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Contemplation by Louis Colaiannia
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 1/16/2020
Lovingly created, colourful and warm
Louis Colaiannia is one of the most expressive pianists around these days, his works of art are constantly drawing a musical narrative, that at times is incredibly compelling, but in all moments most warmly encapsulating, and here on Contemplation his latest work, we have a masterclass in musical painting and self-expression. This is a double album, each containing 10 tracks, but with disc 1 being instrumental and disc 2 the solo piano versions of these.
The opening piece entitled The River is a memory filled opus of endless movement and time, and to follow that up with one of my personal favourites called Gentle Rain was a sublime moment of genius, one that captures the mood of the moment perfectly.
The album itself is like walking into a massive room with 10 windows, and the view through each is vastly different, but equally expressive and impressive, much like the title header Contemplation. There is a really crafted sense of depth here that is so persuasive.
The multi-instrumental nature of this album is quite stunning, but at all times perfectly balanced and well thought out, for example the hovering and mysterious Mystic Nights and the ambient classical motifs of What If, both a delight to listen to deeply and meaningfully.
A review of this album cannot be concluded without a mention of one of the highlights of the album, a track called Believe in Peace. This moving and beautiful offering contains the honest and uncluttered views and voices of a collection of children from across the world, including his own grandchildren, promoting what really matters on this Earth, peace above all else.
Contemplation is a delightful album and Louis Colaiannia must be proud of his creation, one that I rate as his best work so far. The release is a true reflection of the artist’s heart; each composition has been lovingly created to manifest the best from each moment of musical time, and if you embrace this opportunity to purchase this colourful and warming collection of superb music, your heart and your ears will love you forever.
Rating: Excellent
Bach Side of the Moon (Baroque Adagios Reimagined) by Piers Adams & Larry Lush
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 1/16/2020
A refuge of favourites, lovingly caressed
I found fascinating juxtapositions emanating from this release that would touch me in ways I never imagined; my father and I had a difficult relationship at one time when I was a teenager, but we found a loving friendship through my love of electronic music (Vangelis/Tomita) and his love of all things classical, we shared musical ideas and pathways, ones which would create a great and long lasting relationship, when I look at Bach side of the Moon by Piers Adams & Larry Lush I see a familiar theme occurring.
There are, on this offering many tracks and composers I was introduced to, and I know if my father had of been alive today he would have adored this release, especially from two artists from the county where he once lived in Sussex, and where I once worked for the BBC. This journey of sorts starts with BACH Siciliano (from the Flute Sonata), this piece resonates in my heart to this day and the lush combination of recorder and synths, with that specific Bach motif is quite emotionally beautiful.
I remember to this day my father introducing me to ALBINONI Adagio (from Oboe Concerto Op. 9 No. 2). Still now it moves me and transports my thoughts back to Sunday afternoons in a winter sun listening to it, proving to me, if I needed proof, that music is indeed timeless. The talents of the two artists here is deeply respectful and thoroughly professional, as much can also be said for the tracks VIVALDI Adagio (from the Oboe Concerto), a deep and beautifully fluent arrangement and performance, and into the arms of a truly masterful opus entitled SAMMARTINI Siciliano (from the Recorder Concerto), a piece that retained a certain lightness of performance, but held within it an emotive energy that was so deeply enjoyable.
There are so many pieces that I know so well on this album, ones that have been lovingly caressed into the womb of the 21st century by the guiding hands of the recorder and synths/keyboards of Adams and Lush. An example is the quite exquisite HANDEL Largo (from Trio Sonata Op. 2 No. 1) a composer who was always more than Water Music, then the moody offering of PURCELL Dido's Lament (from Dido and Aeneas). A track where the scene is set so beautifully and with such depth by the synths of Lush, and to prove my previous ejaculation about Handel, his Eternal Source of Light (from Birthday Ode to Queen Anne) by the performances on all three I was completely transfixed.
If you have been in search of something different musically to enjoy, then that quest will be completed if you purchase this release, as you will find your new age classical fix being totally satisfied, especially with offerings like GLUCK Dance of the Blessed Spirits (from Orfeo) and one of my all-time favourites VIVALDI Cantabile (from the Flute Concerto 'Il Gardellino), such tender delights can be found within both pristine performances.
BACH Adagio (from the Flute Sonata) carries it’s calmness with such a wonderful regal posture, whilst VIVALDI Largo (from the Recorder Concerto) was literally transformed into an arrangement that would reveal an avant-garde energy, while the tones and timbre of ALBINONI Adagio (from the Oboe Concerto Op. 7 No. 3) would grace us by being our penultimate composition, one that would suit my futuristic desires beautifully. The whole project would be fluently finished off by a performance granting us a delicate presentation of BACH Andante (from the Flute Sonata), for me I couldn’t think of a better way to finish, and the recorder of Adams ends this illustrious voyage of plenty, with such style and panache.
Bach Side of the Moon by Piers Adams & Larry Lush is the album you may have been searching for all your life, for within its musical walls the listener will find not only a refuge from much of the banal material that one is bombarded with from the media these days, but a new playground of classical favourites, ones lovingly caressed into this new century by a pairing of artists who clearly both play with their hearts on their proverbial sleeves.
Rating: Excellent
Deeper Imaginings by Paul Adams
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 1/16/2020
Perfect performances and beautiful compositions
Adams and Geyer are tireless musicians who seek the perfection of tone and quality, a relentless pursuit of perfection, in the same way Sir Galahad sought the Holy Grail. Like the aforementioned Arthurian legend, it would seem to me that they have at last found this Eldorado of musical greatness, it is entitled Deeper Imaginings.
From the very first track, Endless Horizon, it really becomes apparent that you are listening to something earth shatteringly great. This smooth, tranquil almost dream-like opus of a multi-instrumental nature is the perfect entrance offering, one that allows us the listener so much room to walk within musically.
Much can be said of the breath taking composition that quickly follows entitled The Unfolding. I have listened to the energy and interplay of the flute here with the plethora of added instrumentation, and the resulting composition is utterly glorious, while Geyer is known for her work on Flugelhorn primarily, her skills on piano are illustrious on this offering, the eastern influences on this arrangement alone made this one of my favourite pieces off the release.
With tracks like the peace-filled energies of Acceptance, we have a track that almost takes me back to the glory days of German flautist and new age composer Deuter, combine this with Hoffman on Trumpet, who is sublime in his own right, and the gentle subtleties of Geyer on Piano and you have a stunning composition.
New Morning was one of those tracks that does exactly what it says on the can, one has to add that the multi-instrumental nature of this offering in particular was sublime in creating the mood of early morning, this can also be said about Essence & Flow, a smooth and beautiful pastiche of music, that literally manifested wave after wave of tranquil dimensions to explore, and then the piano and flute open a musical world of expectant serenity with the offering Allowing. I must admit I was close to falling into a deep meditative mood at this juncture, I believe that’s called, bliss.
That sense of oneness continued with the next track entitled Still Meadows, I found this so redolent of the subject matter and could with ease picture myself in a summer field watching the wonder of nature dance before my eyes.
Adams and Geyer have created something quite translucent here, and this next glowing offering is a testament to that statement, it’s entitled Awakening, a wonderful reality of anticipation could be drawn from this luscious musical narrative; its multi-instrumental flavours and its eastern musical essences, were an absolute delight to bathe within.
The brass is strong in this next offering, as is the flute and the connection of crafted genius that goes with a composition of this nature, one with a Jazzy feel about it’s construction, the said title is All That I Am, the spoken narrative was also equally enthralling; the rhythmic energies of this composition truly spoke to me.
The penultimate offering was a piece entitled Evening, its notes were like a fine red wine, perfection to taste and tranquillity beyond anything you have heard before, and always leaving you wanting more. The symbiotic flow took us into the arms of the last track called Hope For The Game, a perfect ending piece for this absolutely radiant and serene album.
I have heard many albums this year in the contemporary instrumental field, but in all honesty you’re not going to get any better than this. Deeper Imaginings by Paul Adams and Elizabeth Geyer is one of those albums, packed with perfect performances, an abundance of quality musicians and with a production quality that was as beautiful as the compositions within it. The impeccable nature of this album must surely make it utterly irresistible to the listener, so I urge you to make Deeper Imaginings part of your musical collection as soon as you can, your soul will love you for it.
Rating: Excellent
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