Six New Piano Pieces Full of Passion
Guest Review by Rachel Bearinger
There is something about the familiar sound of a piano that makes it one of the most popular and recognizable instruments in the world. It’s no wonder that so many musicians of all ages are drawn to it, and why some of those musicians make the decision to use it to create music of their own. Below are six new neoclassical piano pieces that are brimming with the kind of passion we love here.
Roberto Fusco Di Maso – “Lives”
This pleasant solo piano piece opens with a sensitive, high statement of the melodic theme with sparse harmony. Then, it moves assuredly down to create a comfortable foundation for growth. As the piece progresses, well-placed suspensions and resolutions conjure feelings of contented sighs and familiarity. We feel a strong crescendo into a stronger, passionate middle section that gradually recedes back into the innocence and comfort of the opening. This is a solidly-composed piece that I imagine would be difficult for anyone to dislike.
Jesse Brown – “Adrift” and “Floating”
“Adrift” immediately hit me with a sense of earthiness. This bluesy little statement, while concise, holds onto the listener from the first note to the last. I particularly enjoy the careful microphone placement which picks up all the “extra” sounds of the piano, such the hammer strikes and key movement.
“Floating” strikes a balance between minor and major tonalities. The minor opening feels mysterious with its careful use of chromaticism, and freely moves into a major key. Back and forth the piece moves between minor and major, bringing to mind the ways that difficulty works alongside the lovely parts of life. The subtle addition of low strings adds a new layer of dimension, and a similarly intimate microphone placement retains the same effect as in the previous piece.
Meg Blumberg (feat. Shawn Williams) – “Flightless”
In “Flightless,” Blumberg and Williams collaborate with piano, strings and auxiliary sounds to create their visceral musical world. The piece conjures intense feelings of longing, perhaps for the composer’s home or for a place they have always wanted to explore. The tempo drives without being hurried, until the closing where the listener is treated to a 40-second winding-down and eventual release from this world. The final chord feels uncertain yet full of poignant meaning.
Jean-Michel Blais – “roses”
Blais’ musical story opens with solo piano repeating a singular note. We move into a freely moving, uncommon chord progression with added synthesizers, creating an ethereal feeling. This piece is in no way black or white; the push and pull of the tempo and unexpected chord choices mix into consistent grey areas, which are where the most beauty lies. All-in-all, the contents of the story are left up to the listener’s interpretation, all the way to the same repeating single-note rhythm that opened the piece, leaving us to wonder if the story will ever truly end.
Piotr Wiese – “Valse Mélancolique”
This melancholic waltz communicates tangible pain. As a music-maker myself, I know how cathartic it can be to write music about what makes us uncomfortable or sad, and to listen to music in the same vein that others have created. This piece reminds the listener that they are not alone in their feelings, and perhaps provides a bit of hope when the A section returns once again in the closing. This is a piece probably best heard in contemplative solitude.
Rachel Bearinger is a writer and composer of her own original folk music. Find it by searching her name on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, and the like.