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Album Review: Spring Equinox Piano Meditations
Richard Shulman
Cover image of the album Spring Equinox Piano Meditations by Richard Shulman
Spring Equinox Piano Meditations
Richard Shulman
2024 / RichHeart Music
61 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Pianist/composer Richard Shulman has released dozens of albums in a variety of instrumental and vocal combinations, but Spring Equinox Piano Meditations is a collection of ten soothing solo piano improvisations and is the first of four planned albums that honor the solstices and equinoxes. Trained in both classical music and jazz, Shulman has developed a heartfelt musical language, focusing much of his output on music for meditation, healing and inspiration. In addition to the recording, Shulman has created music videos for all ten tracks that are a lovely blend of live performance and footage of some of the beauties of spring. (The videos can be viewed on YouTube and Shulman's website.)

Quoting Richard Shulman from the liner notes of the CD:

"Since the turn of the millennium I have been playing mostly improvised concerts to honor the solstices and equinoxes on the Kawai concert grand piano in the Prayer Dome of the United Research Light Center in Black Mountain, NC....On the night of the Winter Solstice, in December 2022 I was facing some dark thoughts, wondering if I would ever record again. In the midst of these thoughts I realized that I was perfectly prepared to crystallize the music I'd been playing on the solstices and equinoxes into a four-album series of piano meditation recordings."

Spring Equinox Piano Meditations is a very impressive start to that project!

The album begins with "Light Increases," a 13 1/2 minute meditation that is very peaceful and open, making great use of the damper pedal to create an atmospheric feeling of calm. "Spring Melody" is slow and graceful, making me think of the movement of daffodils in a gentle breeze or the warmth of the sun on the skin after a long winter. "Colors" seems to cover a very broad spectrum of tints and shades from delicate pastels in the upper end of the piano keyboard to deep, rich reds and purples in the bass. "Letting Go" could refer to a number of things, but the track with that title is quiet and serene - obviously very much at peace. "Healing Spirit" provides something of a massage for the mind, easing away stress and tension with grace and reassurance that all will be well - a favorite! My favorite track on the album is "Peace Flowers," another quiet beauty that brings to mind images of flowers nodding their heads in a gentle spring breeze as they brighten the world with their colorful presence. "Blessing" is a quiet prayer set to music - very peaceful and calm. "Resting in the Light" brings the album to a close with feelings of optimism, hope and renewal. Warmth and tranquility flow gently from every note of this lovely piece, making it almost as soothing as a nap in the sun! Ahhhhhh.....

Spring Equinox Piano Meditations is one of my favorite albums from Richard Shulman and is a very welcome break from the turbulence and stress of today's world. It is available from Shulman's website, Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes, and many streaming platforms including Spotify. Check it out!
March 18, 2024
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