Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Works for Solo Piano By Eric Chapelle & Michelle Schumann


Works for Solo Piano


Eric Chapelle & Michelle Schumann

Written by

Steve Sheppard


A little solo piano treasure came my way this November day, a morning where the sun bathed my senses through the curtains of a misty window, and the tones of this new brilliant work fell like dusty fragments of the day ahead. The new creation is entitled Works For Solo Piano and has been manifested into this reality by composer Eric Chapelle, he himself a fine pianist on the world stage, and the performer and pianist Michelle Schumann, a Professor of Music at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, it would turn out that this is a sublime coalescence of genius.

The release is a twelve track compilation of wondrous pieces, from the very opening composition one can feel and see the imagery of Place in Landscape (Baga Beach), a testament to its greatness could be that it took me five repeating plays before I felt I could move onward, Schumann’s performance was so compelling, and this cleverly crafted composition is sublimely penned by Chapelle to give the listener a true vista of an ambient yet stunning location to enjoy.

Moments of artistic clarity fell like autumn leaves from this tree of sound and timbre, mournful compositions like First Light built with a slow intensity but great purpose, whilst narratives like (Fall) Leaves falling on a gray day emphasised the aforementioned statement even further.

This album excels in many ways, but more so for the structures of compositional creativity and intelligence, and the simply delightfully technical masterpiece of presentation from a pianist that touches the keys with such a charming sense of nuance and expression. Tracks like Place in a Landscape, a fluent and splendid eight plus minutes of a sublime ambient classical repose, and is both inventive and crafted to a delicious perfection, whilst offerings like Reflection No. 1 are a dream filled reverie of calming tone, shade and quality.

There is a corner of musical pleasure for everyone here, pieces like the explorative Contemplation from a Distance, which would be one of my personal favourite tracks; I adore Schumann’s performance here, both artistic and knowledgeable in its desire to roam the hallways of ambience with an open mind, and our concluding offering Dusk to Dawn, an utterly evocative piece, one so redolent of the subject matter.

Works for Solo Piano by Eric Chapelle & Michelle Schumann is without doubt worth the three years it took to complete the project, in my view this is one of the finest examples of technically sublime contemporary solo piano with an artistic flair that I have heard for nearly 20 years, this is the style of solo piano that I could listen to on repeat for days, and as such I urge you to open your hearts and minds and explore the sheer genius of Works for Solo Piano by Eric Chapelle & Michelle Schumann.

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