Preview: Appalachian Dances
2023 / Tim Neumark
Review by Kathy Parsons
Preview: Appalachian Dances is a two-track EP by Tim Neumark that features two short pieces (about 3 1/2 minutes each) for orchestra. Inspired by and similar to Dvorak's Slavonic Dances, the "Preview" part of the title means that the EP is a taste of a full album that will be released in the future. Quoting Tim:
"These tracks were recorded by real musicians from around the world, with Doug Hammer doing the mixing. The eventual full album release (which could be years away!!) will have all tracks recorded by a live orchestra, including a re-recording of these two."
Known primarily for his original solo piano music (he has released nine full-length albums), Tim has released several orchestrated singles since 2020. All of them have been exceptional, as are these two "Appalachian Dances." Very classical in styling, both pieces feature a full symphony orchestra - or at least a complete set of instruments that includes strings, woodwinds, brass and more. The orchestrations are lush and full, and the sound quality of the recording is excellent. This is a great "Preview" of what promises to be a very exciting full-length album down the line a bit.
The first of the two dances is "Appalachian Dance in D Minor," which begins with a short intro with oboe and bassoon before the strings enter and send the piece soaring. The music really feels like a swirling, colorful dance, building energy as it evolves.
"Appalachian Dance in G Minor" also features all sections of the orchestra. The piece is somewhat darker than the "D Minor" dance, beautifully expressing drama and passion. Like the first track, it begins quietly and builds throughout the piece, giving each section of the orchestra a chance to really shine.
Preview: Appalachian Dances is available from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites such as Spotify. Both thumbs up!
April 25, 2023