Light on the Water
2008 / New Piano Age Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Light on the Water is one of two solo piano CDs released simultaneously by Timothy Cooper (the other is East Winds). Dedicated to the victims of 9/11 and recorded on a concert grand piano, the nineteen pieces on this album are improvisational compositions that are introspective, a bit on the dark side, and very intimate. Where the pieces on East Wind were mostly very short, these are somewhat longer and more developed, with time to explore the various themes that involve nature and aspects of the human experience while reflecting on the events of that fateful day. Each of these freeform gems is unique yet becomes part of a beautiful whole, creating a mood that stays fairly consistent throughout the album. Most of the music is on the quiet side with no flash or harshness although some of the harmony is unusual in places. Several of these pieces have more energy than those on East Wind, but none of them is flamboyant. Somewhat edgy and deeply personal, Timothy Cooper brings a fresh new voice to the solo piano genre.
The CD opens with one of two versions of “Worldscapes,” a piece with a gently rocking rhythm on the left hand and a more improvised, freeform right hand. Both peaceful and questioning, it’s an auspicious beginning. “Solar Nights” is very atmospheric - mysterious with a feeling of vast open space. “Soundings” is one of my favorites, exploring a variety of musical moods that are mostly calming, but become stormy and dark in places. “Curve of Madness” is more turbulent and agitated, as its title implies, but is beautiful in its own way. “Open Soul” is one of the more melodic pieces, beginning with a whisper and building with the variations on the melody - richly compelling. “A Quiet Urgency” is more energetic, but doesn’t lose the peaceful mood of the album. The title track is another favorite with its grace and hypnotic flow. (There is a music video of this piece on Cooper’s website www.new-piano-age.com.) “Glad Sorrows” reflects the strange mix of emotions we all felt in the weeks following 9/11. I also really like “Ribbons of Starlight,” a gorgeous piece full of longing and hope. “Advent” is a lovely theme for that most-forgiving season of the year. Pensive and intimate, it brings the CD to a quiet close.
Light on the Water is excellent from start to finish. Edgy and experimental, this is music captured at the moment of its creation, inspired by events that changed all of our lives forever. It is available from [www.new-piano-age.com], amazon.com, cdbaby.com, and iTunes. Recommended!
June 7, 2008