2012 / Bear Creek Recordings, LLC
Review by Kathy Parsons
Pianoforte is Timothy Crane’s third release, following Dragonfly (2010) and The Other Life I Dream (2004). A lifelong musician who started out in a rock band, Crane calls his music “instrumental pop” and enjoys including an assortment of musical styles in each collection. This group of twelve original pieces features the piano front and center and includes acoustic guitar by Rick Henley and orchestration created by Crane and Jason Rowsell. Like his previous albums, Pianoforte was produced on a shoestring budget by independent musicians “who simply want to create and play music - even if it means recording on the weekends in a basement.” Thanks to technology and Crane’s experience, this does NOT sound like music recorded in a basement or garage. Styles range from quiet and reflective to more upbeat and energetic, making this a really good album for driving, working, or just kicking back and getting lost in.
Pianoforte begins with “What Will I Be?,” a piece that begins quietly with oboe and piano, suggesting a daydream - perhaps a young child staring out a window, lost in thought. As it evolves, the piece becomes fuller and more orchestrated, sounding more like a film soundtrack. “Awaken the Dawn” is quite different with an effervescent piano flourish for starters and a big, powerful orchestra keeping the piece dancing and spinning throughout. “Clear Creek” goes in yet another direction with piano and acoustic guitar (with background orchestration) painting a scene of peaceful respite and reflection. “Untouched” reminds me of the wonder of discovering places that have been “untouched” by civilization - wilderness areas, mountain vistas, remote beaches, etc. Piano, oboe, and orchestra give this piece a range from playful to awe-inspiring. “Disappearing Moon” includes a bold piano part, mandolin (I think!), and full orchestra. The strummed instrument gives the piece a mysterious touch that I really like. “Red Line” is a piece Crane often plays in concert but that had not yet been recorded. One of the faster and bigger pieces, I would imagine that this is a real crowd pleaser live! “Soli Dio Gloria” is by far the longest track at just over five minutes, and feels emotional and personal, like telling about very moving chapter from ones life or giving heartfelt advice to someone close who is hurting - my favorite on this album. “Archetype” is very cinematic and visual with a big sweep and an infectious energy. I really like this one, too! “Stratford Road” brings the album to a peaceful and dreamy close with a piece that evokes nostalgia and longing - also a beauty!
Even though this CD is relatively short at 33 minutes, these pieces are all full and complete. Anything more could spoil the mood. Pianoforte is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
December 17, 2012