2021 / PCM
Review by Kathy Parsons
Ambient Tuesdays is a collection of eleven original pieces selected from Peter Calandra's video series with the same name. The music was remixed and mastered for the album, and the sound quality is stellar. Known for his wide-ranging musical stylings for television programs and film soundtracks as well as for recordings of his original compositions, the music on Ambient Tuesdays includes neo-classical, ambient, electronic, orchestral, jazz and more. Some tracks feature the piano and some are more keyboard-oriented. I have been reviewing Peter's music since 2013 and think that this album most clearly demonstrates his versatility as a composer and musician. Calandra's refusal to be boxed into just one or two music genres is something I truly appreciate and admire, and Peter Calandra is a one-of-a-kind musician and artist. He is also known for conducting and playing the piano and keyboards for many Broadway and Off-Broadway productions that include Miss Saigon, Les Misérables, and The Phantom of the Opera.
Ambient Tuesdays begins with "Ambient Tuesday" (not a typo - the album title is plural and the track title is singular). This piece starts out with a very ambient introduction, but then a catchy rhythm enters and takes the music in a different direction. Adding and subtracting layers of sound and instrumentation brings a lot of variety to the piece and gives the album an intriguing start! "New Renaissance" is much different with a very spare piano lead gently tinged with string washes. As the piece progresses, the piano becomes fuller and more complex, receding near the end and fading out. "Overlook Morning" is both orchestral and ambient, suggesting the peaceful stillness and soft colors of a new day. Near the end, there is a short livelier segment that suggests the world is waking up. "Rainy Mood" is a favorite. Calm and slightly melancholy, the piano has the lead but is again very spare and open, almost dreamy. "Walking the High Line" is intense and visual with a wide variety of themes woven together to tell its story. Strings, piano/keyboard, percussion and electronic effects dazzle! "Quiet Romance" is a beautiful piano piece with light strings in the background. Slow, graceful and heartfelt, it's a favorite. "Your Story" takes on a more symphonic complexity by combining passages that are delicate and gentle with ones that are bolder and more powerful. "Matriarch Suite - Prelude" blends string washes with a jazzier-sounding instrument much like a sax - a really interesting juxtaposition of sounds and styles. "Matriarch Suite - Postlude" continues with the same instrumentation as the "Prelude" and a somewhat "bigger," fuller sound while staying peaceful and calming.
Ambient Tuesdays is a wonderful exploration of some of Peter Calandra's many musical facets. It is available from Amazon and Apple Music/iTunes as well as streaming sites like Spotify. If you are new to Peter's music, this is a great place to start, and longtime fans will not be disappointed!
February 2, 2021