Nils Frahm: You

Context

Composed for solo piano, You features on Nils Frahm’s 2012 album Screws. During 2012, Frahm had broken his thumb and had to subsequently cancel many of his live shows. This gave him an unexpected break from touring, and so he sat at his piano and played what he could with his cast on. Even though his doctor advised against it, Frahm just couldn’t help himself:

 

“I started playing a silent song with four fingers on my left and the remaining five on my right hand. I set up one microphone and recorded another tune every other night before falling asleep.

The day I got rid of my cast I had recorded nine little tunes. They have helped me feel less annoyed about my accident and reminded me that any good is something I can only achieve, when I am making the most out of what I’ve got.”

 

The Music

Opening with a simple melody line in the upper hand, the gentle atmosphere moves at a slow pace. As the hand unite on rich lower chords, there is a sense of warmth that is added to the piece. The simple nature of You is what makes it so charming, from the block chords to the slow-moving melody, the piece is serene and gentle in character. 

Frahm experiments with the upper range of the piano as he takes the melody there. The changes between the upper and lower registers of the piano create a lilting motion, which is very lullaby-esque. A reprise of the opening material plays out, and the piece comes to its quiet and poignant close. 

 

Happy Reading!

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