Alexis Ffrench: Bluebird
Contemporary pianist and composer Alexis Ffrench has been busy taking the world by storm in the last two years. His collection of solo piano works have been performed in a wealth of different venues. His music has made Ffrench a Spotify-era anomaly, with his music racking up an incredibly impressive 75 million streams. His love and passion for classical music is one of the ways he’s one of the most accessible young musicians on the scene at the moment.
Ffrench received tutelage at the renowned Purcell School and then at the Royal Academy of Music. Ffrench is now signed to Sony Music and has his last album, Evolution, was released in mid 2018.
Featured on his 2018 album Evolution, Bluebird was released as a single in 2017. It instantly became a Ffrench favourite, captivating audiences across the globe. In an interview Ffrench explains the genesis of Bluebird:
“I wanted to write something with a certain immediacy that spoke to people and connected with them, as that’s always at the forefront of my mind. The training for a classical musician is steeped in words and academia, but my main aim is always to communicate with people.”
The gentle lilting 3/4 time signature keeps the style and tempo pressing forward as the incessantly sweet melody sings out above. The simple harmonic movement creates a sense of innocence and nostalgia as the sweeping melody tries to take you elsewhere.
Both hands unite during parts of Bluebird, with the unifying of the melody creating an impact. The delicate accompaniment is effective in its presentation and provides an atmospheric support for the melodic material. Ffrench discusses his influences further:
“Bluebird, for me, is filled with a variety of influences, from Debussy and Satie, and is an expression of love and hope. It is born out of improvisation. I wanted to write something that expressed a certain innocence and purity. There’s so much trauma around us right now and I wanted to share a moment of calm, beauty and consolation. There isn’t enough of that in the world.”
Alexis Ffrench is now an established streaming star, with his music leading the way for a shift in classical music artists and listeners. His evocative music speaks to a very wide and diverse audience which transcends all boundaries. His likeability will certainly help keep classical music alive and thriving throughout the world.
“The bluebird carries the sky on his back”
Henry David Thoreau
Ⓒ Alex Burns