2022 / Sandrose Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
Antiques is a collection of twelve original piano solos by Austrian composer/pianist Gerald Krampl, a classically-trained musician whose life-long music career has included two prog-rock bands starting in the 1970s, a music and poetry project with his late wife, music for films and web presentations, and neo-classical/new age solo piano. The motto for this album is "Pure piano, pure music" and Gerald describes it as "twelve somehow 'old fashioned', classically inspired tracks, associated with memorabilia and episodes of past times. Intended to take you on a voyage to the memories of these bygone days." Antiques is actually a continuation of Gerald's 2021 album, Singularities, which was nominated as "Best Classical Album of 2021" by SoloPiano.com and was licensed to Stomp Music for a special release in South Korea. Antiques was also inspired, in part, by "deeper listening" to the songs of Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann and Gustav Mahler, something made possible by the lockdowns of the pandemic and more available time to explore those works. The twelve tracks on the album are varied in style and mood and were recorded and mastered at Gerald's home studio in Vienna on his specially-made Feurich "Vienna" piano. Each piece seems to tell a different story, with most of them incorporating several themes and melodies to describe scenarios and memories, and Gerald's very personal reactions to them.
Antiques opens with "Family Portrait," a beautiful piece that expresses a range of emotions from dreamy and nostalgic to bright and lively - a great beginning! "Diary" is more introspective, expressing a variety of thoughts and feelings, and weaving them together to create a tapestry of sounds. As its title suggests, "Mirror of Loneliness" is much darker, expressing feelings of sadness and loss. Much of the melody is very lyrical and could easily support words, but words are definitely not needed to get the emotions across. "Forsaken Chambers" begins with a wistful, dreamy theme that feels nostalgic as it recalls a time in the past. The middle section is brighter and livelier, and then settles back into reflection, trailing off at the end. "Pierrot" overflows with joy and happiness, suggesting a lively, swirling dance that could lift your spirits and make you smile even on a gloomy day! "Once On a Carriage Ride" conveys the feeling of a very pleasant adventure, perhaps a hundred years ago, out in the countryside in a horse-drawn carriage, enjoying the scenery and fresh air. "Postcards From Nowhere" is an intriguing title and I really like the piece it goes with! Something of a graceful, poignant waltz, it could be about looking at old photos or reminiscing or even a bittersweet daydream. I also really like the rapidly-flowing "Easter Prelude" and its non-stop movement. The album ends with "Cadenza," a slow, almost hymn-like piece that seems to tell a somber, heartfelt story.
Antiques is another fascinating album from Gerald Krampl and is available from Bandcamp, Amazon, Apple/iTunes and streaming sites such as Spotify. Check it out!
December 9, 2022