Saturday, August 7, 2010

CD Review -- Two Hands, by Gunnar Madsen

Gunnar Madsen is quite the performing arts renaissance man, if ever there was one. Actor, singer, filmmaker, children’s songwriter, Grammy-nominated musician, author, playwright, and soundtrack composer, to name just a few.

At the moment, he returns to one of his first and most basic muses – the piano. And it is on this recording that we hear Madsen at his most pure – just him, the keyboard, and his Two Hands.

The selections on this CD comprise a range of musical thoughts and emotions that stem from the deep recesses of Madsen’s psyche – everything from penetrating illness and personal loss to fond childhood memories and beloved artistic influences.

Musically, the album represents a variety of styles, including jazz, new age, classical, and easy listening. And yet the CD is unified in its overall sense of quietude and tranquility. As a result, the album satisfies on several levels – as an artistically fulfilling collection of beautiful arrangements and melodies, as a fitting soundtrack for perfect relaxation and reflection, and as sonic therapy for personal healing.

Two Hands is a very personal album for Gunnar Madsen, and it is a very personal album for the listener as well. This is perhaps the CD’s greatest strength and value – the personal connection between the artist and the audience.

--Raj Manoharan

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