Heart and Breath is Richard Reed Parry´s debut as a neo-classical composer, inspired by the likes of Steve Reich and Brian Eno. Parry is well known for his work as a multi-instrumentalist with the critically acclaimed, Grammy award winning alternative rock band, Arcade Fire.
The concept behind Heart and Breath is that every musician involved in the piece generates his own tempo by listening to his/her pulse during the performance. Fragile and intimate, these stunningly created pieces are the result of a conceptual compositional approach that reflects Parry’s deep love of music, and his philosophy that music and nature (in this case the body) can by explicitly linked.
“Music for Heart and Breath is a series of compositions that use involuntarily moving organs of the human body (specifically the lungs and the heart) as performance parameters. There are no time signatures: the tempos and rhythms are always governed by either the heart rates or the breathing rates of the individual players. In the case of the latter, the performers are instructed to play directly in sync with their own or another player’s individual breathing (playing at the speed of their inhalations, their exhalations or both). To enable the players to hear and play in sync with their own heartbeats, they wear stethoscopes and, naturally, generally play quietly.”
The music is performed by an exciting line-up of musicians, including Nico Muhly (conductor, celeste/piano) and Bryce & Aaron Dessner (guitar) and the album was also produced by Bryce Dessner.