2020 / AVAF-Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Legendary harpist Andreas Vollenweider’s Quiet Places is his first new release in ten years, and the best news of all is that it is the first of a trilogy of new albums (Slow Flow and Dancer to follow). Vollenweider has also written his first novel, Reflection of Venus, to be released in the near-future. In addition to Vollenweider on harp and piano(!), Quiet Places features cellist Isabel Gehweiler and drummer Walter Keizer. The music is varied with influences from all over the world and what I find truly remarkable is that all ten tracks are thematic improvisations.
With an extraordinary musical career spanning more than 40 years, Vollenweider released his first album, Eine Art Suite in XIIIteile in in Switzerland in 1979. In 1981, Andreas Vollenweider & Friends gave their first concert at the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival. The following autumn, the album Behind the Gardens - Behind the Wall - Under the Tree was released, delighting critics and audiences alike. Since then, “Vollenweider” has become synonymous with a completely original sound. World tours with sold-out audiences everywhere followed, as did many awards, accolades and more than 15 million albums sold worldwide.
Quiet Places opens with “Pygmalion,” a poignant and deeply emotional retelling of the Greek myth about an artist who falls in love with one of his sculptures, who then comes to life - a beautiful beginning! “Polyhymnia” is a loving tribute to one of the nine Muses, the goddesses of music, song and dance. Gehweiler really pours her heart into this one, making it a favorite! I also really like “The Pyramidians,” a light and graceful piece that very effectively demonstrates the beautiful contrast between the silky-smooth cello and the plucked strings of the harp. On “Entangled,” Vollenweider switches from harp to piano for a passionate musical conversation with the cello - gorgeous! “Come To The Quiet Place” features the trio in a more smooth-jazz vibe - very free and relaxed. “Venus In The Mirror” seems to be telling a sad tale through the voice of the cello - very heartfelt and touching! “Bella Smiling” has a warm and easy groove sure to brighten anyone’s day. “Wandering,” a second duet for piano and cello, is another favorite with its passionate interaction between the two artists and their instruments. “Sculpture” is the most rhythmic and upbeat of the ten tracks, expressing joy and a lighthearted playfulness that really soars. Love it! “Fields of Blue” begins as a flowing, graceful harp and cello duet that takes off mid-way through the piece with a short but explosive Flamenco passage, cools off and returns to the peaceful theme of the beginning, bringing the album to a close. What a ride and sure to be one of my favorite albums of the 2020!
Quiet Places will be released on October 2, 2020 and will be available as a CD, on vinyl and as a download. It is currently available for pre-release sales on Amazon.
September 9, 2020