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Album Review: Enchanted River
Serge Mazerand
Cover image of the album Enchanted River by Serge Mazerand
Enchanted River
Serge Mazerand
2005 / Serge Mazerand
59 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Enchanted River - A Solo Piano Essay is a collection of ten original piano improvisations that include the sounds of water, weather, and various birdsongs and calls, most of which were also recorded by the artist, Serge Mazerand. These nature sounds are at the beginnings and endings of most of the pieces and don’t usually continue through the music. Inspired by the Bulkley River in British Columbia that runs by his home, Mazerand’s music flows easily and gracefully, inviting relaxation and de-stressing or creating an unobtrusive backdrop for a quiet dinner or other calming activity. An avid fly-fisherman, Mazerand is at one with both the river and his piano. Despite the improvisational nature of this music, there is a strong classical influence. All of the pieces are gentle and soothing, and the mood is tranquil and serene, making it ideal for massage and meditation. The pieces are arranged in an order that follows the seasons of a year.

“Time Is a River” opens with the sound of rapidly-flowing water. The piano comes in with a slow and easy bass pattern that reminds me of Erik Satie. As the right hand is added, the sound becomes more contemporary, but the mood is effectively sustained. “Frozen River” opens with bitter wind and the howling of a wolf. The music suggests a frozen stillness and the sparkling reflections in the snow - very peaceful and crystalline. “Messengers of Spring” begins with the sounds of water flowing as geese fly overhead. Warm and optimistic, the piece describes the promises of spring. “Early Morning By the Lake” has an array of different bird sounds, some of which continue in the background throughout the improvisation - perfect peace set to music. Mazerand’s effortless playing is like a musical neck-rub - gorgeous! “Oneness” describes the trancelike state the comes with sitting and watching a river, and how thoughts flow to various times and places, much like the water does. “River Lullaby” has one of the more structured melodies on this CD. Elegant and graceful with a touch of melancholy, this is one of my favorite tracks. “Clarity” brings the cycle of seasons around to Indian summer, when the river slows and becomes even more serene, anticipating another winter. The sounds of the water and geese flying overhead add to the mood, and bring this very effective recording to an end.

If you are looking for an hour of bliss with musical substance, Enchanted River could be an excellent choice. It is available from keystoserenity.com, cdbaby.com, and amazon.com.
February 12, 2007
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