Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Top 25 Albums for April 2018

TM LM PKArtist Name Album Title
1 81 Nouveau Papillon Enchantment Blooms
2 - 2 Michael KollwitzSerenity II
3 - 3Joseph L Young Every Moment
4 - 4Nitish KulkarniListen 
5 4 4 Michael Whalen  Kiss The Quiet 
6 5 5Trine OpsahlAdd Colours To My Sunset Sky 
7 10 7Peter Kater ft. Peia LuzziShe
8 - 8Terry Lee Nichols & Rebekah EdenWe Have Only Come To Dream
9 - 9 Symphonex Orchestra Music That Tells A Story
10 - 10Pamela Whitman & Richard Kurtz Ancient Vision
11 13 11 Johann JohannssonThe Mercy
12 14 12 Mari SamuelsenNordic Noir
131613 Heidi BreyerMoonlight In Empty Rooms
14 18 14 Brian Kelly Tomorrow's Daydream
15 25 15Oscar Pascasio Sensaciones 
16 -16 Vicente AvellaRising
17 - 17 Richard Dillon Terra Incognito
18 - 18 Neil PattonSolitaire
19 - 19 Mark DunnMelodic Voyage
20-20 Dan Kennedy Mountains Made of Shadow,
Anthems Made of Light
21 1 1 James Asher & Arthur HallDrum Distillery 
22 2 2 Terry Oldfield & Soraya Temple Moon
23 66Valerie Romanoff Healing Music, Volume 2
24 19 19 Michael LogozarStarlight 
25 20 20Lynn Yew Evers Sunset Breeze

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Spotlight: Moonlight in Empty Rooms by Heidi Breyer

Music and imagery have long complimented and even depended upon one another, with both artistic expressions often enhancing the perception that one has upon the other. Titled Moonlight in Empty Rooms, the latest album by pianist-composer Heidi Breyer beautifully embodies this wonderful creative synergy. Inspired by the fine art of acclaimed painter Alexander Volkov, the album is comprised of twelve pristinely elegant and emotionally reflective compositions. Each piece is accompanied in the liner notes by one of Volkov’s gorgeous paintings, while Breyer is joined throughout by distinguished violinist Charlie Bisharat, who lends an additional classical element to the compositions. Both Breyer and Volkov wrote the album’s poetically beautiful liner notes, while the album itself was produced by Breyer, Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton, with Eaton having engineered, mixed and mastered the final recording. Also included is a DVD of music and paintings that can be further appreciated in tandem.

The opening piece, “Unfinished Conversation”, seemingly begins like an ending, or perhaps that of picking up at some point from where having left off. Wrapped in a sentimental poise, the lovely composition is tenderly carried along by the graceful pairing of piano and violin – each lingering note like a gentle brushstroke upon an aural canvas. The next couple of pieces, “Autumn Snowfall” and “Autumn in Bruges”, make for a lovely pair – both rendering sonically their respective paintings that are detailed in the liner notes. “Autumn Snowfall” – a composition centered upon the seasonal transition of Fall to Winter – conveys a more contemplative, solitary mood – while “Autumn in Bruges” comparatively relates a feeling of personal interaction and romantic companionship with its serenading semi-waltz motif.

The album’s title piece, “Moonlight in Empty Rooms”, is a pinnacle moment of compositional beauty and emotional expression. One of my favorites, I especially love the wistful touch of the violin which beautifully compliments the flowing dynamism of the piano, as the piece ebbs and flows with alternating currents of languor and liveliness. Transitioning into the Spring season, “Eastertide” aptly captures a sense of joyful peace as sparkling notes convey sunshine rays and blossoming fields. The following piece, “Rainy Day”, feels both contemplative and leisurely, with its languidly-paced piano and solemn procession of violin.

Another favorite composition is the second-to-last track, “Faith”, which is also the lengthiest at just over eight minutes. A song of searching and steadfastness, this distinctly classical-flavored piece is comprised of four variations that give it a metamorphosing and journey-like quality. Likewise showcasing some of Heidi’s most impressive piano work, cascading keys are brushed lightly by tender violin throughout – ultimately resulting in a memorably heartfelt and prepossessing composition.

Cozily intimate, romantic and even nostalgic at times, Moonlight in Empty Rooms is a calmly introspective album that feels connected to the home and its immediate surroundings of seemingly quaint towns and natural countryside. In addition to Heidi Breyer’s own compositional gifts and command of the piano, Charlie Bisharat’s enchanting performance on violin takes these lovely pieces to another level of appreciation – with the marriage of these two instruments proving all that was needed to make musical magic happen! ~Candice Michelle

For more information please visit the artist's website. This album is also available at Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby and Google Play.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Spotlight: Beautiful Song by Anne Trenning and Friends

Beautiful Song is the fifth album by instrumental pianist and composer Anne Trenning. Comprised of eleven piano ensemble pieces spanning approximately thirty-nine minutes, the album highlights a talented team of musicians along the way who variably contribute instruments such as violin, flute, accordion, cello, flugelhorn, saxophone, guitar, mandolin and percussion – with familiar artist names including Bill Leslie, Jeff Oster and Ciro Hurtado. Six of the compositions are originals written by Anne Trenning while the other five are renditions of classic tunes by artists such as Neil Young, Maurice Jarre and others.

The album opens on a welcoming bright note with the title piece, “Beautiful Song”, which features a sweetly melodic ensemble led by a duet of piano and violin. Perfectly capturing the radiant warmth of a noonday sun, romantic and classical elements are laced with Celtic overtones, as the lovely composition waltzingly graces along to a gentle sway.

My favorite song on the album is the Santana cover, “El Farol”, which possesses a Mediterranean-style elegance. This romantic piece immediately stands out with its pristine infusion of Spanish guitar and flowing piano, of which aptly conveys a low-key lounge feel – like that of experiencing a nocturnal breeze on the seashore. I’m also particularly fond of the more reflectively tender “Do I Hear Christmas?” – an original composition which features accompanying cello and flugelhorn that appropriately lend the piece a subtly forlorn touch. Also noteworthy is “Miller Gap”, which showcases both Celtic and renaissance musical elements. It's of the cheeriest songs on the album, featuring a festively classical assortment of piano, strings and Celtic flute. Likewise intriguing is the Darrell Scott cover, “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive”, which feels evocative of an old-west saloon with its characteristically country and western style piano-to-rhythm motif.

Closing out the album on an inspirational note is the minute-long Chris Rice cover, “Go Light Your World”, which features a sentimental blend of piano, strings and saxophone.

A most charmingly elegant album comprised of classical-infused contemporary instrumental music, Beautiful Song seemingly takes its listener on a quaintly scenic tour across both European and American countryside. I especially enjoyed the colorfully instrumental variety among the compositions that each guest musician contributed along the way, as well as the album’s balanced offering of both sunnily uplifting melodies and peaceful moonlight serenades! ~Candice Michelle

For more information please visit the artist's website. This album is also available on Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby and Google Play.