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Album Review: Azure: Portraits of Sadness
Edmond Paul Nicodemi
Cover image of the album Azure: Portraits of Sadness by Edmond Paul Nicodemi
Azure: Portraits of Sadness
Edmond Paul Nicodemi
2023 / Edmond Paul Nicodemi
37 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Edmond Paul Nicodemi's Azure: Portraits of Sadness is a collection of eleven piano solos and piano/cello duets (with cellist Rachel Gawell), five of which were released as singles between 2021 and late-2023. Obviously not a happy-go-lucky album, I'm finding that the music provides a lovely soundtrack for looking out the windows at cold, gray winter weather when all you really want to do is stay in and stay warm! Two of the tracks on the album are classical - JS Bach's "Concerto No. 3 in D Minor After Marcello, BWV 974: II. Adagio," which was released as a single in November 2023, and Chopin's "Prelude, Op. 28, No. 6 in B Minor" - the others are original compositions. It's been eight years since Edmond released a solo album, but he's been releasing singles (thirteen so far!) on a regular basis and has also collaborated on several projects with his wife, Carol.

Azure: Portraits of Sadness begins with "Sad Romance," a moody piano solo with rolling broken chords on the left hand and a heartbreaking melody on the right, setting the emotional tone of the album. "Sudden Goodbye" is very slow and introspective, reflecting deep pain and possibly shock at the unexpected departure of a loved one. "Lonely Afternoon" is the first of the piano and cello duets. Released as a single in August 2023, Edmond created the music to express the feelings of solitude during one very lonely afternoon and said that he hopes it will "help to comfort you if you are going through something similarly emotional." "Nothing But Time" was also released recently, and is beautifully melancholy and expressive. The deeply emotional "Desolation" was released in 2021 and conveys feelings of loss and despair. JS Bach's "Adagio" from his Concerto No. 3 is slow and stately and expresses poignance and reflection. It's a piece Edmond has always wanted to record, so I'm glad he was able to do so! Also released as a single, it's a beauty and works well with Edmond's original pieces. "Azure," the title track, is a piano and cello duet and one of my favorites on the album. The flowing broken chords on the piano provide a wonderful backdrop for the mournful cello melody. "Dark Heaven" is very dark, indeed! "Innocent Cry" uses quite a bit of reverb with the piano, creating a shimmering atmospheric effect that works well. I have always loved Chopin's Preludes, and the B Minor one is a favorite, so it's great to have it included on the album. "Sad Reflections," the closing track on the album, was actually the first single released back in May 2021. An evocative piano and cello duet, it expresses a profound sense of loss as well as deep sadness, possibly reflecting on the time of the Covid pandemic - something we can all relate to!

Azure: Portraits of Sadness offers an emotional catharsis through beautiful music with a sense of understanding and empathy. It is also simply a lovely listening experience and can provide quiet, soothing background music. The album is available as a CD and download from Edmond's website, as a download or to stream from Amazon and Apple/iTunes, and on many of the streaming platforms including Spotify.
December 9, 2023
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