Emotions of the Heart
2008 / Bruce Smith
Review by Kathy Parsons
Pianist/composer Bruce Smith has released another stellar collection of twelve original piano solos and two original arrangements. One of the most passionate prolific composers out there, Smith has released more than twenty CDs since 2001, all of them excellent. I think Emotions of the Heart is the best of Smith’s albums, going deeper emotionally and relying on expression to tell his musical stories. With his incredible playing chops, all of Smith’s music sounds effortless, no matter how complex. If you are new to Bruce Smith’s music this is an amazing album, and a perfect place to start!
The CD begins with “Music’s Mystery,” a gorgeous piece with a simple, poignant melody and an arpeggiated left hand that never stops moving. Very dark and haunting - a great beginning! There are two versions of “To My Love” on the CD, and I think this is my very favorite of Smith’s hundreds of pieces. He sent me a single CD of this piece several months ago, and I just kept playing it over and over. The passion is incredible, conveyed with a simple, haunting melody over a series of repeated left hand chords. This piece should become a classic! The “alternate” version uses rolling chords in the left hand, giving a very fluid, flowing motion to it. Both versions are exquisite! (Any chance of some sheet music, Bruce???) One of the arrangements is a charming take on the classic “Spinning Song” by Ellmenreich. Smith plays the main theme and then improvises on it - sure to bring a smile! “Tides of Sorrow” is almost wrenching with its emotional honesty. Quiet and introspective, it’s another favorite. “Teton Moments” is very slow and introspective, conveying a religious spiritual inspiration in the main and closing themes and a more upbeat and lively middle section. “From the Inside Out” is almost hymn-like. The second arrangement is a beautiful version of David Gates’ “If.” Flowing and elegant, Smith truly makes the song his own. The title track is a bit more classical, again conveying deep emotion and passion. “To Be Mine Forever” is pure romance set to music. The closing track, “An Austrian Moment,” is a little lighter in mood in the first movement. The second movement changes to a minor key, making it more melancholy, and then returns to the major mode to end with a gentle, sweet smile.
Bruce Smith has become one of my top favorite composer/pianists, and his music needs to be heard. Emotions of the Heart is one gorgeous album, sure to be on my Favorites for 2008 list. Give yourself a treat and check it out at cdbaby.com. I give it my highest recommendation!
April 22, 2008