2017 / Elias Haddad Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Visions is the second album released by Lebanese pianist/composer/guitarist Elias Haddad. A classically-trained pianist from the time he was a child, Haddad’s original music demonstrates his classical roots tempered with many other influences from a variety of music genres. The twelve pieces on this album are a blend of solo piano and piano with cello - a wonderful and very evocative combination that showcases Haddad’s versatility as a pianist and as a composer. I really like this description from the homepage of Haddad’s website: “He creates music that speaks to the soul and is suitable for relaxation, meditation, concentration, introspection, and imagination. The kind of music that not only fits well as background to motion picture projects, but also as a background to a person's life with all its joys and sorrows.” Just don’t keep this music in the background! Turn up the volume, put your feet up, and enjoy it!
Visions begins with “Falling Leaves,” a gentle yet melancholy duet for piano and cello (Jana Semaan). Gracefully-flowing with feelings of longing, it’s a beautiful beginning! “Last Heartbeats” is also a piano/cello duet, this time expressing deep sadness and loss. “Teenagers in Love” is a much lighter piano solo that beautifully expresses the magic and playfulness of young love. “Alone” is quietly introspective and almost at peace. “Deep Blue,” another piano and cello duet with subtle atmospheric synth effects this time, is one of my favorites with its slowly-swirling rhythm and haunting melody. “Free” is as light and carefree as a spring breeze - also a favorite (solo piano). “Illusions” has an ethereal, dreamlike quality occasionally punctuated by dramatic low notes from the deep bass of the piano. I really like this one, too! “Chasing Dreams” is darker and edgier, but is also very expressive and dramatic. The title track hints at Erik Satie’s influence while creating a mysterious and sometimes turbulent mood. (There is a video of Elias performing this piece in a huge grotto in Mount Lebanon. A link is on this page.) “Dream 6676” is another favorite, bringing back the cello and synth for a more fully-orchestrated sound. Sometimes very delicate and fragile, sometimes swirling and unsettled, it tells a colorful and intense story! “Welcome Home” feels very cinematic and makes me think of a soldier returning home in a flag-draped coffin - deeply affecting. “Eternal Tranquility” is very dark and very spare, closing the album with a somber but gorgeous piano solo with atmospheric synth accompaniment.
Hopefully Visions is the beginning of an international music career for Elias Haddad! The album is available from Amazon and iTunes. Very highly recommended!
January 11, 2018