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Album Review: The Other Life I Dream
Timothy Crane
Cover image of the album The Other Life I Dream by Timothy Crane
The Other Life I Dream
Timothy Crane
2004 / Timothy Crane
56 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Pianist Timothy Crane’s debut CD is a gorgeous collection of orchestrated piano instrumentals. Several of the ten tracks have a big, cinematic sound, evoking a variety of emotional responses from the listener. All but one of pieces are original compositions, and the “cover” tune is almost a dance remix of the Bach Prelude 1 in C Major. The orchestrations are rich and lush, and the piano is the highlighted instrument in all of the music. There is a strong classical influence, but I also catch fleeting glimpses of Yanni, Bruce Hornsby, John Barry, and other pianist/composers. Timothy Crane says the the music was “designed to lift the creative spirit and to provide a symphonic soundtrack to the lives of every listener,” and I would say the he has succeeded exceptionally well. It is easy to let instrumental music slip into the background, but music this beautiful should be savored and enjoyed to the fullest.

The CD opens with the title song paired with a piece called “Redemption.” At ten and a half minutes, this lovely piece has time to unfold leisurely. Poignant, with a feeling of longing, this could easily go with a movie’s closing credits. The pace picks up as “Redemption” comes in, giving the last few minutes of the piece a joyous sense of triumph. “Denise’s Waltz” swirls in a dreamy, blissful dance. The peaceful strings at the beginning of “The Poetic Fields” give images of a panoramic view of a quiet valley or untouched landscape. The piano comes in with a haunting melody enhanced by cello, oboe, and flute. As the full orchestra joins in, so does that cinematic sweep of gliding over wide open spaces and feeling free. I really love this piece! “Love Is/ Was Like” is light and breezy with the warmth of a happy daydream. “Winter Snow/Valley Rain” is another favorite. Peaceful and very atmospheric, you can almost feel a chill from the wind. There is some exceptional piano work in this piece! “Think of Laura As A Child” opens with a beautiful piano and cello duet (one of my favorite combinations!) that is almost mournful, but then segues into a lighthearted piece full of innocence and joy. The Bach Prelude is a trip. The piano stays faithful to the original (or close to it), but the percussion behind it along with shimmering strings and keyboard washes bring it right into the 21st century! I think this arrangement would bring a smile to old JS! The closing track is a reprise of “The Other Life,” featuring oboe, cello, and piano - a great way to bring the CD full circle and tie the music together.

The Other Life I Dream is truly an exceptional album, and promises to be one of my favorites for this year. It is available from www.timothycrane.com and cdbaby.com. Very highly recommended!
June 1, 2005
This review has been tagged as:
Debut Albums
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