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Ludwig van Beethoven: in Celebration of the 250th Anniversary of his Birth by Sophia Agranovich
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 12/20/2021
Celebrating Beethoven By Sophia Agranovich
The master and utter genius that was Ludwig Van Beethoven, is regarded as one of the finest composers and pianists that has ever graced this most beautiful planet, and we can now reflect on this master musicians time, with an album released to celebrate what would have been his 250th birthday, so let’s reflect and enjoy this quite breath taking new release from Steinway artist Sophia Agranovich.
Celebrating Beethoven by Sophia Agranovich is a true classical reflection of an artist who deeply cares, and shows such a vast level of attention to the smallest of details and performance structures, from the abundant refrains of Beethoven Fantasia Op. 77 through to the albums conclusion, and the presentation of Beethoven. Tempest III. Allegretto, a masterful work in its own right, and it must be said, Agranovich’s performance on both pieces is incredibly stunning.
One of my personal favourite performances by the artist can be found by enjoying the incredible efforts given on the piece Beethoven Pathetique I. Grave – Allegro di molto e con brio. It has pace, power, intensity and a wonderfully fluent sense of balance and texture.
A few years ago in the vast reaches of our existences, I came across this offering mainly thanks to my father’s love of all things classical, and I have loved it ever since, it has a sensitivity that sometimes is hidden by Beethoven, a smoothness of approach, and a gentle refrain to utterly bathe in, and of course called Beethoven Pathetique II Adagio cantabile.
This is an album of pure culture and made accessible by the masterful performances and open interpretations of Beethoven’s work by Agranovich, from the artistic nuances of Beethoven. Pathetique III. Rondo allegro, and to the loving arms of one of Beethoven’s most famous works entitled Beethoven. Moonlight I. Adagio sostenuto, a body of work used in so many movies and musical arenas worldwide over many years, and beautifully played by Agranovich, with such heart, sensitivity, and an almost symbiotic energy, it is as if she is literally channelling the grand master here.
From start to finish, from page to page Sophia Agranovich flows with the essences of Beethoven’s crafted compositions, on the light energies of Beethoven. Moonlight II. Allegretto, into the intensity and powerful force that is known as Beethoven Moonlight III Presto agitato, a track that has an abundance of depth, complexity and tone.
One can also deeply enjoy the tapestry of a crafted performance on Beethoven. Tempest I. Largo – Allegro, a presentation where two opposing sides seem to literally dance around each other in a chaotic energy of dominance.
The penultimate offering on the album is entitled Beethoven. Tempest II. Adagio and Agranovich’s performance here was delightfully subtle, profound in its presentation, and perceptive in its overall tones, one which would of course lead us to the final concluding offering, the aforementioned Beethoven. Tempest III. Allegretto, a more fluent presentation you will not find, and performed with such an amazing technically emotive performance, but one held within the musical constraints of the piece beautifully, but adding a deeply compelling romantic hint into the weave of the composition.
Celebrating Beethoven by Sophia Agranovich celebrates the anniversary of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, and she does this with such style and panache. Each and every performance on this wondrous new album is utterly sublime, and I am sure the grand master himself would have been very pleased indeed at the penetrating, profound, assured, and eloquent presentations given here. If you are appreciative of the works of Ludwig Van Beethoven, then you really must have a copy of Celebrating Beethoven by Sophia Agranovich in your musical collections as quickly as you can.
Rating: Excellent
Touch & Sound by Juan Sanchez
- posted by Robin B. James on 12/2/2021
Generous Emotional Beauty
Juan Sánchez always experiments, calling himself a classical musician falling in love with Ambient/New Age electronic music. Touch & Sound is his third indie album, with an astonishing and nourishing 17 tracks. This time he is exploring the combination of strings and ethereal female voices, while continuing his passion for the sound of the acoustic piano in different settings. There is the most subtle electronica present in many places, but the sound is stories told on a solo piano without lyrics, created to allow a connection with the music on an emotional level.
Listeners hear generous epic soundscapes exploring notions of time, childhood, the moon, the rain, piano with a duduk, a lullaby, the discipline of calm, international human rights, a candle in the window, the afterlife, under the ocean, living by the sea, the air, daybreak, water mixed with sky, an unclad piano, and dreams.
The first track, "Sands of Time" (6:32), is a composition about the steady unstoppable advancement of time, featuring the timeless voice of soprano Morgane Matteuzzi. Juan uses very interesting keyboard phrasing, hurrying and then slowing to a pause. The vocalist and synthesizers blend, water flows, heights are reached, the sands of time are running out. The term “The Sands of Time” comes from the sand used in hourglasses, an ancient way of measuring time, scattered with unanswered questions, questions that imply – unthinkably to the young romantic – that love and goodness may be illusory.
The title of the next track is "Piga Al Cel" (7:07), and is a personal favorite in this collection of beautiful and emotional piano personal favorites. The song name is a Catalan language expression that in English means “freckle in the sky.” As a listener, what I like is the special razor’s edge sound, both violinist Mirela Nita and the mechanical aspects of the piano blend into the construction; we can hear the felt hammers gently move against the strings, it is a natural force that cannot be resisted.
The mood starts unsteadily and eerily on the title track, "Touch & Sound" (4:21), when electronica gently touches the piano and reaches us in our dreams, crossing over from reality to create an amazing atmosphere anchored in the depths of the sound of desires and more importantly cravings, the melody becomes human enough to weep and despair, to talk and to aspire.
Touch & Sound is a piano-driven album with increased instrumentation like ethereal female voices, subtle synthesizer backgrounds and string arrangements, proving that sound can expand consciousness. With the syncing of these two diverse worlds comes the ultimate journey to transcend current time, space and reality, with the songs acting as mood shifters so any atmosphere can be created.
The music of Juan Sánchez is a reflective musical journey through moments of hope as well as despair, featuring arpeggios that seemingly float in the air. He does not want people to only listen to his music, he wants them to feel it and connect with it. Touch & Sound achieves that connection with grace and serenity. This is a timeless album which brings an inspirational feeling of peaceful insight.
1) Sands of Time
2) Those Fridays
3) Piga Al Cel
4) For When It Rains
5) A Nocturne
6) Lullaby For A Frantic World
7) Ataraxia
8) Human Rights
9) Into The Night
10) Where Are They Now?
11) Le Grand Bleu
12) Paralian
13) Astral Voices
14) When Daybreak Comes
15) Immersion
16) Astral Voices (Solo Piano)
17) Touch & Sound

Rating: Excellent
Gone Beyond by Donna De Lory
- posted by A. Sathyanarayanan on 12/2/2021
Gone Beyond: Breaking the Barriers
Gone Beyond: Breaking the Barriers for Your Soul’s Ethereal Voyage

The material world provides lush grasslands for the senses to graze happily. But, the ravenous soul finds nothing in the temporal existence to satiate its hunger. If there is one thing on this spoiled earth that the soul feels attracted to, it is inspired music. Yes! MUSIC is the food for the starving SOUL. ‘SOUL FILLING’ music is a rare kind of genre with very few entrants to contribute to. Donna De Lory, described as Mantra Melody Queen, is an exceptionally gifted talent in the world of music. Her heavenly voice is a priceless gift that she dedicates to producing redeeming music. She has released quite a few albums in the category of Mantra like “The Lover & the Beloved,” “Sanctuary,” and “The Unchanging,” to name a few. However, ‘Gone Beyond’ is certainly a masterpiece she has accomplished through sheer inspiration.

About the Author
Donna De Lory is a multi-talented artist of rarity. She is a songwriter, singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer whose creations span over the genres like general music, devotionals, and pop music. Debuting as a solo artist in 1993, De Lory has today become a premier musician adored in the class of devotional and Yoga music. ‘Gone Beyond‘ is her latest composition and the 17th solo album she has accomplished to date. While producing music from her heart, De Lory is heading towards reaching the highest standards of musical artistry.

An album of meditative tranquility
Released on September 10, 2021, Gone Beyond is a musical album of meditative tranquility. In several ways, this magical composition is a novel kind of experiment that will want you to crave more and more while getting absorbed into it. Especially, this opera has taken the Yoga Music Community into rapture. A perfect companion for guided meditation, this album makes it easy to contemplate and escape into the vistas of your own deeper self.

Narrating the objective in composing this unique music, Donna De Lory says, “I wanted to make a record that would be good for so many different experiences. . . Yoga class, standing on top of a mountain, sacred ceremonies, healing….” Yes, this album can gift a fitting background to any of these ventures and much more.

The regular convention in music is to give instrumental backing to the artist’s voice. In ‘Gone Beyond‘, the author has majorly invested in her voice for all the desired special effects and backgrounds, jettisoning the regular practices and usual apparatus that anyone would use for composing. The most unique kind of composing style has incorporated several layers of the artist’s voice to evolve a rich main course.

In facilitating a better understanding of what she has delivered in this album, Donna De Lory says, “It was just stream of consciousness. I wanted something textural. I was just hearing whatever notes came to me and creating different chords with my voice. I went in every day and put on more and more vocals. I enjoyed laying down some vocals when I was in a certain mood or my voice was in a certain place. And I came in another time and laid down more. My vocals have different sounds to them because it was done over a period of time.”

The effect she has been able to achieve with her novel strategy is something gorgeous and unimaginably wonderful. These tracks have come out like a choir rendered by a single person ably enhanced by the serene tunes of harmonium and piano. Joseph Arthur is the only other vocalist contributing to the album. Some commendable talents that have collaborated with her in producing this album are bassist Tony Levin, percussionist Jerry Marotta, cellist Jami Sieber, guitarists James Harrah, Gerry Leonard, and Greg Leisz, and mixmaster Kevin Killen.

What the author says about the album
The tracks of ‘Gone Beyond’ have amalgamated some sacred mantras and soul-stirring lyrical tunes. The album is constructed with layered vocals, which the artist describes as, “I always have these mantras coming to me that I felt inspired to sing.”

The Buddhist mantra “Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Soha” can be translated as “Gone Beyond to a Further Shore”, which has inspired the title of the album ‘Gone Beyond’.

The concept used as the watchword in this composition is ‘TRANSCENDENCE’ or journeying from Untruth to Truth, Delusion to Enlightenment, and a Perishable state to Immortality. This concept can be best explained with the use of boat imagery leading the voyager from the coast of sorrow to a state of eternal bliss.

While describing the album’s concept at length, Donna says, “I love the imagery of that boat ride which takes you to the other side of consciousness, to enlightenment. And I thought, music is that boat ride. I can always put music on and feel joy, peace, and ultimate gratitude for this life. Making this album was ultimately healing for me, and I hope it’s healing for other people too.”

What to take with you
The artist has delivered in this album something that can embrace several life situations and experiences. In facilitating a meditative focus, these tracks can help you live those best moments in a more meaningful and purposeful way.

And the last word from me! If you would listen to these tracks without the preparation it calls for, you are sure to miss out on the bountiful treasure it has got to give you. To get the best from the album, find a quiet place, a still environment, and a free mind. If you are willing to give yourself entirely to this mesmerizing composition, it is sure to take you beyond time and space into the realms of spiritual existence, breaking the barriers for your soul’s ethereal voyage.

Rating: Excellent
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