Based in coastal Provence, Dominique Charpentier is a young French pianist and composer whose music is also informed by other instruments such as accordion, guitar or ukulele. Starting the piano at a very young age and honing his skills by covering a huge range of musical styles on his YouTube channel, the musician has gradually found his own voice. Released on Fabrizio Paterlini’s label Memory Recordings on 26 October 2018 last in digital and Vinyl format, Carnet de Voyage is Dominique Charpentier’s third LP record.

Dominique Charpentier - Carnet de Voyage (2018)
Dominique Charpentier – Carnet de Voyage (2018)

The pianist quotes Schubert and Chopin as his major classical influences, but contemporary pianists like Ludovico Einaudi, Ólafur Arnalds and Yann Tiersen have conclusively spurred the musician to pursue his own interest in composition. Over the course of three solo albums to date (including Passages in 2016 and Réminiscence in 2018), Dominique Charpentier’s music sits comfortably alongside a new generation of young like-minded composers like Fabrizio Paterlini, Daigo Hanada, Julien Marchal or Otto A Totland.

As witnessed by a couple of recent self-released EPs such as Esquisses and L’attente (2017), the musician is also increasingly steering his attention towards improvisation under time constraints as a way of boosting his creativity.

This spontaneity is immediately apparent on the nine tracks of Carnet de Voyage, “all of them composed in a very short time, one hour or less”, and including two improvised pieces. Performed on an upright piano and softened by felt, the compositions are short, intimate, very melodic and devoid of any superfluous ornamentation or effects.

Except perhaps “Raz Blanchard” referring to a strait off the coast of Normandy, the compositions on the album evoke “experiences yet to happen and places yet to be discovered” in the musician’s own words.

In light of the unadorned and cinematic nature of Dominique Charpentier’s music, one can only imagine a seamless transition from improvised composition to film scoring.

The Cakemaker OST (2017)

Dominique Charpentier - The Cakemaker OST (2017)
Dominique Charpentier – The Cakemaker OST (2017)

Wonderfully illustrated by concise compositions, The Cakemaker is an Israeli film directed by Ofir Raul Graizer and released in December 2017. Thomas, a young German gay baker is having an affair with an Israeli married man who tragically dies in a car crash. Travelling to Jerusalem as part of his grieving process, Thomas ends up working for his lover’s widow without revealing who he is. An intricate love story ensues.

Composing music with a blank canvas is a difficult exercise in the first place, but Dominque Charpentier has turned this approach into a self-imposed discipline. Prompted this time by a visual narrative, the musician manages to capture instantly the essence of the Cakemaker with six short pieces.

The soundtrack was released digitally of the musician’s Bandcamp page on 22 December 2017 last.