"Old & New" by Marc Filmer - July 11th, 2022

LISTEN: Napster, Tidal, Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify, Amazon, Amazon Music, Pandora, YouTube Music, iHeartRadio.

"Old & New" is a solo piano and strings album by Marc Filmer. The album features four original compositions, as well as four new arrangements inspired by works in the public domain. The title refers to the 50/50 split between new tracks and older classics that are reimagined.

In the rest of this post, I will delve a little deeper into each track on the album, revealing a little bit of the story and inspirations behind the music. Read on!

1. History

"History" is a personal favorite track on my new album "Old & New." The piece has a soft melancholic vibe that gave me the feeling of time passing. In my mind, I could see fleeting images of an old black and white movie - a film something like Michel Legrand might score.

The piece evolved from a left-handed ostinato, which is a rarity in my compositional process. It could perhaps tell the story of lovers or loved ones separated by time and space.

I also think that there's a gentle and almost dream-like quality to the piece.

2. Take a Moment

"Take a Moment" is a relaxing instrumental that seeks to still the senses and provide a sense of calm. It's a musical counterbalance to the stresses and strains of everyday life, wrapped up in the challenges that are thrown our way. It was one of the most fun pieces on the album to play at the piano because it's got a relaxed flowing tempo.

When I close my eyes, I see clouds and imagine the buoyant bob of a boat in gentle lake water. The piece has a lazy summer vibe that befits a tropical beach getaway on exotic shores.

3. Pavane

"Pavane" is based on Op. 50 by Gabriel Fauré, a French composer who wrote the piece in 1887. It's been suggested that Fauré named the piece after an elegant Spanish court dance.

Growing up in England, I heard the piece quite a few times in all kinds of musical settings, but I only found out who composed it fairly recently. I've previously spotted the tune playing on classical stations, set as background music for films, and even referenced in pop music.

With the melody already in my mind, I improvised the rest of the arrangement without listening back to the original piece.

4. Satie de Lune

"Satie de Lune" is a medley of two pieces by different French composers who are both favorites of mine. The composers are Erik Satie, and Claude Debussy, with the pieces being "Gymnopédie No.1" and "Clair de lune."

For some reason, due to both these pieces having a French impressionistic vibe, they've always been linked in my head, so I reimagined them as one.

In my mind's eye, I see visuals like Claude Monet's "Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies" coming to life in magical surreal colors. I can imagine this beautiful nature scene shifting from daytime to night, warmed by the nocturnal glow of moonlight, which is the French translation of "Clair de lune."

5. Moonlight March

"Moonlight March" is a medley of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata," alongside Chopin's "Marche Funèbre" (or Funeral March). Both pieces are very dark yet tragic and moving at the same time. The choices were inspired by the somber tone of war and the stories of human suffering that ensue.

Despite the popular dreamy title that wasn't thought up by Beethoven himself, "Moonlight Sonata" has also been characterized by some critics as a funeral march. As I started to play from memory, the two pieces flowed together quite effortlessly. It seemed fitting to combine them, and it suited the heavy mood of the moment.

6. Sad Heart

"Sad Heart" is a warm and gentle instrumental piece tinged with melancholia.

The music was composed shortly after the death of my maternal Grandmother, who passed just months before her 100th birthday. My heart was sad because I didn't get the chance to see her one final time, yet the piece is hopeful and celebrates the happy memories.

With my eyes closed while playing the piece, I let the memories flow and put my thoughts and feelings into music rather than words. In a private way, this was my musical tribute to her life while retaining my own personal perspective.

7. Dark Minim

"Dark Minim" is a piano piece that explores the nature of grief through music.

The word "Minim" in the title means something small or insignificant. This choice reflects an idea that I had, that when you lose someone important from your life, the void left can leave a person feeling like they are also disappearing.

When I closed my eyes while playing the piece, I felt a floating feeling that could resemble being anchored in a mental projection of the past rather than present in the body. I had initially come up with two separate musical ideas that were similar enough in mood that they later merged.

8. Scarborough Fair

"Scarborough Fair" is a favorite melody of my wife, who urged me to record a new version of this traditional English ballad. With the main theme in my head, I let the rest evolve at the piano so that a fresh arrangement would emerge.

Interestingly, the location of Scarborough in Yorkshire is not the only location to have been sung in the lyrics, which have evolved and adapted as much as the melody itself since around the mid-1600s.

While improvising parts of the new arrangement at the piano, I imagined the open green expanse of Dartmoor in my home county of Devon, England. I could also see a romantic painting in my mind's eye, of a beautiful raven-haired woman with her unmasked knight in armor, under a countryside tree.

Listen To "Old & New" Now!

Now that I've shared my process behind "Old & New," I hope you're motivated to explore the album in full. Music videos will be released weekly for both the piano and strings and solo piano versions, so make sure you're subscribed to the Marc Filmer YouTube channel!

"Old & New" can also be streamed on all major digital distribution platforms.

LISTEN: Napster, Tidal, Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify, Amazon, Amazon Music, Pandora, YouTube Music, iHeartRadio.