A Sense of Place: On Giacometti by Hania Rani

When offered the opportunity to create a score for director Susanna Fanzun‘s forthcoming documentary film on the life of Alberto Giacometti, Hania Rani took herself to the mountains of Switzerland to compose in the setting where the legendary painter & sculptor lived and worked. Much as she did in her score for Venice – Infinitely Avantgarde, she immersed herself in the environment that she would seek to bring to life in her music, only here rather than the vibrant streets and museums of an historic city, she embraced the stunning isolation of the Swiss Alps long enough to experience the turning of its seasons while composing and recording in a studio not far from Giacometti’s own atelier.

When I was asked to compose a soundtrack for a movie about the family of Giacometti I didn’t think twice. Alberto Giacometti, a Swiss artist, who worked mainly as painter and sculptor has been one of my favorite artists for a long time. His individual style, aesthetics and the character of his creative process is still fascinating to me on many levels, so being able to dive even deeper into his universe, getting to know not only him but also his family was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss.

As expressive an artist as Rani has proven herself to be, one can imagine how such a potent combination of inspiration and motivation might elicit some of her most remarkable music and indeed it has. In her essay on the making of On Giacometti, she speaks of space being “the key element that gives [her] the answer about the arrangement or character of the project” and she finds these answers again and again in a series of intimate piano compositions lightly dusted with just enough synthesizer atmospherics to sustain their oneiric effect. The spell is cast from the mesmerizing opener “Allegra” which is enhanced by the warm presence of cello lines from friend and long-time collaborator Dobrawa Czocher and is maintained throughout as she winds her way through a tapestry of understated but arresting beauty. No doubt it was hard for her to leave at the conclusion of this wonderful project and so the listener may enjoy a similar sweet sadness when her piano alights on the final note of this delightful album.

Director: Mateusz Miszczyński

Being almost separated from reality, the city and its entertainments, people rushing and everything that usually takes my attention I could fully concentrate on the music and soundtrack, spending most of the day with my own thoughts and having enough space to experiment and be free in a creative process. This soundtrack would probably be a very different thing if composed in a place that I am usually living in. I took this a chance to explore something new about myself as a composer and human being, taking the opposite direction that I would usually choose for myself.

More Info: Bandcamp (CD/LP) | Streaming/Purchase | Hania Rani | Gondwana Records

On Giacometti is available now from Gondwana Records in a limited CD edition with photo booklet as well as digital download and streaming. Two bespoke vinyl LP editions (clear and black) were released but are currently sold out. The cover features artwork Łukasz Pałczyński.

Time flows with each new wave of sound coming through the river, reminding us that we are part of the cycle, which endlessly repeats itself. I left the valley with the first breath of the spring…