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Updated: Jun 27

Every now and then a piece of music is created that opens a door into a new aesthetic area, and Nefertari, by Paul Sánchez, is one such piece. It’s a bold and visionary work, epic in scope, that takes the listener on a vast inner journey. This is a liminal piece that is on the threshold to another world, and it has a spiritual quality that can be heard in some of Sánchez’s other compositions.


The shape of the music is unrepentantly daring; stitching together fragments that create a vast canvas of sound. Whilst the soprano line twists and turns in sensuous arabesques the piano is unlike any piano one has heard before - a cosmic soundbox resonating in space and time; a psychopomp which guides the voice through a slowly unfolding ritual. The clusters, plucked strings, re-tuning of the notes, and use of the sistrum, are entirely integral and necessary to the artistic conception.


The effect of the music is both contemporary and ancient, and it cycles through passages of meditative calm and dramatic outbursts. The journey may be unfamiliar, as many pieces of music normally arise from a historical praxis (e.g. the symphony) where expectations on first listening will be guided by other works. In the case of Nefertari, we enter a new territory, and with no map to help us. The lodestar that keeps us on course is the beauty and drama of the music, which follows its own predestined pathway into eternity.

Graham Lynch

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