One of the things I love about reviewing CDs is that every once in a while a new artist comes along who just takes my breath away. Ezekiel is such an artist. His debut solo recording, the intriguingly-titled Songs of Love and Hate
, is a masterpiece of orchestrated pieces that revolve around the piano. Currently residing in Ireland, Ezekiel hopes to record this music with a full orchestra at some point, which could be as astounding musical experience. A classically-trained pianist from an early age, Ezekiel plays a number of instruments and has collaborated with other artists on various projects. As the title implies, the sixteen original compositions on Songs of Love and Hate
convey a broad range of emotions that are expressed with strong classical influences. The music is passionate, colorful, and very alive. It is also accessible and welcoming rather than overly intellectual and daunting. In a nutshell, this is one very powerful and exciting new artist, and this is one great album!
The opening track, “The Sea,” begins with a flourish on the piano that will immediately grab your attention. After that, a series of rolling arpeggios on the piano convey the dark power and energy of the ocean. As the piece develops, it becomes more orchestrated, but the piano continues to provide the fast-moving momentum behind the strings and horns. An impressive beginning! “Loss” goes much darker. The mood is tragic and mournful, but the music is stunningly beautiful. “You” is a tender and warm love song. In the first three tracks, we’ve already experienced a wide range of emotions! “My Heart” is intimate and deeply personal - calm yet deeply passionate. “Christmas Baby” appears twice - first orchestrated, and later as a piano solo. I love this piece with its boundless joy and energy. As its title suggests, “Tranquillo” is peace set to music - a musical sigh. “I also really like “Deranged,” which is pitch black and frighteningly ominous - it would be great in a movie since the music alone can give you chills. From there, we go to the gentle yet mysterious “Making a Wish,” which is a little more abstract - a fascinating piece. “This Love” is one of the longer pieces (a little more than seven minutes), and is something of a daydream. Warm and contented, the music floats along with flutes and strings expressing deep emotions. “Hymn” is a beautiful piano solo that is majestic, reverent, and comes from the heart. “The End is the Beginning” is another longer piece and is very symphonic. Dark and dramatic, it is performed as a piano concerto and is one of the many highlights of the album - an emotional powerhouse with a surprise ending! “Epilogue” swings the mood back up to a peaceful and blissful one, and then the album closes with the solo version of “Christmas Baby.”
I can’t say enough about how excited I am about Songs of Love and Hate
. It is currently available only on Ezekiel’s website, so do yourself a favor and check it out at www.artist-ezekiel.com
! Sure to be on my favorites list for 2008!