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Albert Alan Owen

Keyboards and Strings (LP)

Label: Libreville Records

Format: LP

Genre: Compositional

In process of stocking


Albert Alan Owen was born in Wales in 1948 to parents of Welsh and Latvian heritage. His family later moved to Zimbabwe, where his father took up a teaching position. There, Owen was deeply influenced by local music and culture, while also exploring American RnB and jazz. It was during this period that he became acutely aware of the harsh inequalities under British colonial rule, which instilled in him a lifelong aversion to discrimination and racism.

In 1967, Owen returned to Europe to pursue his studies and enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He went on to spend time in Paris, studying composition with the eminent Nadia Boulanger and piano under Jacques Février, a favorite pianist of Ravel’s and Poulenc’s. Owen's focus shifted almost entirely to composition, and the acquisition of a Fender Rhodes electric piano marked the beginning of a divorce from his classical Western training. This transition allowed him to merge his passion for African and African-American music with the impressionistic styles of Ravel and Debussy while exploring the innovative realm of electroacoustic composition. These formative experiences framed Owen’s career as a composer and educator at the Royal Academy of Music and London’s Working Men’s College. He eventually returned to Wales, where he continues to reside.


In 1979, 29-year-old Albert Alan Owen released “Keyboards & Strings”, a light magical chamber music masterpiece. Transcending the formal conventions of its era, “Keyboard & Strings” is an acoustic and electric piano piece, where the violin is met by synths and electronics. As is often the case in Albert Alan Owen’s most intimate works, there is a sense of ethereal beauty that emerges from the music, akin to the emotional state one might experience while contemplating a Félix Vallotton landscape or the unfathomable mystery of dawn’s first light. Quiet, profound, and immersive, “Keyboard & Strings” stands out as an electronic-age tone poem, a rare gem that transcends time and place.

Cat. number: LVLP-2311
Year: 2024

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