Dusk To Diamonds
2021 / Timothy Wenzel
Review by Kathy Parsons
Dusk To Diamonds is the ninth album from pianist/ keyboardist/ composer Timothy Wenzel and is a collection of twelve stories without words told through the medium of instrumental music. The motivating force behind the album was winter: "All my creative energies come out when I am alone in my warm studio, at night, while the winter blackness outside is particularly uninviting: cold rain, clouds, snow and ice. Sadness, joy, love and dreams also contribute." (quoted from Wenzel's website). Co-produced with Corin Nelsen, guest artists include Graham Cullen (cello), Jill Haley (English horn, oboe), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Josie Quick (violin), Vicki Smith (spoken word) and vocalists Sarah Joerz and The Teenangels. Instrumentation and the styles of music vary from story to story, piece to piece, but overall, the music is thoughtful and peaceful. It is interesting to note that Wenzel composed all of the music, took the album's photographs, and designed and finalized the artwork. Oh, and he also played piano, keyboards and synthesizers! I have thoroughly enjoyed Timothy Wenzel's previous albums, several of which have won awards, but I think Dusk To Diamonds is my favorite so far.
Dusk To Diamonds begins with "Ghost," one of my favorites. It starts with a sparkling piano pattern that runs through most of the piece. Graham Cullen's cello is especially effective on this one, as is Josie Quick's violin. The title arose from the experience of creating the music very late one night when the melody came quickly and seemed to be channeled from another source - perhaps a deceased composer. It's fascinating to hear the various themes and how they weave together so beautifully! "Opening" is a dreamy trio for piano, violin and English horn. It came about when Wenzel was reminiscing about West Virginia, giving the music Appalachian overtones - very relaxed and peaceful. The title track refers to evenings when Wenzel photographs the sky just as the first stars appear. "The magical moment is when one horizon is still faintly lit while the other is becoming very dark and the stars are shimmering like jewels. Dusk to Diamonds." (quoting Wenzel). Magical and mysterious, it's another favorite. "Our Stories" is more ambient and begins as a mournful duet for cello and violin before the piano enters and makes it a deeply poignant trio. "Enchanted" is a tribute to the the gods and goddesses that wander our world. Piano, oboe, cello and violin create an "enchanting" quartet on this beautiful piece - also a favorite. The title for "Dance of the Dead" sounds a little morbid, but it's another favorite with its dark atmospheric sounds, cello, percussion, keyboards, ethereal vocals and Vicki Smith reciting a poem by Wenzel - haunting and mysterious yet very soothing at the same time. The album comes to a warm and gentle close with "Walking So Sweetly," for piano, keyboard, cello, English horn and violin.
New music (and artwork) from Timothy Wenzel is always a treat, and Dusk To Diamonds is no exception. It is available from Amazon, Apple Music/ iTunes and streaming sites like Spotify.
April 15, 2021