We were fortunate enough to interview musician Olivier Pierre following the release of his magnificent release, ‘Pactum Serva’. Enjoy the full interview below!
Hi Olivier, what is your first musical memory?
I remember being touched at an early age by the interpretation of Maria Callas in «Carmen» by Georges Bizet. I was listening to the three vinyl records of the Deluxe Edition over and over again, which were in a red and gold box that I thought was magnificent. Besides being able to sing in the high soprano register, Maria Callas’ voice encompassed an unusually loud and dark low register that appealed to me emotionally. It was later that I discovered that she was a “soprano sfogato” or “unlimited soprano” and that she could sing mezzo-soprano roles in the original keys.
Who or what brought you to music?
I was drawn to music naturally, without anyone around influencing me. Nevertheless, the music of Ennio Morricone that I heard in French and Italian films of the 60s and 70s had a considerable weight in my decision to learn and compose music.
Who influenced your latest release, ‘Pactum Serva’?
I can’t really name a single influence; I particularly like the work of Arvo Pärt, Giya Kancheli, Bernard Herrmann, Michel Legrand, Joe Hisaishi, and Ennio Morricone.
You are based in Luxembourg; how is the music scene there?
Luxembourg is a small country that offers excellent concerts and welcomes the best artists from all over the world. From orchestral music to rock, metal, pop, opera, and jazz, the local music scene is varied and interesting.
‘Pactum Serva’ is a beautifully cinematic classic release; what draws you to the genre?
The emotional impact of the «Ballad of Sacco & Vanzetti» composed by Ennio Morricone and sung by Joan Baez when I was a teenager. The combination of images, lyrics, and music completely blew me away. Later, I thought there were still great innovative things to do in contemporary classical and cinematic music, and that’s what drew me to the genre.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
With any director who really wants to give an original sound space to a film. I hear too many movie soundtracks that sound a lot alike with a tendency to tediously repeating ready-made formulas instead of producing original, interesting works.
What is your dream venue to play?
Not necessarily that I conduct music in prestigious places, but rather that fellow musicians enjoy playing my music in different places around the world.
Apart from music, what are you passionate about?
Everything related to art with a particular inclination for classical architecture that pursued an ideal of beauty, intelligence, and well-being.
What changes would you like to see in the music world?
The world of music is a reflection of our society. We live in a world where immediacy and ease have become predominant values. In this context, the music composed in our time reflects the world in which we live, and music is therefore naturally seen by those who market it as a “commodity” that must respect current standards.
Personally, I consider that music is not a mere “commodity” but also one of the noblest expressions of human thought and feeling and should be treated as such. I really like all types of music, including in both its most extreme and commercial forms. However, I think that the systematic oversimplification of harmonic and melodic structures in today’s mainstream music does not necessarily indicate a step forward in our society.
What do you think of how the internet plays a role in today’s music industry?
A positive role, of course. But as with all good things, there is a flip side. For listeners, the amount of music available makes it sometimes difficult to unearth rare gems. On the other hand, those who compose and produce music depend more and more on the quality of their marketing.
The music platforms don’t bridge all gaps yet, as they fail to fit with a certain perspective of music. This is why people want to go back to the experience of vinyl records: opening the wrapper, smelling the sleeve, admiring the visual artwork, and not losing out on any sort of physical interaction with music.
What if you could choose one thing that fans would take away from your music?
The emotion one can feel while listening to music translates very poorly into words. The organization of sounds and their organized division in time provoke emotions in us, revive our aspirations, and remind us of our memories and many other beautiful things. If those who love my music derive emotion from it, then I’m a very happy man.
Have you started working on your next release?
Yes, a new piece of music will be released on the 11th of June – its name is «Per Lux Solis». As «Pactum Serva», «Per Lux Solis» is a piece for piano & orchestra. The piece was directly inspired by an excerpt from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche’s work: “You great star, what would your happiness be had you not those for whom you shine”. «Per Lux Solis» slowly builds toward a climax for the listener and reflects the various human emotions that emanate from the light of the sun.
FVMusicBlog May 2022
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