Sunday, September 26, 2010

CD Review – Another Place and Time, by Heidi Anne Breyer

Heidi Anne Breyer’s latest CD, Another Place and Time, takes you to the destination indicated by the title, a feat that can be accomplished only by powerful and evocative music, such as that contained on this excellent recording.

Breyer manages this with gentle and soothing piano-based compositions that quietly work their way into your senses. It almost feels like osmosis -- the music absorbs you and you absorb the music.

While Breyer’s piano is the center of attention here, the album wouldn’t be what it is without the support of a fine lineup of master musicians, including Eugene Friesen on cello, Charlie Bisharat on violin, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, Jill Haley on English horn, and David Cullen and Will Ackerman (founder of Windham Hill Records/Private Music and the album’s producer) on guitar. Rather than joining in a tsunami of sound, the instruments are individually paired with the piano on various tracks, resulting primarily in a collection of duets that stir the soul.

With the exception of a track co-written and co-performed with Ackerman, Breyer composed all the other tracks, including one performed entirely on guitar by Cullen. Breyer’s songwriting, inspired by the artwork of her life partner Alexander Volkov, is as masterful as her brilliantly understated piano playing.

Although the album is named after one of the tracks, it’s the tune Chaconne for Our World that truly transports me to another place and time. There’s just something about the pairing of the piano and the horn on that track. But then again, there’s just something about the entire album.

--Raj Manoharan

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