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Sensations by Gabriele Saro
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 12/23/2019
An amazing musical ride
Music of such a nature as this album most certainly is passionate, and literally demands to be listened to, it has that power and intensity to root you to the spot and take you on a musical journey like one never taken before, and this statement perfectly sums up the latest release by Gabriele Saro entitled Sensations.
Morrow starts our sojourn into the realm of Sensations, and what a blissfully crisp, yet melodic opening it is indeed, and to follow that up with the pristine delights of the track Stilness was sublime, there is something about this offering that literally makes me tingle, the violin is sumptuous and the piano is almost David Lanz at times.
Saro himself is extremely multi-talented, his performance on violin on Bliss is something truly to be admired, another offering that has a sensational build and progression, and then within the next piece called Merriment, we hear a careful, almost cautious and mysterious piano performance from Andrea del Piccolo, who takes the master composers work and manifests it into something quite spectacular.
Now it’s time for one of my personal favourites from the album entitled Enchantment. I adored the chord structures here on piano and when the violin joined this dance, a symbiotic partnership was formed that was classically breath taking.
The next piece is far deeper than the previous offerings and the power and intensity of Contrasts is moving, the strings see to that, the imploring build on this composition is incredibly impressive, a performance by the ensemble that is truly wonderful in its musical theatrics. This leads us perfectly into a gentle composition that will glide us towards the half way marker of the album and is called Regrets. As you may expect the energy of reflection and sadness can be found here, but one done so well that it also creates a sense of ambience into the proceedings as well.
We now stand with one foot in the second half of the album and as we do so we come across a piece called Accord. I was intrigued by this arrangement; its illustrious European motifs took me back to my days of studying Film Noir at college, mysterious and passionate would sum up the performance nicely, Saro’s Violin sung to my heart on this piece.
On Torments that delicacy is taken and changed into an ethic of an air of almost desperation, the tones created on this piece were so emotionally charged and beautiful to listen to, another film track quality piece with ease, one that perfectly drifts us into the welcoming arms of this next song called Chills, and another favourite of mine, the violin here was so sensitive in its approach and the Cello delightfully mournful. I found this track so deep and mesmeric in quality, I have a feeling that I may well be visiting this opus of genius many times over.
The purposeful posture of this next offering was quite clever in its approach; a colourful and empowering narrative on piano was gifted to us with the emergence of the track Nostalgia. Then the most breath-taking magical moment of all, as Saro’s violin stole the show with a deft and emotive performance, one that would leave any listener with a tear in their eye.
The charming sense of a truly sun kissed performance can be found on the composition entitled Gracefulness, and one that reminded me of Spain’s Oscar Pascasio at times. This is one of the most stylish and lush performances on the album, one that is impossible not to like and leads us gently, but happily into the following offering called Delicacy, a track which works so very well with, and after the pervious piece. Yes there is a somewhat intriguing fragility to this song, but it’s not an offering that is frail, the performance on piano is beautifully confident, and when the violin enters its increases the depth of the piece completely, to emphasise the artistic endeavours of the ensemble to a level that is so very smooth and classy indeed.
The penultimate offering of our musical sojourn into the works of the Gabriele Saro ensemble is called Liberty and once more is a personal favourite of mine, the timeless performance on piano and violin were outstanding, and would build into a splendid progression that would literally allow the piece to burst free from its chains in an illustrious moment of musical liberty.
However the big finish would be brilliantly achieved with this final composition entitled Serenity. A crafted flourishing narrative started the piece, but one that soon danced with the pomp and circumstance of the piano, the violin gave us the feeling of achieving a great goal, and manifested a truly clever and masterful way to leave the album.
Sensations by Gabriele Saro was an amazing musical ride, the partnership of Saro on Violin, Andrea Del Piccolo on piano, and the talented Francesco Pinosa on Cello, were the team to make this dream of an album become a reality. Each of the pieces on the release were beautifully performed and with such heart and passion too, it’s hard to see this album not being appreciated by fans right across the many genres it will most certainly touch.
Rating: Excellent
Santa Plays the Stick by Michael Kollwitz
- posted by R J Lannan, Artisan Music Reviews on 12/10/2019
Santa Plays the Stick
Michael Kollwitz
Santa Plays the Stick

Michael Kollwitz, a veteran of more than two dozen recordings, releases a traditional Christmas album called Santa Plays the Stick. Kollwitz plays the Chapman Stick, a device that looks like a long, fat electric guitar without a body. By tapping on the strings, it issues a unique electronic sound that reproduces chords and note simultaneously. Kollwitz’ music is fifteen tracks of traditional Christmas fare without jingled bells and with some very merry tones. It is light, cheerful, and there’s even some jolly in it.
With a tiny echo of synthesizer, Michael starts out with Away in the Manger. A warm, cozy piece of traditional comfort. Nothing better than when Michael takes a melody and goes off on a musical tangent as he does in this one. The next song is a Kollwitz original called A Pile of Presents. You can imagine the snow from the night before piled up outside the door, the tree decorated with care and love, and those gifts for all. The next track is one of my favorites. I Saw Three Ships is based on a 17th century English carol. Could they be three silver boats from Bohemia or three desert ships known as camels conveying worshippers to pay respect to the birth of Jesus Christ?
Snow Ride, another one of Michael’s own tunes, is happy and uplifting. The snow swirls all around, but the trek through the woods is a contrast of green pines and white drifts. It is a happy time for one and all. My absolute favorite on Santa Plays the Stick is his original tune called December Wedding. For me, the music represents “winter music” in where the artist transforms the beauty and quiet of winter into a marvelous, joyful tune. Kollwitz has done this and I hope he considers many more of these. And yes, any couple would be proud and pleased to walk down the aisle to this tune wintery tune.
We Three Kings is a sedate, but respectful song with just a tiny bit of swing in the tempo, but it comes out like a medieval piece for some reason. The familiar refrain, “Oh, star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright,” reminds us of many things greater than ourselves. We need only believe. The final tune on the album is appropriately Silent Night. Kollwitz’ intro has an almost Hawaiian slack key guitar intro and I liked it for that. There is no doubting the beauty and reverence of the rendition. All an all, a good album for wrapping the presents and building new Christmas memories. – R J Lannan, Artisan Music Reviews





Rating: Very Good
Two Hearts by David Wahler
- posted by RJ Lannan, Artisan Music Reviews on 12/10/2019
Two Hearts
David Wahler
Two Hearts

When two hearts meet, it is the beginning of a new day. When two hearts part, it is the end of the world. Keyboardist David Wahler captures both experiences and everything in between on his latest album, Two Hearts. David’s eleven-track undertaking is full of emotionally light, ambient songs of love discovered and love lost with an ear to ardor and much warmth.
Wahler opens with a hopeful song titled Always and that is just what we want and expect from love. We want fairytale love that lives happily ever after. It is fate or fortune that makes it so. There are moderate rhythms on this album, but there is an emotional subtlety to the music as provided by this first tune.
Just imagine walking hand in hand across the Pont d’Avignon as the rain falls over the City of Light. The streetlights glimmer in the distance and it does not matter if you get wet down to the soul. The love you have is an impenetrable shield of thoughts and feelings. The tune Paris Rain is a soundscape for that experience. If you listen closely, you can just about hear two heartbeats synchronized by an invisible force that cannot be denied.
Love Lost has a silent sadness to it and of course, love lost is a heartbreaking event. Wahler’s melody has little sonic will o’ the wisps, glistening notes, and a sorrowful refrain. It possesses an ethereal tone in its grief as if heaven is weeping as much as the heart that is breaking. One of the best on the album for me.
You and Me is a slow moving waltz around a very big room, perhaps as big as the planet. This music is so sublime I could almost imagine the stars spinning in the universe trying to catch up. The music is almost bell like and echoingly soft. The guitar resonates with a gentle tug at the heartstrings as two lovers, oblivious to the world around them, dance like there is no tomorrow.
The title track Two Hearts is an emotionally rich piano arrangement in two-heart harmony. Again, Wahler, whether intentional or not, offers up a pas de deux of agonizing beauty. There are soft voices, elegant piano notes, and a warm rhythm that combines for the best of the best on the recording. This truly is a lover’s theme.
Is there doubt? Is there betrayal? There is an air of mystery to the music. Are there dark alleys and late night rendezvous? Dynamic guitar and cooing voices combine on the tune Confession. There is a hint of trepidation in this song. All you can do is pray for forgiveness.
Then She Went to Sleep is the grand finale. This piano tune is another weightless musical spiral of David’s talent as a composer. The music drifts along tranquilly, as if the sleeping world is now made out of stardust and pale, distant light. You hope that the dreams are about you.
David Wahler knew that music would be his vocation at an early age. What’s different about most of David’s music is the underlying, yet unmistakable spirituality that springs forth whenever he touches the piano keys. Wahler isn’t what I would label prolific in the number of releases he has made, but every single one of them has been notable for their innate beauty and polished refinements. Two Hearts, his latest offering, is definitive. – R J Lannan, Artisan Music Reviews

Rating: Excellent
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