Anza Borrego Desert Suite chronicles a day in the life of this desert region in Southern California. Edward Weiss has created a beautiful travelogue in sound with his solo piano impressions and depictions of the desert and its in habitants at various times of the day and evening. The pieces are melodic and serene, but are complex enough to savor many times, hearing something new each time. It is impossible to not mention George Winston as an influence. Winston has composed so much music about the wide open areas of Montana, and Weiss has done something similar here with a location in California. Some of the pieces sound at least partially improvised, giving the album a fresh, spontaneous feel.
The CD consists of nine original pieces. The mood is consistently calm throughout the album, but the pieces are all quite individual, each depicting a different aspect of desert life. “Dawn” is the opening track, and is one of my favorites. The flowing left hand behind the lovely melody on the right gives the piece a feeling of tranquility and quiet. You can almost see the pastel colors of the morning starting to spread across the sky, gently awakening the desert flowers and birds. “Desert Morning” is also very peaceful, but is somewhat brighter and slightly more percussive as the day warms up. “High Noon” is a bit starker, and Weiss effectively uses trills to create a shimmering effect like the hot sun on rocks and sand. “Flashflood” is another favorite with its energy and accents in the deep bass of the piano. “Wildflowers” is a beautiful piece - it is easy to picture the brightly-colored flowers swaying in the breeze - very, very peaceful.
Anza Borrego Desert Suite is an excellent album, and I highly recommend it as a CD to relax with, and to also actively listen to. Weiss’ playing and composing are much too interesting and enjoyable to relegate to background music. The CD is currently available from quiescencemusic.com
or by contacting Edward Weiss directly at firstname.lastname@example.org