1998 / One World Media, LLC
Review by Kathy Parsons
Piano Solos is David Stellmach’s very impressive debut recording of original piano solos (duh!). A full-time occupational therapist in New Jersey, Stellmach is also a photographer who has samples of his black and white photos as well as his music on his website. (I might add that the photos are as impressive as the music! Wow!) Most of the ten compositions are relaxing, but this is definitely music of substance (as opposed to ear candy). Stellmach’s song titles are also really creative, and I’d love to know the stories behind them.
The CD opens with “Black Box,” an energetic piece that swirls and dances, even though the mood is bittersweet. “Higher Kitchens” is one of my favorites, and I would certainly enjoy knowing where this title comes from! One hand plays a mysterious pattern that really moves while the other carries a simple but evocative melody mostly in the bass. In the last section of the piece, the motion is replaced by chords with lots of open space between them and then just sort of trails off at the end. A great piece! “Helene’s Song” is more subdued and reflective, and also very beautiful. Stellmach effectively uses open spaces between segments of the piece, perhaps to create a portrait of various aspects of his subject’s personality. “Warm Sunrise” is a sparkling, abstract vignette. “Riding the Waves” is another favorite with its energy and exuberant rhythm - this one reminds me of Brian Kelly’s music. As the title implies, “Suspended” has a feeling of weightlessness and of floating easily and comfortably. Somewhat more melodic than some of the pieces, I really like the mood of this piece. “9th Floor Goodbye” is both agitated and wistful - an odd combination that really works. Ending with a major chord provides a subtle surprise as well as resolution. “Snowfall In Colorado” is one of those wonderful pieces that just kind of drains the stresses out of your mind and body. Leisurely and peaceful, it’s a perfect close to an excellent album.
Piano Solos is a delight from start to finish, and I hope we’ll be hearing more from this artist soon! Recommended!
August 22, 2006