft and dreamlike character.
Playing around and improvising, finding different themes finally led to these compositions. All the time we experience different moments that make you aware of a feeling or an emotion. It could be happiness, sadness or both at the same time. I have tried to convert these into music.
It is a way to deal with the reality, life, the good and the bad. All titles reflect this in one way or another. I think most listeners will recognize the same tonal language I have used in the past. Melodic and relaxing with a hint of Nordic melancholy! All the best and thank you so much for your support! Anna Sofia."
If you are looking for a coupling of the Moments EP with a Kate Bush song, then Moments of Pleasure from the 1993 The Red Shoes album would work nicely!
Listening to the EP, The Hub had these initial responses: Expectance opens with a different warmth of sound from previous compositions thanks to the felted piano, Lightness is like a lover blowing cool air over your face while your eyes are closed, while Gentle Caress speaks for itself. Content takes you to that doorway all of Anna Sofia's music brings you to. And Nostalgia and Remembrance evoke different aspects of memory that can indeed be bittersweet!
A mindful antidote to these anti-social times.
Thank you Anna Sofia!