Could French Pianist Elizabeth Sombart Soon Win A Grammy? Personally I seem to think it’s long overdue. Sophistication in music isn’t something you can insert into material so much as bring to life with the power of your performance, and if there’s one player who has done a good job reminding us of this over the course of the past year, it’s been Elizabeth Sombart. Sombart is a classically trained pianist who has spent time amongst some of the most gifted and talented players in the world, joining their ranks herself through a dedication to the craft that has been rivaled by few others in her scene in recent years, and in her award-nominated new album Singing the Nocturnes, she makes a case for Grammy recognition and international acclaim that feels like a reinvention of classical content on the mainstream side of the dial.
Emotion is everywhere we look and listen in Singing the Nocturnes, starting of course with the output of the piano keys on their own. Even without a lyrical presence to guide us through the different movements in this record, we’re never left to feel lost in a forest of moodiness when Sombart is lighting the way with her play, which is quite literally from the time we press the play button on the opening track up until the music fades from view once again. Classical buffs will note the atmosphere of the recordings and particularly the balance within the master mix, both of which feel like a nod to the live experience that was always meant to accompany the music of Chopin in any scenario.
Fluidity is reinforced by the training Sombart has been undergoing her entire life, and while not everyone who sits down to hear her interpretations of “Nocturnes, Op. 32,” “Op. 37,” and “Op. 15” will come into the session knowing she won the National Piano and Chamber Music 1st Prize while attending the Strasbourg Conservatoire, they’re going to get a feel for her abilities as she lays into this material one way or another. This isn’t the sort of compositional layout that affords her many opportunities to hide behind the depth of the content she’s performing, and it’s that very willingness to step out from behind obstructions her peers would just as soon remain behind that has given her so much momentum heading into Grammy season.
So few of the artists that I cover in classical and pop the same are capable of matching the hype that they generate for themselves, but in Elizabeth Sombart fans of the melodies made famous by Chopin, Beethoven, and beyond can consider her one of the more profound players in all of her scene right now, if not the world in general. Classical music is a genre that requires a lot more of an emotional investment from those who would seek to take it up than any other style of music on the planet does, but when Sombart is playing it feels like we’re listening to something that was always meant to be joined together. Her efforts are stunning, and it’s no wonder she’s on pace to take home some really big prizes in the next year.