Emilía has done it again. The duo who brought us last year’s exquisite EP Down to the Sadness River is back with another melancholic gem. While it may seem out of season in fall, the phrase “spring through a window” refers to the nostalgia of gazing wistfully at the past. In English, the secondary meaning implies depression, the word “spring” transformed into a verb, as in “I am so sad I would like to spring through a window.” Each of these readings matches the season of autumn, a season of introspection, finitude and occasional remorse. But the opposing thought is, “hearing such lovely music, knowing there is such beauty in the world, makes me want to live.” This is the hope we have for any readers struggling with the season. Emilía’s music may be elegiac, but it is also empathetic.
Beginning with “Morning Elegy” and ending with “Drowned Laments” and “Rough Embrace,” the titles also lend themselves to multiple readings. Such words are oxymoronic; most people love the morning and the embrace, but avoid roughness and drowning. Such titles capture the dual nature of nostalgia, simultaneously enticing and dangerous. To miss the past is one thing; to dwell in the past, or drown in it, is another. Here is our protagonist, gazing through a window, remembering the season of spring, literal or metaphorical. Oh, the good old days, so recent and yet so long ago! A lover has left, a relative has died, a home has been left behind. The Israelites in the desert remembered Egypt this way, forgetting how bad it was, lamenting that they once had leeks but now had only manna.
The cello is a perfect instrument for conveying such feelings. An occasional drumbeat adds drama to “The Waiting Chair.” Waiting for what, exactly? For (as John Mayer once put it) “the world to change?” We are the ones who need to change ~ first our perceptions, and then our attitudes and actions. The sentiment is expressed in “Dawn Will Heals Everything” (sic), a reminder of the hope that springs – that word again – from possibility. This short piece arrives on the heels of the swirling title track, representing the nexus of emotional turmoil, the piano a distant reminder of something grounded, eternal and true. The pulse returns like a heartbeat. We’ve chosen to survive. (Richard Allen)