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Album Review: Redemption
Paul Spaeth
Cover image of the album Redemption by Paul Spaeth
Paul Spaeth
2013 / Spaeth Music, Inc.
50 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Paul Spaeth released his first album, a piano and orchestral CD called Cobalt Blue, in 2001, when he was still a teenager. At 17, he premiered his first orchestral piece and then entered the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music for composition and film scoring. Since then, he has written music for film, TV and video games as well as the eleven tracks for his new album, Redemption. Composed over a ten-year period, Redemption expresses a young man’s personal experiences of life and love, coming of age, and finding one’s truth. Seven of the eleven tracks are solo piano and four feature Tina Guo on cello or Christopher Luther on violin. This intensely personal music has been described as soothing and healing (physical, emotional, and spiritual), but it is also simply great music expressed with deep passion and an exquisite piano touch. It gives me great hope for the future of music that young artists like Paul Spaeth can carry the torch and keep their music a pure art form rather than simply a business proposition. This is an amazing album and one I fully expect to be one of my favorites for the year.

Redemption begins with “A Lifetime Spent,” a gorgeous piano solo that powerfully expresses a whole range of emotions with passion and intensity. Breathtaking! “To Say Goodbye” is much more introspective - a bit of musical soul-searching. I expected track 3 to be a piece about rain, but it is titled “Reflections.” A bit more abstract and free-form, it has a very haunting quality. “Prelude to a Lullaby” is a duet for piano and cello that provides a gentle massage for the soul. It segues into “Lullaby for the Mending Heart,” also for cello and piano, and just as relaxing as its Prelude. “The Moment After” is my favorite track. Very spare and subtle, it conveys so much with so little. Something profound has happened here, and the music expresses tremendous loss and longing - and a naked, personal truth. “A New Beginning” lightens the mood considerably with feelings of hope and the anticipation of a fresh start. The melody is simple, but sincere and honest. I really like this one, too! “Amazing Grace” follows as a duet for violin and piano. Very slow and earthy, this well-worn nugget shines as brand new. “Passage” can mean many things, but in this case, the piece is almost celebratory with a gospel tinge, gathering energy as it evolves and ending with excitement and perhaps triumph. “This Is Our Faith” is a gorgeous duet for piano and cello, sharing deep from the heart and revealing the soul at its most honest and vulnerable. Incredibly moving and another favorite. The title track ends the album with a piece that is both dramatic and tender, again expressing a personal truth.

Redemption is an emotional powerhouse, but is never over-the-top or overly sentimental. This is music that needs to be heard, and I hope to be able to spread the word to help give Paul Spaeth the audience he deserves. Redemption is available from www.paulspaeth.com, Amazon and iTunes. I give it my highest recommendation!
September 21, 2013
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Kathy's Favorites: 2013