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Picture of Time


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 Visitor Recommendations



Mainly Piano





Dutch composer Silvard released this great CD in 1995. It features piano as the dominant instrument, and is fully orchestrated. There are nine tracks, and all bar one are originals. The CD runs to just over forty minutes in length.

It opens with the beautiful "Ecstasy"- a track composed for the wedding of Silvard's brother. This piece is full of optimism and has a celebratory feel to it. As with all the tracks featured on this CD, the melody is very catchy, and it makes for a strong start to the disc.

However, this is not just a one hit CD; this disc is full of highlights from start to finish.

The second track, "Voices in the Wind", has a haunting and fairly sombre feel to it, although it is very beautiful. The tempo begins very slowly, and soon the female voice of Sophia Roberts can be heard with wordless vocals. I don't normally like this sort of intrusion, but it works very well on this track, especially with the lovely accompaniment of Mary Alice McCann on cello. As the piece develops, the tempo increases and becomes more positive in nature.

"Resolution" has a gorgeous melody, and a nice rhythmic feel to it. Again, the cello makes an appearance and combines to great effect with Silvard's impressive piano playing. I really enjoy listening to this piece.

"Honshu Sunrise" definitely has a Japanese feel to it, and features a beautiful, gentle melody to capture one of nature's wonders. I'm impressed with the versatility of the composer, as a range of themes can be heard on this CD.

The fifth track on this CD is the only non-original piece. "Romanza" (composer unknown) will be instantly recognisable to many listeners, but Silvard's working of this piece gives it an extra quality, and it really is a highlight of the CD.

"Ocean Voyage" is dedicated to Silvard's mother, who sadly passed away in 1992. Surprisingly upbeat, this suggests to me the piece is a celebration of her life as opposed to a mournful, reflective piece. It is a lovely piece to which to listen.

The seventh track, "Part Ti" (dedicated to Maria) is yet another highly-melodic piece on this CD. This again features various accompanying instruments, which enhance the soaring melody.

"Heartfelt" is the penultimate track on the disc. As with all the pieces on this CD, this is upbeat, and has a catchy tune. This is "feel-good" music. The addition of Tim Gilmore on drums is quite prominent on this track, but they in no way detract away from the piano, which remains the key instrument all through the disc. In many ways, although the music is definitely uplifting, it also has a relaxing feel to it as well.

My undoubted favourite track on the CD is the final offering- "Rainstorm". This is also the lengthiest track on the disc, clocking in at nearly seven minutes. It begins slowly, but the listener will be under no illusions- this is definitely the calm before the storm. Soon, the rain does indeed arrive, but the pianist never loses the structure of the piece, and it remains a controlled opening of the heavens! I particularly enjoyed Silvard's use of glissando to symbolise the rain falling. This track is full of energy and vivaciousness. The track fades out gradually, to reflect the ending of the storm. I never tire of this track, and it is a real highlight for me.

I am very impressed with "Picture of Time". It remains consistently strong throughout, and makes for a very pleasurable listening experience. Beautiful melodies envelop the disc from start to finish, and the the orchestration really enhances the beauty of the piano playing. What also makes this CD so original and interesting, is the variety of the music contained within the disc. One minute, one is meditating to the Japanese sounding Honshu Sunrise, the next, one is swept away by a rainstorm!

Also worthy of mention is the fascinating cover-art (right): a painting by John Stevens. I notice something different every time I look at it. It is very M.C. Escher in style. To Silvard, it had an instant appeal as he felt in captured the key moments in his life. In the notes, he says it was "love at first sight... Not only is it a beautiful painting, it also depicts the different phases and aspects of my life: the harbour scene reminds me of my birth-place- The Hague. The harpsichord symbolises the role of the piano in my life, the ships sail the ocean in search of knowledge [Silvard teaches Biology in Boston]- the shells were the reason I left my home country to study marine biology in the USA, and the different clocks serve as a reminder that things are always in a state of change, and that time connects all of life's phases. This painting is truly a picture of time."

Silvard ("I have seashells in my blood, and music in my soul") is clearly a talented composer and pianist. Having started taking piano lessons at the age of ten, he has gone on to release several albums through his own website (see bottom)- and "Around the World in 88 Keys" is due for an imminent release. I have virtually all his CDs, and this one is a stand-out to me. The pieces are played on a Steinway Grand.

Overall, this is an excellent CD. Very highly recommended!








Picture of Time: