Sarah Coponat – “Gleam”
-The tender style of Sarah Coponat’s piano playing has a distinctive feeling. It is emotional and moving. There’s the slightest inclination of breath rising and falling in this recording, which I think fits perfectly. The piece itself seems to take on a life. I love that it gives me both profound relaxation but also stimulates my brain to want to read and write.
DeLange – “San Vincenzo”
-We discovered DeLange relatively recently, but he’s quickly become one of the composers who commands my attention with each new piece. The phrasing on this one is conversational, which does a remarkable job of making me listen. I can’t tell what the character is saying, per se, but I feel compelled to follow. This piece has the potential to be in a film or television show due to its cinematic gracefulness.
Juan Maria Solare – “Three Bridges”
-Solare has become a staple in these neoclassical rundowns. His work always stops me in my tracks. I don’t know where these bridges are or who walked across them to make them so significant, but now I want to know. There’s a story to this piece, like all of Solare’s work, and the chromatic melody pattern soothes my heart. This is one of my favorite neoclassical pieces I’ve heard in years, let alone in early 2020. It’s breathtaking.
Piotr Wiese – “Seven for a secret never to be told”
-Wiese has always been one of the most poetic composers I’ve had the pleasure of covering in neoclassical. This newest piece certainly lives up to that poetic billing. There are almost distinct phrases or sections of the piece. In that regard it’s as much prosaic as poetic; the narrative shifts several times in the short piece. I can’t help but wonder if it’s part of a much larger movement. If so, I want to hear the rest. This is compelling.
Omar Raafat – “The Portrait”
-There are all kinds of portraits, from the quick ones we snap on our phones today to the intricate ones of the Victorian era that required that the subject sit for hours. But a portrait is a picture of a person, an image of a living being, captured for posterity. Raafat’s expressive style includes a small orchestration. It’s the delicate balance that won my heart with this piece. Where it could swell and overcome, the overall piece holds its place on the wall, expressing an image for us to appreciate. This is sweet art.