“Life is hope without delay” 

 J.L. Rubio 

Mass society strives for growth. Growth in populations, growth in cities, growth in economies. The individual imbibes this intoxicating brew, and so dutifully strives for growth also – always looking ahead, always seeking more. Yet, modern society has been confronted with the confounding truth: Our world has little yield to further accommodate our voracity. Rainforests are declining, temperatures are rising, species are dying. This realisation of endless growth’s folly, and of the need to embrace what we have now finds expression in an arresting new album from Stockholm-based Spanish pianist Hara Alonso.

A study in semantics as well as philosophy, Notions of Hope invites a meditative listen. Each of its deft, stark piano tracks explores a different, nuanced interpretation of the concept of hope, delving beneath our overt, sanguine associations with the word. Inspired by springtime walks in the forest and nighttime readings on secular faith from the likes of Bloch, Kierkegaard and Hägglund, the set documents – the passing of the seasons from darkest winter to delicate spring – the time of new beginnings. Green shoots and lingering sun. It also arrives soon after the start of a new year, when we author resolutions for how to improve our lot. Nature’s cycle and humanity’s ritual, both lulling us into complacency. Through her fragile piano keys, Alonso wordlessly urges listeners to consider the fragility of our world, and switch from a mode of hope to one of care. Care for surroundings, care for your actions, care for your world – in all its finite glory. 

In “Notion 5”, Alonso rises ever further up her piano, until it has no more keys to offer. The piece ends – as we all do – and we enjoyed what was captured before the end.

“In a nontheistic state of mind,

 abandoning hope is an affirmation,

 the beginning of the beginning.”

  Pema Chödrön

Text by Chris Redfearn-Murray

Recorded in November 2022 at Fylkingen (Stockholm) by John Chantler. Mixed by Hara Alonso at Elektronmusikstudion.


Hara Alonso is a pianist, composer and sound artist based in Stockholm. 

Her music invokes contemplation and atemporality, practicing listening and kinetic immersion as composition method.

Emerging from a classical contemporary background, her current work incorporates electronic and instrumental elements transcending genre or identification.