2021 / Michael Martinez Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Divine Heart is the third album from pianist/composer Michael Martinez and follows his 2013 debut, Big Sur Reminiscence and his 2018 release, Asilomar, which was nominated for Whisperings Solo Piano Radio's Album of the Year, as is Divine Heart - and with good reason! This album is stunning. I have loved all three of Michael's albums, but this one shows a maturity in style as well as grace that can only come with life experience and a very open heart. I had the pleasure of meeting Michael a few years ago, and he is as warm and sincere as his music. Still, I really wasn't prepared for the emotional power of this album. I think Michael explains it best:
"My latest album Divine Heart is a culmination of the past 10 years of my creative journey at the piano. The music I composed tells an intimate story of how I searched for an authentic experience, which came in the form of searching for the truest emotion I could express on the piano. Many of these melodies were created unexpectedly and a surprise to me, I considered these rare creative moments a gift from my own inner being. Experiencing these moments allowed me to feel an authentic and timeless love that I yearned for, and I soon realized that my calling in life was to awaken the divine heart that lies in everyone."
Divine Heart begins with "Tender Innocence," the perfect title for this gentle, delicate piece that lets you know right away that this is going to be an exceptional listening experience. "Song For Sol" seems to weave just a few snippets from classical pieces into the silky fabric of the music. Smooth and dreamy, this one glows with warm contentment. The magnificent "The Heart's Desire" begins softly in the upper octaves of the piano - a gentle daydream. As the piece evolves, it gradually builds to a passionate expression of deep emotion that also clearly reveals what a master Michael is of the piano - both technically and expressively. Wow! The title track is delicate and subtly nuanced. Graceful musical lines envelop the listener in warmth and tenderness - so soothing! "I've Always Loved" is a heartfelt expression from deep within - open and very sincere. "Goodbye" beautifully conveys the mix of emotions that can come with the many different reasons for saying "goodbye." "Call of the Universe" feels very still yet very profound, building in passion to the end - an amazing and deeply affecting meditation. I have no idea of what inspired "Rinpoche's Journey," but the music is vibrant and colorful along with passages that are quieter and more reflective. "Veil of Illusion" is heartbreaking. Powerful emotion flows from every note, clearly communicating a very painful experience with more clarity and honesty than words could ever express. Another very big "wow!" The album closes with the mysterious and sparkling "Samscara," leaving this listener both very uplifted and looking forward to revisiting this incredible album soon!
I'll repeat myself here and say that Divine Heart is stunning. Michael Martinez is truly an amazing composer and pianist, and I can't wait to see and hear what the future holds for him! Divine Heart is available from Michael's website, Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes, and streaming sites such as Spotify. I give it my very highest recommendation! Wow!
February 26, 2022