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Album Review: Now the Silence
Juan Sanchez
Cover image of the album Now the Silence by Juan Sanchez
Now the Silence
Juan Sanchez
2020 / Juan Sanchez
41 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Now the Silence is the second full-length album from Spanish pianist/composer Juan Sánchez and follows his 2019 debut, Rebirth. A mix of solo piano and ensemble works, all ten of the tracks were released as singles before they were compiled into one very beautiful and evocative album. The music for Now the Silence was inspired by the importance of solitude and quiet time. Sánchez explains: “Like everyone else during the COVID-19 pandemic, I was forced to be locked at home and spend some time away from others. After the experience, I can only stress the importance of what it means to take some time out and reflect on things from both a mental and spiritual perspective. As Jalaluddin Rumi said: 'Listen to the silence. It has so much to say.'” (quoted from Sánchez's website).

As he did on Rebirth, Juan Sánchez recorded the pieces on several different pianos, most of which are acoustic grands; he used virtual una corda pianos on two tracks. Other instrumentation includes violin, cello and wordless vocals. Not surprisingly, there is a wide emotional range in the music, but it is never despairing or without hope. Although it's only January, I think this will be one of my favorite albums for the year! I can't say that I have any specific favorites on this album - they are all expressive and beautifully done!

Juan Sánchez started playing the piano at the age of 14 and developed a deep passion for making music and art. He played in bands for about ten years before moving to London to study music and technology. In 1999, he began creating ambient electronic music and has been composing for multimedia and sound libraries ever since. Troubling self-doubt began to dissipate when Sánchez discovered the music of Max Richter and Ludovico Einaudi. Coupled with self-development courses and very positive feedback from his listeners, Sánchez is now ready to take his place as one of the prominent artists in the neo-classical/ ambient genre - and very deservedly so!

Now the Silence begins with "Very Young Old Man," a tribute to Sánchez's piano teacher. “I was 20 years old and he was 80 years old. I was amazed, as I’d never seen so much energy and enthusiasm in a person of his age." Crafted with love and gratitude, it's a wonderful beginning! "Luz de Luna" ("Moonlight") begins very quietly as a piano solo, gradually adding velvety violin by Jessie Morgan. The piano almost sparkles in comparison to the strings, creating a magical, dreamy effect. The title track is a delicate piano solo that seems to suggest being lost in thought - hypnotic! "Alma" is a deeply moving piano and cello (Yoed Nir) duet - one of my favorite instrumental combinations! I love the contrast of the silky strings and more percussive piano, and this piece is a real beauty! "Tolworth" is a haunting, atmospheric piece for piano and two female voices (no lyrics) - gorgeous! A second piano and violin duet, "Idyllic" paints a picture of a peaceful landscape. I visualize a meadow of wildflowers and a warm spring sun, enjoying some quiet time in nature. "Blue Nights" brings this wonderful album to a close with a poignant piano and cello (Miriam Wakeling) duet. Heartbreakingly sad yet soothing and peaceful, it will leaving you yearning for more music from Juan Sánchez!

Now the Silence is a musical work of art! It is available from https://juansanchezmusic.info/, Amazon, Apple Music and streaming sites like Spotify. Both thumbs up!
January 20, 2021
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