Record label Soleil et Pluie (Sun and Rain), founded by Nikol Bóková and Jan Vala in the spring of this year, releases its second album half a year after releasing its first title Elements. After this title, recorded in the line-up of Nikol Bóková Quartet, comes the album Naked Pieces for solo piano. In the series of albums Inner Place (2019), Unravel (2020), Prometheus (2021), and Elements (2022), the album Naked Pieces becomes Nikol Bóková’s fifth author album released within four years.
Naked Pieces contains ten original compositions. Five of them are brand new, the other five are inspired by Nikol’s own motifs, appearing across all her albums to date. Themes, originally created for her trio and quartet, she adapted here for solo piano and musically enriched them with new forms and content.
The impetus for the creation of this program was the concert cycle Influencers of Resonance, for which I had the opportunity to combine the classical repertoire with my own music. This October concert in St. Agnes Monastery was such a wonderful experience that Jan and I decided to record the author’s part as an album as soon as possible, still under the impression of that magical evening. With the kindness of C. Bechstein Pianocentrum Praha, it could have happened the same month on the same instrument,“ says Nikol and Jan adds: „I enjoy sitting as close as possible to the performers and watching their love duel with the instruments. To hear the sound firsthand. A different interpretation stands out as well as original viewpoints and individual touch. Hear the author’s breath, the mechanics of the instrument, the sustain pedal and its unsticking of the dampers from the strings, the mutual consonance of crossed strings, aliquots, the resonance of mountain spruce, maple, hornbeam, beech, pine, and mahogany, from which the masterful Bechstein concert grand piano is made. You can’t hear a breath from afar, you can’t see the erect hairs on the skin, which can give you the context of the moment. Naked Pieces are bare pieces for solo piano. What the album might lack in the number of instruments, itmakes up for in the interaction between ten thousand moving parts of the piano. At the same time, it sets itself the task of faithfully capturing the entire instrument and performer as a single organism. In addition to classic studio monitors, we tuned the sound on AQ Canto loudspeakers, which are, similarly to a piano rim, made of bent beech wood to maintain much greater acoustic pressure and linear delivery.”
The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jan Vala. The author of the landscape photo is Nikol Bóková. The author of the portrait photo and graphic design of the album is Jan Vala. The instrument C. Bechstein model D-282 piano and the recording venue were provided by C. Bechstein Europe s.r.o. / C. Bechstein Pianocentrum Praha.
Naked Pieces is released on December 22, 2022 , in hi-res digital format (WAV and MP3 download ). The album will be released on CD in the spring, the LP is scheduled for the summer of 2023. Later on, the album will also be on streaming platforms. This music will be available in the e-shop of the Soleil et Pluie record label at www.soleiletpluie.com.