Songs of the Soul
2018 / Anastasia Partafylla
Review by Kathy Parsons
Anastasia’s second album, Songs of the Soul, introduces a more mature composer/pianist whose music expresses emotions and life experiences that are deeply personal yet often shared with much of humanity. Where Reminiscent (2015) hinted at Anastasia’s artistic potential, Songs of the Soul presents her artistry fully realized. The twelve pieces were recorded, mixed and mastered by Joe Bongiorno at his Piano Haven Studio, and Joe’s wonderful Shigeru Kawai has a warm, velvety tone that is perfectly suited to Anastasia’s expressive composing and playing styles. A four-word version of my review would be: I love this album!
Anastasia was born in Germany to parents of Greek descent. She grew up in the US and lived here until a recent move back to Germany. She started playing the piano at the age of five and is classically-trained. She competed and earned awards in many classical competitions throughout her childhood. She started composing at the age of nine and considers her music to be classical crossover (I agree!).
Songs of the Soul begins with “Slipping Away,” an exceptionally poignant piece that was inspired by leaving behind many friends and family as she moved across the country and then overseas, feeling those bonds gradually slipping away. In one of her blogs, Anastasia recounts playing this piece for the people in a hospice home and seeing how profoundly her music affected them, affirming that her music really needed to get out into the world. “Spoken From Within” begins very simply and quietly, expressing a sense of sincerity and openness that continues throughout this gentle beauty. “Like Father Like Daughter” overflows with love as well as a broad spectrum of other feelings - one of my favorites! “Soulful Interlude” is a much shorter piece - possibly an improvisation - with a Greek flavor. It segues into “Entrenched in Roots,” inspired by the influence of Anastasia’s Greek heritage. I love the rhythms in this one! “An Arduous Climb” reflects on a 200 kilometer trek through the Himalayas. The first movement is light and is played mostly at the upper end of the piano keyboard, expressing awe, wonder and a little bit of magic. The second movement is somewhat darker and expresses feelings that are different from the first half - another favorite. “Dancing Together” was inspired by dancing Tango with her soulmate, and passion simmers just below the surface of the notes. “Chimes of Tibet” is different from the other pieces, but fits in with the rest of them just fine. A bit livelier with changing themes and rhythms, it’s a beautiful snapshot of the Tibetan culture. “Soulful Conclusion” brings this excellent album to a gentle close with grace and honesty.
Songs of the Soul began as an effort to create an album “representative of who I as a composer could be” and I truly believe that this album is all of that and more. Love, compassion, fear, joy and a variety of other moods and emotions are expressed in this music, from one soul to another. The album is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
July 2, 2018