Piano-Heaven Award Winner:

Tree Spirits

Eric Harry

Eric Harry Music Limited

 2008

www.ericharry.com

 

 

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If I had to sum up this splendid album by prolific Canadian composer Eric Harry in one word, it would be atmospheric. The music contained within this CD is extremely relaxing and soothing; each track is a melodic showcase of this composer's undoubted talent. It is made even more special by the fact that the album was entirely improvisational- everything was recorded in just one take. I am still getting my head around this fact!

It opens with ‘Silver Stream’, and judging by the titles on this album, nature plays a large part in this pianist's life- it is clearly a source of inspiration for him. What follows is a gentle, meandering piece- extremely graceful and easy on the listener's ear.

I love the slightly haunting opening to the second track, ‘Unrequited’, and the way reverb is used for effect. A simple melody ensues. The music is uncluttered, bordering on minimalist. The exquisite piano playing makes for a delightful listening experience on this track and indeed throughout the duration of the CD.

‘Tiny Icicles’ is a lovely title. The delicate touch on the piano shines through once again. Timing is everything on a piece like this, and Eric Harry shows what an accomplished pianist he is with the graceful way in which each and every note is played.

Track four, ‘Northern Lights’, opens in a curious way with a helping of the glass harmonica before the piano takes centre-stage for another soporific journey, this time into the night sky. As with all of Eric's tracks on this CD, I could quite easily nod off whilst listening to this; they are all incredibly relaxing. The glass harmonica makes another appearance at the end of the piece.

‘Spiritual Passage‘ is the title given to the fifth track on this remarkably consistent CD. It opens with a flurry of notes, reminding me of water. This to me is a happy piece of music, and the music once again shimmers with beauty.

My curiosity was aroused by the opening of the sixth track, ‘Indian Summer’, and what sounded like piano strings being plucked (together with the playing of the glass harmonica). Reference to the back cover of the CD case confirmed this. After a while, normal piano playing resumes, and another delightful melody takes hold before the piece concludes as it started.

This great album's penultimate track is entitled ‘Sunlit Shadows’- yet another reference to nature. In keeping with the rest of this CD, the ensuing music is the ultimate in relaxation. Eric's musical compositions are utterly inoffensive, each one like a delicate butterfly fluttering playfully between Summer's beautifully scented flowers. This is a CD which I just cannot turn off- it deserves to be listened to from beginning to end, and the delightful melodies make it much more than just mere background music.

My favourite track is saved to last. ‘Ice Boating’ has a playful and majestic feel to it, and is melodically gorgeous. It is probably the most upbeat cut on the entire CD, and it feels very spontaneous- almost as if the message given here is to make the most of every moment. Quite where this ice boating occurred only Eric knows, but it feels like a lot of fun was had in the process. As I listen to this piece, I feel the enjoyment the composer clearly gets from playing the piano. Eric is having fun here. I urge the reader to click the play button to the right to hear a sample. A beautiful way to end such a special CD.

The reader might be interested to know that there are actually two versions of this CD- the solo piano one reviewed above, and a symphonic one.

Eric Harry has released a number of other critically acclaimed CDs, including ‘Imaginary Picnic’, ‘The Language of Flowers’, ‘Fly’ and ‘Away, Melancholy, Away’. This was, however, his first CD, and as he rightly says, "I am very proud of this album." He is the founder of the highly successful ‘Calm Radio’, and this Toronto-based pianist has also written lots of music for commercials.

There is clearly a special connection- an empathy- between Eric Harry and his piano. It is as if they are as one. Music as special as this certainly doesn't come around every day, so I urge you to listen to some samples and investigate the work of this gifted pianist further.

A very highly recommended CD. Lovers of relaxing, melodic piano music cannot go wrong with this album.   

S.C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tree Spirits

Eric Harry

Eric Harry

There's something for everyone at Eric's wonderful Internet radio site, including a channel dedicated to solo piano and a channel for piano and instrumentation. There's even help for people suffering from Tinnitus- just click the Calm Radio logo above to find out more.

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To hear samples from this album, click the button below. This will take you to the Tree Sprits page on Eric's website. Scroll down and the samples are on the right. Can I suggest you listen to track eight, ‘Ice Boating’?