Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Impressions by Shoshana Michel

Shoshana Michel
Written by
Steve Sheppard

I have been in a very reflective mood recently, this mirror existence I now have to call home just doesn’t feel like the dimension I used to reside within, so what better place to go than to seek sanctuary, and to do so in music. For me this has become a little easier today thanks to this brand new release by pianist Shoshana Michel and her latest offering Impressions.

The first foot falls take us on the perfect ambience of reflection, in the piece Imagination. The performance here is moving, but also deeply reflective, for me, this is one of those tracks that you might watch the rain trickling down the window pane on a cruel winter’s day, and your thoughts are of times when things were much brighter.

As we move into the next room of music opened by the artist, we come across a piece called Dancing in the Shadows. Firstly I adore the title; it is graphic and allows the mind to create images and day dreams, with this being so, perhaps the piano tells the tale of a lonely ballerina, she glides around the room as if in remembrance of a time long gone. Yes, a piece with a real sense of loneliness and almost mournful in its overall manifestation, which in its self makes it utterly brilliant.

On Quietly, Gently, Peacefully we have a handsome composition that is so beautifully played it is an honour to listen to it, at times almost classical, but on all occasions wonderfully transcendent, and performed with such a classy sense of warmth.

We mentioned the feeling of Loneliness a moment ago, now we can hear the actual sound track for this deeply reflective emotion. From the despair comes a strange beauty, this is called artistic genius, and once more we can hear that within this most mournful of arrangements.

So let’s flip that coin and gaze into Alice’s musical looking glass, where if we look in all the right corners and deep pockets of time, we can see happiness and cheer flowing in abundance. On Joyful Moments Michel has created something quite clever, she has manifested an up-tempo and positive piece, but one that retains the overall energy of the album, and all done with such a cleverly crafted performance on the piano.

There is a place on the album called the fulcrum; we have now reached that point as we touch the half way marker of the release, and as we do so we come across this mysterious yet incredibly colourful opus called Pierrot. Here is a delightful composition, one played with such charm and sensitivity; it’s the perfect segue into the latter half of the album.

Slowly we descend into the deeper realms of this moving release, and as we do so there is a reflective arrangement called Prelude in E Minor that literally demands to be listened to. The fluency here on this piece is so wonderful to listen to, one that flows with such grace into our next offering entitled In My Dreams, one of many favourites of mine from the album, this is a real memory palace of a track, a performance so sublime that is seemed to create a myriad of musical pathways as it progressed.

A peace filled refrain can be found on this next offering entitled Nocturne in E Flat. A 2am in the morning composition, a time when you gaze out at the inky black night sky and wonder at the sheer beauty of the sky above in all its transcendent glory, this is the soundtrack for this moment of magic with ease.

From one moment of time into another, from the mood of the warm days into the realm of mists, as we now listen to the track Summer into Fall. Once more perfectly played to give us the ever eager listener a track of memory, but also of hope, and followed by another magnificent opus called Yearning, a song of a different colour maybe, but the performance on piano is so good, it is like you are being told a tale of an unrequited need by the artist, musical story telling at its best here.

Elegy is our penultimate offering, one played with such respect and professionalism, a piece that borders the dimensions of the classical; it is a requiem to the past, a poem of a heart felt truth, one performed with such delicacy.

So we now have arrived at the final point of departure from the album, this last gift from the artist is entitled Long Ago and Far Away. Any artist will always look for the perfect departing composition for an album, and this is it with ease. There is an anthem like energy about the piece, one that reminds me in compositional style as well to the master David Lanz, and that can’t be a bad way to finish.

Impressions by Shoshana Michel is a collection of memory packed piano arrangements, each one personal to whoever listens to it. Her performances over the years have increased in texture and presentational style, this album is another step up the ladder for her and is an album that will allow each and every listener several moments of reflection and remembrance along the way, a colourful, moving and delightfully enjoyable release to listen to indeed.

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