Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: Tapestries of Time
Ann Sweeten
Cover image of the album Tapestries of Time by Ann Sweeten
Tapestries of Time
Ann Sweeten
2014 / Orange Band Records
56 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Tapestries of Time is the tenth release from pianist/composer Ann Sweeten. Co-produced with Will Ackerman and recorded at his Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont, this beautiful collection of eleven original compositions features Sweeten on the Steinway B grand piano with several additional musicians adding their own artistic touches. In the liner notes, Sweeten states “The pieces on this album have to do with time in some concept or other. There may be a direct reference, a captured moment, an isolated experience or inspiration drawn from a particular event, the idea of infinity and limitless possibility.” Sweeten has a delicate touch that perfectly expresses the grace and elegance of her music. Although all of the pieces on this album are distinctive from each other, I have found this music to be a wonderful accompaniment to working - and it helped to keep me from tearing my hair out while doing my taxes! It’s the sort of music that is complex enough to listen to many times with full attention yet settles easily into the background while creating an ambiance of peaceful calm. Classically-trained from an early age, Sweeten brings a wealth of experience to her music with her background as a dancer, singer, poet and actress as well as a pianist.

Tapestries of Time begins with “Afterglow,” a gorgeous opening that includes Eugene Friesen on cello and Akane Setiawan on English horn. Tranquility permeates this piece so thoroughly that it can instantly soothe and relax, letting the listener know from the first notes that this is no ordinary piano album. “CAVU” (an aviation term for “Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited”) is dedicated to Sweeten’s father. Andrew Eng joins Sweeten on violin, adding washes of sound that are sometimes soft pastels and sometimes more vibrant and shimmering. “Hypnotique,” a graceful and dreamy solo piano waltz, is one of my favorites. “Ventanas Al Mar” (“Windows To the Sea”) is a shimmering piece inspired by a small hotel in Mexico and features Ackerman on acoustic guitar. “Of Clouds and Dreams” starts out as a piano solo but includes the haunting voice of Noah Wilding as well as Jeff Oster on flugelhorn. “Send Me An Angel” was written for and is dedicated to all laboratory animals from the past and present and was composed from their perspective. Friesen returns to add his poignant cello to this heartbreaking piece that obviously comes from a very deep place in Sweeten’s heart. “The Great Divide” was inspired by a poem she wrote many years ago that refers to the line between childhood and adulthood and suggests that the two are really not so far apart when someone is “careful to keep alive the magical light of one’s inner child!” “Hourglass” is the other wonderful, serene piano solo. “Riversong” brings the album to a peaceful close with a piece that includes Setiawan on both English horn and oboe. If you still feel any tension anywhere in your body at this point, you simply haven’t been paying attention!

Tapestries of Time is the perfect album for relaxing and putting the stresses of the day into their proper perspective. It is available from annsweeten.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
March 18, 2014
More reviews of Ann Sweeten albums
Cover image of the album The Gathering by Ann Sweeten
(contributing artist)
Cover image of the album In the Wake by Ann Sweeten
Review by Kathy Parsons