Thessaloniki-based composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Manos Milonakis makes his debut on piano and coffee records with The Seagull, an album-length synopsis of his original score for a production of Anton Chekhov’s play of the same name directed by Yiannis Paraskevopoulos. The first lines of it were drawn while in Romania where he had traveled with the director to prepare a show for Craiova’s National Theatre, a process the label describes as a “decoding” the vivid atmosphere of that place into music for the classic Russian play. Despite being composed a year before his theatrical score for Festen in 2016, it took Milonakis quite some time to determine it was finally the right moment to release this record, a decision which led him to the studios of Ed Carlsen in the northern suburbs of Copenhagen where some of the piano parts were re-recorded and the album was freshly remixed.
“During these years and working in-between other projects I sometimes looked back in my hard drives and these recordings always resonated inside my heart. Having performed the music extensively in concerts was also revealing an urge to me: that I should probably share this stuff with the world”.
The Seagull is admired for Chekhov’s deft sub-textual treatment of its melodramatic themes and characters. Just a little cursory reading about the play, as well as criticism of the most recent Hollywood attempt to bring it to the screen, indicates it can be tricky to get its balance of comedy and tragedy just right, but I would suggest Milonakis does a grand job of it from a musical perspective. Cleverly blending soundscapes and electronics with elegant piano lines, his score is rich in narrative and thematic cues and punctuated with moments of profound emotion voiced by cello and violin. Particularly affecting is his tender theme for painfully unrequited Masha (“Masha’s Song”) and the tragically penultimate “Treplev’s Waltz” which you can listen to here in an exclusive premiere.
The album releases March 13, 2020 via piano and coffee records and will be available on limited edition CD and digital formats with artwork by London-based illustrator Jordan Amy Lee.