2019 / Andy Iorio
Review by Kathy Parsons
Awakening is the third album from pianist/composer Andy Iorio following After the Rain (2010) and II (2015). Iorio also scored the 2014 short film, The Perfect Color. He earned a BA in Music with a focus on Composition and Film Scoring at The Berklee College of Music and now serves as Musical Director for the Department of Theater and Dance at Union College in New York.
Each of the ten original tracks on Awakening has a one-word title that refers to a step or experience in this journey we call “life.” The instrumentation is predominantly piano, but there is also a very strong and emotive string section that adds drama and tonal color to the beautiful and evocative music. Iorio describes the album himself:
“Awakening is about finding the strength within yourself to rise above. Whether it be mind, body or spirit, we all have an awakening at some point in our lives... finding the strength from your own personal journey to become the person you are meant to be. So many will challenge you, oppose you, try to dim your light. This will come from a stranger or even someone you know... or thought you knew. As hard as it may seem to overcome these challenges, always choose love over hate. Look deep inside yourself and believe that you are enough. There is only one ‘you’ in the universe... one spirit. Don't ever be afraid to be who you are, to shine your light as bright as you can to help those who are lost find their way home. The notes speak as loud as my heart... That is where this album was born.”
What an incredibly important and timely message this is for people of any age, culture or background!
Awakening begins with the thoughtful and reflective “Ascend,” a piece with a steady piano rhythm and poignant strings. “Reflection” picks up the tempo a bit with an expressive and energetic piano solo. The title track has a similar energy with a big string section supporting the piano and making it soar. We have all had times in our lives when we felt “Adrift” with no purposeful sense of direction. This piece is intense and expresses a circular motion. “Faded,” the second piano solo on the album, seems to be looking inward, searching for a clue to where to go next. “Reverie” is also a piano solo, but is much more upbeat, moving ahead optimistically. The strings return on “Arise,” again sending the music soaring skyward. I can picture dancers expressing joyful triumph to “Release,” one of my favorite tracks on the album. I also really like “Bittersweet” and the way it so eloquently conveys that emotional mix of sadness and acceptance - it could be perfect behind the credits of a powerful movie. “Solace” brings the album to a positive close with a sense of resolution and forward motion.
Andy Iorio’s goal has always been “to engage, inspire and underscore the emotional connections between people and to compose music that speaks a universal soul-stirring language that…resonates within all of us.” He has succeeded well with Awakening. The album is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.
May 15, 2019