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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
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Other reviews from The Sounding Board by R J Lannan:
  Life by Michele McLaughlin, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 7/6/2017
  Americana by Doug Hammer, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 6/13/2017
  Art by Matthew Mayer, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 6/13/2017
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Art
By Matthew Mayer
Released 9/6/2016
Art tracks
1. Charlie's Lullaby
2. Frere Jacques
3. Art
4. Row, Row, Row your Boat
5. Love
6. Brahms' Lullaby
7. Bloom
8. Lavender's Blue
9. Sweet Dreams (Dreams V)
10. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
11. Little Feet
12. All Through the Night
13. Good Night
Art us usually a medium, but this time it comes in
Pianist Matthew Mayer released his tenth album, Art. There have been many lullaby albums circulated in the last two years, this one is different. The fantastic cover art designed by Lisa Falzon shows a child falling through the imaginary world of dreams, and Mayer brings this scenario to life in his music with vivid color and strong musical textures. Matthew has strong composition skills and a sense of whimsy. They combine into a delightful album suitable for all ages. Art, the title of the album has several connotations. It is not just the word itself, but all its manifestations. In this case, it is a person, a place and a thing. Emphasis on is.

What begins as a simple waltz turns into the definitive adventure in the story song Charlie's Lullaby. Matthew creates a dreamscape full of ponies and cowboys, salamanders and pine cones and sunshine and seashells. The tempo is easy to remember, the dreams even more so.

The title tune, Art was one of my favorites on the album. It had a feel as if it were a theme song from some friendly family type TV show. One in which the world is good and kind, where people get along and children are loved, always.

Mayer includes lots of the standards of the cradlesong set like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Brahms's Lullaby, and All Through the Night. These are offered with a warmth and skill, but it is the other lesser known songs that are nexus of the recording. I particularly liked the tune Bloom. It is very gentle, like morning's first light. Pastoral, like as if carefree were the word of the day. Soft, like the glassy beads of dew on flower petals. Watch the flowers and you’ll see a miracle.

Sweet Dreams (Dream V) is another notable song where lighthearted fantasy plays the main role. The one, two, three cadence is inviting and the dulcet melody is lyrical in the sense that it may some classical roots buried below the theme. There is a hurried pace in the tune Little Feet. I understand it. The difference between a child's stride and an adult's is sometimes immeasurable. Sometimes adults have too much purpose, point A to B being the main one. But little feet are like bumble bees in the garden. They like to hear and there and back again. They like to sample everything within their world and the taste is oh so sweet.

Good Night is the stuff that dreams are made of. Quiet, drifting, untroubled moments are the qualities that make up this final tune. The stars are coming out, the prayers are being said and the little yawns begin in this sweet nightly ritual. As a parent you almost do not want to say the words, "Good night", but then you know that sweet dreams are the blessings that every parent hopes for.

Art is thirteen contemporary piano tunes that should be played on a nightly basis. Matthew Mayer, a veteran of the piano world, began his career at the age of twelve. His first lesson was the beginning of a rather unique love story. Perhaps, that is what this album is really about. Perhaps it is an album full of love stories.
Rating: Very Good +   Very Good +
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 6/13/2017
 
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