2009 / Scott Shumaker
Review by Kathy Parsons
Anachronicity is Scott Shumaker’s third release to date, following Prisoner of the Shadows (1997) and Old Vienna (2004). A mostly self-taught pianist, Shumaker’s music has strong classical influences yet keeps its feet firmly in the present. The musical stylings on the eleven original tracks are varied and range from light and playful to dark and edgy, taking us on “a melodic journey through an interesting day.” I love the changing moods and the music itself keeps blowing me away, so I will make Anachronicity my first “Pick” of 2010. It truly is a joy to review albums like this one that communicate such a joy in making and playing music!
We begin this “interesting day” with “Morning Fog,” a somewhat mysterious piece that has no hard edges and never stops swirling - an inviting opening that hints at the musical delights that follow. “First Light” is very gentle, peaceful, and hushed, and conveys a sense of optimism for the new day. “Thinking of You” is a tender, heartfelt love song. “Frozen Sun” is one of my favorites. The opening theme is almost mournful and achingly beautiful. As it develops, a second theme enters that has a the left hand deep in the bass of the piano and is much more playful. The themes alternate, ending with the graceful first theme. I hope Scott Shumaker has plans for sheet music for this one! “Medley in F” has a flowing almost Baroque quality and lots of nimble finger work - beautiful! “Country Ride” is perhaps the most classical piece of the album - charming! Going somewhat darker, “Nightfall” is more introspective and searching. “Moonlight Lullaby” is calming and soothing, as a lullaby should be - lovely! “Dead of Night” is a reprise from Prisoner of the Shadows. It’s a great piece, but the sound quality is a little harsh - possibly due to a different piano from the rest of the album. I love “Dream Waltz,” the closing track. It starts out as a flowing minor key waltz, gaining momentum as it goes and adding some playful bass clef passages that add a touch of humor. This piece also sounds like great fun to play. Sheet music?? My fingers are itching again!
Anachronicity is a great choice if you like piano music that is contemporary yet has classical structure and form. I have thoroughly enjoyed reviewing it and hope to hear more from Scott Shumaker in the not-too-distant future! Anachronicity is available from CD Baby.
January 4, 2010