2020 / ToneWork Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
Time Redefined is an exceptional solo piano album by German composer and multi-instrumentalist Gerhard Daum. I have reviewed a couple of Daum’s previous albums, but they were not solo piano. I absolutely loved Rural Renewal (2017) and Songs Without Words (2019), but Time Redefined just became one of my favorite albums of 2020. Subtitled “New Classical Piano Music,” I can hear hints of Erik Satie, Frederic Chopin and some of my other favorite classical composers as well a strong atmospheric quality that comes from years of writing soundtrack music for films and television in both Europe and the US. The twelve original piano solos on the album were recorded live on a Steinway D grand piano in Berlin. Daum’s music tends to be very open, spacious and melancholy, communicating deep emotion from one heart to another. It is not flashy or showy, allowing the expressive quality of his music to tell the stories rather than a massive flurry of notes.
Time Redefined begins with “Adagio for Piano,” a very slow (the definition of “adagio”), reflective piece that sets the tone of the album. (There is a beautiful video of Daum playing this piece on his website as well as on YouTube.) “Lost in Time” makes me think of Satie’s music and how he expressed so much with so little - a very haunting piece and one of my favorites. The nostalgic “Room of Memories” is quite a bit lighter and more melodic as it conveys feelings of introspection and of looking back. “Intermezzo” seems to express loss and deep sadness, perhaps working through those feelings late at night at the piano - another favorite! “Time Circle” has a freely-changing rhythm that speeds up and slows down, going in something of a rhythmic circle. An “Hourglass” provides another way to keep track of time, and the piece with that title is dark and mysterious, moving slowly. A poignant look back in time, “Remember When” could be expressing regret or deep longing for what used to be. Daum says so much with a minimal number of notes and chords. “Pearl Dance” has a magical, sparkling quality that is simply beautiful. “Nocturne” is my favorite track on the album with a very spare melody that reminds me of Chopin’s Prelude in E Minor in places. Dark and deeply emotional, it brings this superlative album to a quiet close.
Time Redefined is my favorite of Gerhard Daum’s albums that I’ve heard so far. If you like the spare, evocative style of composers like Ludovico Einaudi, be sure to listen to this album! It is available digitally from Amazon and for streaming from Apple Music/iTunes and Spotify. Very highly recommended!
December 6, 2020