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Prelude to a Dream by Shoshana Michel
- posted by Dyan Garris on 10/15/2017
Prelude to a Dream
Shoshana Michel is an accomplished pianist and composer, evidenced quite nicely on her third solo piano album, Prelude to a Dream. Skillfully recorded, mixed, and mastered by Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven Studios in Sedona, AZ, the music throughout Prelude to a Dream is fluid, light, and reminiscent of a gentle lullaby that calms the soul at a very deep level. Eloquently composed and executed, the compositions are sweet and gentle. There’s an innocence and yet a deeper wisdom that shines through at the same time.

Track 1, “Wonders” is a perfectly delightful opening to the album. Whimsical and nicely structured, Shoshana’s classical training comes to the forefront. The title track, “Prelude to a Dream,” has a dreamy quality about it as expected, again beautifully showcasing her classical background. It’s melodic, well played, and very well composed.
“A Walk in the Rain,” track 3 is a particular favorite. Soft and gentle as a summer rain, we are successfully transported to exactly where we need to be. Another favorite is track 5, “Tender Words.” It’s beautiful, romantic, and expansive with the warm emotion bubbling up through to the top like a finely baked cherry pie.
Track 10, “Silent Farewell,” is a little melancholy, introspective, and moody, giving even more depth to the album. “Ethereal,” the last track on Prelude to a Dream, has an otherworldly quality and feels haunting and familiar, making a very effective ending to the entire album, which sticks with you long after it’s done.
For lovers of solo piano, this one is a must have. Simply charming through and through.
Shoshana’s music can be heard on Sirus XM radio, Calm Radio, Sleep Radio, The River of Calm, Pandora, Whisperings Solo Piano Radio, Enlightened Piano Radio, and
Buy Prelude to a Dream at
Connect with Shoshana on Facebook

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Rating: Excellent
Ardor by Matthew Mayer
- posted by Dyan Garris on 10/15/2017
Review of Ardor
Matthew Mayer, a notable and award winning pianist and composer, is the founder and owner of the website and radio station Ardor, the 11th album release by Mayer, is eloquent, sophisticated solo piano at its best. It’s everything solo piano ought to be.

As to be expected, the compositions on Ardor are masterfully composed without being pretentious on any level. Performance-wise, Matthew has perfect pacing and exquisite movement of expression. Ardor is grace, elegance, and refinement. The superbly composed melodies lift the spirit immediately and lead us into a world of peace and serenity where we can leave our cares to waft in the wind.

The opening track, “Stars on 123,” enticingly draws us into a world rife with inherent beauty and offers us a vast, otherworldly, and refreshing viewpoint. “Disappear It May,” track 5 on Ardor, is wistful, evocatively poignant, and emotionally stirring. It’s one to listen to over and over again.

My favorite track, the soulful, hypnotic, “Moonlight Walk,” track 8, carries us effortlessly to another place. We are on that walk, deeply contemplating not just the moon and the stars, but the universe and our place in it.

Another favorite is the warm and zesty “Escape” on track 10. Here our spirit is free of all burdens and yet oh, so alive.

Winding down the album, track 11, is the most lovely and deeply relaxing “Dreams VI.” Here we are immersed in sublime pleasantries like day-dreaming and cloud watching.

“We Met Once,” is the last track on Ardor, and also a favorite. The catchy, memorable melody lingers deliciously in your heart and soul long, long after the album ends. It’s exactly as if “we met once and we shall indeed meet again.” Eternally.

Matthew Mayer is an extraordinarily gifted pianist and composer. Without a doubt, there is so much to like here in Ardor, and nothing at all not to completely love.


Visit Matthew Mayer’s artist website.

Matthew’s music can be purchased on his website, Amazon, CD Baby, and iTunes, and streamed on Spotify and Pandora.

Music Reviews, Reviews
Rating: Excellent
Serenity by Michael Kollwitz
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 10/4/2017
Lovingly crafted
A new artist to me, but one that has brought a great deal of Serenity into my life, no pun intended, well only a little, is Michael Kollwitz! Now like some, I had heard of the chapman stick on a few albums that I have reviewed, but never seen one until I gazed upon the covers of this album, I feel intrigued, so why not join me on another musical journey this time with Michael Kollwitz, as he opens the door to his new realm called Serenity.
Mountain Sanctuary starts our voyage of musical plenitude and a more serene beginning you would never find. The gentleness of performance here is sublime and deeply peaceful. It would be ideal to take this music up into the mountains behind my home and enjoy the lush colourful tones along the way.
Mystic Vista, ah what a serene title, and one that we can relate to here, we have many mystical and amazing vistas in Cyprus. Again this track is utter perfection. Im sitting on my veranda, listening to this and watching the early autumn wind caress the palm trees, as sun beams dance on the wings of an errant butterfly, but I am sure you will find your own halcyon moment within this quite stunning arrangement.
The mellowness of this release is enough to bring tranquillity into anyone’s life; Greatest Possible Gift is another fine example of that tranquil nature and Michael Kollwitz is the master narrator of this most bliss-filled journey. One can see why such luminaries as Alice Cooper, Carlos Santana and Mick Fleetwood have purchased his music.
As we move to The Four Pillars, we can feel so happy that the enchantment spell that Kollwitz has placed upon us is still working. Here we have another warm opus of peace to wash over us; this one has a real sun kissed feel to it, and the tones that flow from this place of musical contentment are perhaps bathed in an historical motif of sorts.
We can move seamlessly from one composition to another without any interruption to our state of bliss, and the track A New Life, continues that reverie of harmony. For me there is a careful and tender ethic of reflection about this piece that I simply adored, but one with a positive nature to its construction.
I am certain I could leave this album on repeat for hours, it is so layered and textured in a state of utter calmness, and that doesn’t change as we approach the half way juncture of the album, where we come across the piece Best of Everything. Ian Cameron Smith from Australia once provided us with music of this ilk, but he did that on an electric guitar, here Kollwitz emphasises his skills on the Chapman Stick like I have never heard before.
The midway marker has been reached and we are further blessed by a smooth and resonating offering called Joyful Reunion. This composition has a really light energy about it, and the essence of happiness flows strong in this one.
The whole album seems to break down life’s tiring rhetoric and creates a soothing oasis of sound to rest in. On Simple Pleasure you have just that, a beautiful creation yes, but one that will simply allow you to drift on a sea of reassuring pleasure. Kollwitz manifests layer upon layer of comforting tones, and this track is yet another fine example of that most pleasurable reality.
Many will love the consistency of this album, I do. The artist continues that theme with Warm Lasting Embrace, the mantra through this album is restful yes, but there is a warm feeling of creation here as well that needs to be highlighted. This tracks narrative also seems to have a sense of love built into the composition that is so appealing too.
The reassurance of the next piece will leave you feeling deeply moved and consoled; it’s called Never Alone Again. The comfort that this opus creates is delightful, one could easily imagine sitting at the shore line of a beach in the warming sun, the arm of a loved one encircles you and states, that you will never be alone again; the performance here is sublime and really worth multiple listens.
One of my favourites from the album was Quiet Full Moon, this is music to quieten the restless soul and install the feeling of positivity. Kollwitz has such a sensitive performance style that with each and every note played, you just ease back further into a dream world of pleasure. It’s hard to judge, but for me this was one of the smoothest pieces from the release, for me it creates a vast vista of musical awareness for me to roam within.
As we move deep into the matrix of this dimension created by Michael Kollwitz, we come across an elevating offering called Higher Power. There is an increasing sense of movement within this piece that I found most interesting; it also seems to flow back and forth like the tide, with a sweet energy of harmonic bliss.
Our penultimate offering is entitled The Seven Canyons. The performance here by the artist is simply picturesque and wonderfully blessed. I found a similar sense of movement again within this track, but this time, one that you could visualise that headway being made by flight, or perhaps on the wings of an Eagle.
The last port of call for us is entitled No Hurry, No Worry. Kollwitz has given us plenty of opportunities to reap the rewards of tranquillity that this album brings, and this last piece was another favourite of mine that I could play for hours, you can literally feel the stress falling from your shoulders as you listen to it.
Serenity by Michael Kollwitz is an album that could never have been named better, the peace and calmness of this release brings us a haven of wonderment that we can all delightfully be a part of, and all thanks to the most heavenly and harmonious performances by the artist. Each piece is crafted lovingly to manifest a sanctuary of soft sound for us to bathe in. I thoroughly recommend this album in a heartbeat, may all your nights be long, pleasant and idyllic, and they will be with ease, by embracing Serenity by Michael Kollwitz.
Rating: Excellent
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