“Néo-Romance is more about imagining things and telling stories. To lose yourself whilst listening.” — Alexandra Stréliski
French-Canadian pianist and composer Alexandra Stréliski released her XXIM debut album, Néo-Romance.
This project marks a departure for Stréliski in several ways, not just in terms of subject matter. Composing and recording in Europe for the first time, she also worked with several new musicians and collaborators – including a string trio; members from the Karski Quartet – and explored her family’s past. The songs were written mainly in Rotterdam, where Stréliski moved to be with her partner. And in doing so, she discovered some surprising – and prescient – facts about her family history, their Polish Jewish origins, and her ancestors’ penchant for art and creativity.
Long associated with the neo-classical movement, Stréliski also wanted to distance herself from a tag that doesn’t accurately reflect her work. Inspired by the idea of encapsulating and expressing emotions through art, and the Romantics’ love of individual expression over the restraints of tradition, she set out to follow her instinct. “I’m much more of a romantic in the sense that I express my own inner world to make sense of the wider world. So, the thread I’m pulling on here is the idea of neo-romance, in a musical way but also as a form of contemplation.”
Besides, says Stréliski, Romanticism has long been a part of her musical life. “I was raised playing Chopin, so it’s deep in my core. I’m a romantic composer. And with a new love leading me back to Europe, to my roots and these discoveries, it just all came together. It made perfect sense.”
The release accompanies a music video for the album track, The Breach. “The Breach is about deconfining yourself, with the febrility and the strength that is needed to reopen your heart after a hard time,” she explains. Watch here.
Stream Néo-Romance here.