Ab Ovo

For this first Classical Sunday of 2022, I’m sharing a piece written and performed by Dutch pianist and composer Joep Beving. I stumbled upon today’s selection after listening to another work by him.

Wikipedia tells me the title “Ab Ovo” is Latin for “from the beginning, the origin, the egg.” The term refers to the Greek myth about the birth of Helen of Troy, the child of Leda and Zeus, born from one of twin eggs.

Finding a piece themed on beginnings seemed serendipitous as we step into a new year. Awkward, confident, happy, weary, afraid, disappointed, angry… these are some of the many feelings people are experiencing nearly two years into the global pandemic, and these feelings can strain one’s sense of hope.

Beving’s music is categorized as minimalist classical, and he claims influences ranging from Chopin, Mahler, Philip Glass and Arvo Part, to Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Radiohead. A public administration student, he worked in advertising, then composed music for short films as a start to his solo musical career.

“Ab Ovo” comes from Beving’s second album, Prehension (2017). While Apple Music describes the piece as melancholy, I find it to have determination and hope. It’s a fine piece to listen to in solitude, thinking of the year that has passed and assembling hopes and dreams for the new one. It is interesting to think of Beving’s work as minimalist; to me, the style carries complexity and layers, and I’m glad I discovered him while surfing the Deutsche Grammophon Youtube channel. I’ve listened to several of his pieces while writing this post.

The first, repeating note in “Ab Ovo” reminds me of a clock’s movements. This steadying and reliable presence is delicately intertwined with the rest of the composition to create pleasing and contemplative music.

Hopefully, the march of time into 2022 will see the pandemic fading as a public health crisis, allowing us the freedom to gather and live our lives without restrictions that have mostly not been enough to control the problem, though, cumulatively, crushing to the spirit.

Now you know a little about why this is My Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the official video from Joep Beving’s YouTube channel:

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