Even For a Moment
2018 / Heartdance Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
Even For a Moment is an excellent follow-up to pianist/composer Gary Schmidt’s award-winning 2016 album, Landscapes of the Heart. The fourteen tracks include twelve original compositions and two classical arrangements, some of which are solo piano and some that have additional instrumentation. Guest artists include Roger Schmidt (Gary’s brother) on guitar, Sherry Finzer on flutes and Hannah Alkire on cello. The subtitle for the album is “Piano for the soul,” and Gary’s life mission is “enhancing life thru music.” Both phrases give a good idea of what to expect from this soothing, uplifting music with plenty of substance.
Born and raised in rural Quebec, Gary Schmidt decided at the age of six that he was going to be a pianist when he grew up. Since piano lessons were unavailable in his area, Gary taught himself to play by listening to classical piano music and following the scores. He received extensive formal training in college and has had a full-time career in music for more than thirty years as a teacher, performer and writer. He has performed in Canada, the US, Europe and Mexico. Gary is also an award-winning songwriter.
Even For a Moment begins with “If This Is the Time,” a gentle and relaxed piano solo with a dreamy lilt - a very nice opener! “Inside This River” is one of my favorites. It begins as a bittersweet piano solo, becoming a piano and cello duet. The cello’s dark tones add drama and weight to this gorgeous piece as it weaves in and out of the piano’s themes. Classically-influenced with contemporary stylings, it’s a beauty! “Face That Lights My Face” is a sweet love song for piano and guitar. Simple and from the heart is always a winning combination! “The Breath At Dawn” is a fascinating duet for piano and bass flute. As peaceful as an early-morning sky, the softly-rolling chords on the piano and the earthy flute soothe away any stress or tension! One of the two classical pieces is Kempff’s solo piano arrangement of Handel’s “Menuet in Gm.” Elegant yet poignant and haunting, I’ll be looking for this arrangement! The title track is a much lighter and livelier piano and cello duet. “Crescent Light” is a warm and dreamy piano solo likely to bring a smile of contentment. “The Light Seems to Move,” a sparkling ambient piece for piano and cello, clearly shows Schmidt’s technical abilities as well as his emotive side. Cello colorations that are both bowed and pizzicato (plucked) add even more brilliance to the piece. “No Better Gift” is another favorite, this time for piano and flute. Wistful and happy, it would be a wonderful closing to a sentimental movie as the credits roll! The second classical piece is Barber’s “Adagio For Strings,” arranged for solo piano by Rosen. It’s different from Schmidt’s originals, but fits in beautifully. “Postlude To a Moment” brings this excellent album to a quiet close - a gentle “so long for now.”
Even For a Moment is likely to bring a musical breath of fresh air to anyone who hears it! It is available from www.APianist.com, Amazon and iTunes. Both thumbs up!
September 25, 2018