This Belgian composer is not well known among U.S. audiences, although he has made several highly regarded appearances at the New Music America festivals. In Spain, however, where he was the subject of a major television special, he is a new-music celebrity. Mertens's style employs mesmerizing minimalist techniques with a sense of the romantic that appeals to both serious music aficionados and more mainstream listeners. The keyboardist uses a certain amount of electronics along with some acoustic instruments like violin, flute, and saxophone.
The Belgian composer Wim Mertens (born 1953) is an international recording and performing artist who has given several concerts, as a soloist and with his ensemble all over Europe, in North and Central America, Japan and in Russia. Wim Mertens plays the piano and the classical guitar. He sings in a characteristically high-pitched voice, using a carefully crafted personal language. Since 1980 he has composed many pieces in different formats, from short, accessible songs or Lieder to magnanimous and complex three and four parts cycles, and for different settings: from piano solo to chamber music ensembles and symphonic orchestra. He often writes for unusual instrumentations: twelve piccolos, ten basstrombones, thirteen clarinets. Since his recording debut in 1980, titled For amusement only, an electronic composition for pinball machines, Wim Mertens has released more than 50 albums.
One can imagine how a composer like Wim Mertens could appear on the Windham Hill label and – to some people's surprise – in the late '80s he appeared twice. Whisper Me is a compilation of tracks from his other Crepuscle releases, a mini-overview of his style, and a way of hearing some tracks from the then-impossible-to-find Maximizing the Audience. Mertens has more depth to him than other pianists on the label, and a darkness creeps in at the edges of these works.
Amazing recording meant to be in any respectable music collection, must have definitively, one of the best composers in this modern age. For many of the fans of Wim Mertens, one of the first things we did upon discovering the Internet was to search for him. I spent years unsuccessfully looking for his CDs in stores and catalogs before going online in 96, and was most gratified to find that I could now acquire them. And I have. His fans in the US are few but fierce, and releases like A Man Of No Fortune, And With A Name To Come, explain that ferocity.
With OPEN CONTINUUM Wim Mertens presents his second project with symphonic orchestra. In 2006 the composer recorded Partes extra partes, a studio production with the Brussels Philarmonic directed by the Argentinian conductor Dante Anzolini. Since then, Wim Mertens regularly performed with a piano/voice and symphonic orchestra setup, with among others Madrid, Murcia, Berlin and Brussels Philarmonic’s orchestras. The composer considers the production and the performing with symphonic orchestra as one of the facets of his musical activity.