The Unforgetting Heart
1998 / Real Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Having fallen in love with Michael Hoppé’s The Yearning earlier this year, I was really looking forward to his new release, The Unforgetting Heart. It’s a beautiful album, but I found myself a little disappointed. The haunting and compelling quality of “The Yearning” just isn’t quite there with this one - almost, but not quite. Hoppe’ plays piano and synth, and is joined by long-time collaborator Tim Wheater on flute, and Harold Moses on viola.
The title tune opens and closes the album. It is a gentle, flowing waltz, and the closing arrangement is only slightly different. “So Far Away” is a dreamy, bittersweet duet with Wheater on flute. “Moon Ghost Waltz” is one of the pieces that really works for me. It’s not a complicated piece, but its ethereal quality and flow lift it above the ordinary. “Jude’s Theme” could easily be part of a romantic movie score. “Southern Dreamer” recalls phrases from Stephen Foster’s sentimental Americana music. “Eventide” lowers a deep purple curtain on a setting sun - moody, dark, but very peaceful. “Vanity Fair” was also included on Hoppe’’s “The Dreamer”, and is a little too perky for me - it seems oddly out of place. “Renouncement” is one of the few pieces that prominently features the piano - very quiet and reflective. “Childhood Memories” is mostly flute and piano, and has a very sweet and innocent flow to it. “Fiery Tears” starts out pleasantly, but the flute becomes overbearing, running over the top of the lovely synth guitar melody rather than embellishing it.
In comparison to other albums of this genre, this is definitely one of the better ones. However, perhaps too many cooks got involved this time, losing the simple, heartfelt dynamic that made The Yearning such a classic.
April 4, 1998