2011 / Valley Entertainment
Review by Kathy Parsons
eQuinox is the long-awaited fourth solo piano release from Swiss composer/pianist Ralph Zurmühle. If you are familiar with his Our Mother (2007), Communion (2003), and/or Between (2000), you can understand why this is an exciting event! Zurmühle has been composing music for film and multimedia for quite some time in addition to recording his CDs, and his music says so much with so little. Composed with a process that combines improvisation with revision and development, Zurmühle’s music comes from a very deep place within. Although his music is often very spare and sometimes ambient, Zurmühle has an incredible playing technique that he uses in ways that serve the music best rather than to show off or impress. It comes as no surprise that artists from around the world want to collaborate with Ralph, as he is a master himself. There are no weak tracks on this album (there are ten), and it is very likely to be on my list of favorites for 2011.
eQuinox begins with “Picnic in the Desert,” a lovely piece reflective of the two years Zurmühle and his wife lived in Arizona (USA). Performed at a relaxed and easy pace, the piece suggests a spiritual experience rather than simply an outdoor meal with friends. “Auld Lang Syne” and “Shenandoah” are two traditional folk songs that Zurmühle arranged for solo piano. Both were arranged with wistful, dreamy moods that suit the songs perfectly. “Mediterranean Suite” is a stunning 9+ minute piece that evolves gradually, telling its story in soft spoken, haunting tones as well as with powerful drama. “Serenade” is a graceful love song that comes from a place of tenderness and passion. “The Beacon” appeared twice on Zurmühle’s debut, Between. It appears here as a new “2010” version, updated and expanded by about three minutes. “Horses” has a slow, flowing melody played over a more energetic left hand, suggesting spirit and freedom. “Epitaph” is another 9+ minute piece, this time very dark and overflowing with feelings of grief and loss. The spaces between the notes are almost as powerful as the notes themselves in this piece, and the emotional impact is overwhelming. “Sonora In My Heart” is a beautiful love song to the desert. Full of longing and cherished memories, Zurmühle bid farewell to Arizona before returning to Spain earlier this year. What a great album!
Whether or not you are familiar with the artistry of Ralph Zurmühle, do your ears and heart a favor and check this one out! It is available from Valley Entertainment, Amazon and iTunes. Very highly recommended!
May 9, 2011