Skip to main content

It’s rare to see a meeting between two young musicians result in research in the form of reflection on harmony and melody..

But that’s what guitarist Miguel Castro and pianist Pieternel Van Oers are offering us at Sunside this evening, ahead of the release of a debut album from a project called East Of The Moon in the autumn..

The duo has developed a discourse based on a solid sense of arrangement, as well as an extensive repertoire that is constantly changing according to mood, ideas and inspiration.

We’re reminded of Peter Bernstein’s experiments or Louis Stewart’s late period, the impressionist canvases of Brad Meldhau or Keith Jarrett.

At times, we are very close to the atmospheres generated by Lyle Mays and Pat Metheny in ‘Letter from Home’ or ‘In Her Family‘.

The delicacy of Pieternel Van Oers‘s phrasing doesn’t lend itself well to a rhythmic explosion, but Miguel Castro‘s smooth, very acoustic sound, combined with the pianist’s sensitive touch, produce marvels of finely crafted sonic lace.

In terms of atmospheres, we’re pretty close to the colourist work of musicians like Paul Motian, with a rather mid-range register, except for the appogiaturas and finishes.

Miguel Castro uses sequences of notes in tapping, with action on the volume knob to create expectation, tension, a rush of air or a breath.

One is reminded of timeless classics whose spectral image appears in flashes in a motif, a succession of notes, or a resolution of chords, and the human dimension of the project transports us to the shores of distant lands, in homage to what binds us together, an emotional landscape, a cohesion in the form of immaterial resonance.

May 22” is a colourful snapshot that highlights the pianist’s classical training, alongside the skilful harmonies of the six-string player.

Right Before” evokes a caesura, a reflection on the rumours of the world, its conflicts and scourges, but also its promises, hopes and ideals.

Sisters” is a sororal canvas, combining the love we feel for those closest to us with the emotional euphoria that ensues.

In the same spirit, Pieternel Van Oers also offers us a composition in homage to his grandmother, accompanied by a philosophical reflection inspired by the inward-looking nature of the Covid pandemic.

Les Beaux Jours” is an idiomatic brightening-up, conducive to both questioning and the boldest realisations.

One of the highlights of the set is the cover of Enrico Piaranunzi’s ‘Echi‘, a cover that owes nothing to chance, given the Italian pianist’s similarities to Pieternel Van Oers, with a strong influence from Bill Evans, whose classic trio produced marvellous miniatures of sound that were put through the prism of the blues idiom, and Miguel Castro‘s talent gives it a very special flavour.

In fact, this evening, nostalgia and emotions linked to the feeling of inner exile animate a very colourful discourse.

To appreciate this kind of music, you sometimes have to be prepared to straddle a note, to wind your way through a complex labyrinth of sound, to meander through the intricacies of an elaborate score, to be swept along by a chord plucked or strung out in arpeggios in unison on the keyboard and neck.

Having had the chance to listen to the two artists twice in less than a month, it’s probably no coincidence that they both have a piece entitled ‘Dialogue’ in their repertoire.

Intimacy and poetry have found their aedes.

A fine concert, a fine encounter.

Line Up:

  • Miguel Castro: guitar
  • Pieternel Van Oers: piano

©Photos Jean-Pierre Alenda

Translated with the help

Leave a Reply