Memories From A Dream
2005 / Polytropon Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
Memories From A Dream is the debut recording by the Athens, Greece-based duo Honest Touch. Fofi Maniadaki and Samy Elgazzar are both professors of music with extensive music credentials in classical and contemporary music. Fofi is a piano soloist with an elegant, flowing touch. Samy composes and conducts the music, and plays keyboards. Calling Honest Touch a project rather than a band, they are backed by a five-piece band consisting of percussion, bass, and a variety of guitars. Guest artists are violinist Vasilis Garoufalidis and vocalist Marita Paparizou. Some tracks are also backed by the Amadeus Orchestra, Philarmonia Bulgarica, and the Fons Musicalis Choir. This is obviously a big production, and the music is full and cinematic. Seeking to touch the listener in a profound way, the music is deeply emotional and powerful, and yet very soothing and uplifting. One is occasionally reminded of Yanni with the richness of the sound and the obvious Greek influence. Elgazzar’s music is different, though, and his extensive training shows itself in the effortless flow of the music. Nothing is done for “show” or to impress, and each note is full of meaning. Lightweight fluff music it isn’t, but it is still very accessible.
“Prologue: Let Love Soar” opens with the sound of a chilly wind. The piano enters with a bittersweet melody. As the song develops, more instruments join in, allowing the piano to remain the “star” of the piece. Colorful and passionate, this would be a haunting piece at the end of a romantic film. “A Lonely Ride” begins with the sound of a car starting and driving off as the soulful melody comes in. This one really tugs at the heartstrings. “Dancing Under the Moon” is lighter and extremely romantic. Marita Paparizou’s operatic voice is a graceful musical instrument with wordless vocals. “Like the Wind, the Wave, and the Sand” is a favorite. Evoking the peace as well as the turbulence of the sea, it’s a real beauty! “Autumn Tear” begins as a lovely duet for piano and oboe. Strings, bass, and percussion are added, creating a sad mood that enhances the poignance of the piano. Gorgeous! “And a Time For War..!” is a big production piece. It opens with the voices of various politicians speaking, although it is difficult to understand what they are saying (isn’t it always???). The music is passionate and intense. “Luce Lontana” won 1st prize in the instrumental category and 3rd overall in the NCSA Song Contest in 2002. A slow and deeply emotional piece, piano and wordless vocals send it soaring to the heavens. The title track is another favorite. Symphonic and cinematic, Fofi gets a chance to really show what she can do at the piano - wow! This very impressive album concludes with ABBA’s “Lay All Your Love On Me.” Even with the strings and woodwinds, this arrangement really rocks and closes the album with a big smile. Love it!
The CD is for sale at cdbaby.com and amazon.com. Highly recommended!
October 13, 2006