is pianist Stanton Lanier’s fourth album to date. The first three recordings were self-produced (I haven’t heard them), but this one was produced by Grammy Award winning Will Ackerman, who was also the founder of Windham Hill Records. Calling himself “Pianist of Peace” and his foundation “Music to Light the World,” Lanier’s melodies have spiritual inspiration and he incorporates scripture into his liner notes to explain where the music came from. However, he also states that his desire is for listeners to enjoy the music for itself and for them to receive a sense of peace and hope. Most of the thirteen tracks are solo piano, but two include vocals by Noah Wilding and two are piano and cello duets with Eugene Friesen. The recording was done at George Lucas’ Skywalker Sound Studio, so the sound quality is exceptional. Drawing from a variety of human experiences and emotions, the music is both deeply personal and universal. Most of the songs are on the quiet side, but a couple are more energetic and joyous, which adds a nice contrast.
The CD begins with “Secret Things,” a gentle and very melodic piece with a warm and peaceful flow. The title track is stunning in its simplicity and clarity. Quietly searching, one feels a strong sense of hope and peace. Gorgeous! “All Things” has a contagious energy and was originally improvised for an audience of middle and high school students. It is very joyous and free. “Resting” returns to quiet simplicity with a soothing a deeply relaxing piece that has a lot of open space between the notes. Another real beauty! “Peace” was composed in memory of a young child who died of leukemia. The first half of the piece is like a music box lullaby - sweet and delicate - and then the piano goes deeper and the ethereal voice of Noah Wilding comes in, suggesting an angel watching over all of us and bringing us peace. I love this one! “Freedom” becomes more energetic, describing how the human spirit finds true freedom through serving others in love. My two favorite tracks are the cello and piano duets. “Tears of Lament” explores the times of sadness and mourning that happen in life. Eugene Friesen’s cello takes us deep within the pain of loss without becoming melodramatic or maudlin. Wow! “Eternity” is an invitation to a peaceful place, for Lanier a welcome home to heaven. In this piece, the cello is more poignant than sad. Both of these pieces are standouts.
is a very soothing a beautiful CD that can take you to a peaceful and gentle place and give a sense of renewal. It is available from stantonlanier.com
, cdbaby.com, and amazon.com. Recommended!