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Album Review: The Exiled Heart
Thomas Cunningham
Cover image of the album The Exiled Heart by Thomas Cunningham
The Exiled Heart
Thomas Cunningham
1998 / Spirit Rain Music
67 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Exiled Heart is pianist Thomas Cunningham’s debut album. All of the pieces are original and solo piano. Cunningham’s pianism is solid, and his style often reminds me of Michael Jones’. Pieces range in length from more that 12 minutes to a minute and a half, so there is a spectrum of development. The shorter pieces tend to sound more structured and composed, and stay generally within a melody line; the longer work has more improvisation and extemporization. "I Found Her In Ireland" finished in the top ten in the instrumental category in New Age Voice magazine's annual competition, and is currently getting a lot of airplay. “Heartland” is one of the longer pieces, and brings to mind the wide-open feeling of some of George Winston’s and Philip Aaberg’s pieces about Montana. “The Exiled Heart” has a bouncy Celtic rhythm and almost smiles for the first couple of minutes; the second movement is much darker and more abstract; the third theme is once again upbeat and optimistic, becoming somewhat more introspective as it develops - an epic poem set to music! “Ruth” and “Gene” are loving tributes to Cunningham’s parents, so the sources of inspiration are varied, and even include a ghost! “Surreal Fantasy” is my favorite track, and is dark, mysterious, and complex. It shows Cunningham's’ skillful playing at its best, and demonstrates his range of playing and composing styles - at once bold and classical, and then gentle and flowing. A simple melody weaves in and out, and then melts into an improvisation. This is a very interesting piano album, and should strongly appeal to fans of more-improvised than structured piano music. The Exiled Heart is available in stores and on Thomas Cunningham’s website: www.spiritrainmusic.com.
January 1, 1998
This review has been tagged as:
Debut Albums
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