Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
East of the Moon
Genres: Jazz, New Age, Pop
After releasing more than 15 recordings for his original record label (Narada), pianist David Lanz makes his debut on Decca Records with East of the Moon, a well-mannered blend of instrumental pop and orchestral pomp that ... more »
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After releasing more than 15 recordings for his original record label (Narada), pianist David Lanz makes his debut on Decca Records with East of the Moon, a well-mannered blend of instrumental pop and orchestral pomp that occupies stylistic ground between John Tesh and Mannheim Steamroller. Guided by renowned producer Hugh Padgham (Sting, Phil Collins, et al.), Lanz recorded the album's 14 tracks live, laying down eight ensemble pieces (two uptempo, six subdued) and a high-minded, six-part work ("World at Peace") that involves a 35-piece orchestra. No new classics seem to be lurking here, though the propulsive "Dancing with Dionyscis" has its moments. By touching on themes of mythology and transcultural transformation, East of the Moon is intended less for bedroom candlelight and more for the internal flame Lanz enjoys rekindling within his spiritually inclined faithful listeners. Corny to some; a tonic to others. --Terry Wood
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From Solo Piano Publications
Kathy Parsons | Florence, OR United States | 02/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This long-awaited new release from pianist David Lanz is a delight from start to finish. From the opening strains of the exuberant "The Green Man" to the pure poetry of the closing track, "The Visitor", East of the Moon features a full spectrum of Lanz' playing and composing styles - and what a wonderful ride it is! The first seven tracks of the album are based on mythology and personal experiences, and have a more pop/rock feel than the six-part "World at Peace" which is more of a concerto for piano and orchestra. Producer Hugh Padgham suggested recording the album live rather than in layers, a proposal that was both daunting and exciting for Lanz. The resulting recording very successfully captures the freshness and spontaneity of a concert performance with the polish of a studio recording. Recorded in Great Britain in early 1999, Lanz included some great English studio musicians, and his frequent guest artist, Matthew Fisher from Procol Harum, appears on three tracks. Dave Heath's flute and piccolo add ebullience, as do Gerald Fahy's Ullieann pipes.I absolutely love "The Green Man", a tribute to an ancient pagan symbol of birth and creativity. This joyful piece all but bubbles over. Dave Heath's piccolo adds a sprightly buoyance, and it's impossible to sit still while listening to this piece. "Dancing With Dionysos" is also an intoxicating romp (the mischievous glissando in the middle is a great touch!), full of fun and life. Lanz' original work hasn't been this upbeat since Skyline Firedance, and I welcome back this energetic side of his creativity."Chasing Aphrodite" is classic Lanz with mostly live musicians (as opposed to synth only), giving a warmth and richness often missing in sythnthesized accompaniments. The title cut has a somewhat otherworldly feeling, describing the place where The Green Man lives ("just west of the stars and east of the moon"). "On the Edge of a Dream" quiets the mood to a peaceful state between waking and dreaming, not quite sure of where we are. "And Time Stood Still" is one of my favorites - a reflective and pensive piece created in the mental state where the passage of time is unconscious. Matthew Fisher's Hammond organ adds interesting color to this mostly piano piece."World at Peace" is the "soundtrack to David's vision of our planet. In development for a number of years, it opens with the "Declaration Overture", where an imagined historic gathering of world leaders has taken place to sign "The Declaration of World Peace". The grandeur and majesty of this piece reflects how momentous such an event would be. My favorite part of this work is the second movement, "Prayer for Peace", with its lyrical bass arpeggios and gentle melody. All six parts of "World at Peace" are very classical and fully orchestrated. Each section moves through time, welcoming "a new universal spirit of cooperation" and the resulting advancements and improvements in the environment and society as a whole. "World at Peace" was a huge project, and the results are breathtaking.The final track, "The Visitor" is another favorite. Its simplicity and grace are at once touching and haunting, telling the story of an unseen "visitor" gently coaxing it into being. This is a truly peaceful close to an exceptional work.Along with the universal themes running through this album, David Lanz successfully breaks down the artificial boundaries that pigeon-hole music into "types". There are elements of rock in the rhythms and energy of several of the pieces, classical forms in the construction and scale of others, folk traditions, new age characteristics (whatever they are), and good old story-telling all blended together to make a warm and cohesive whole that should speak to a universal audience, an artistic goal that Lanz expressed when we did an interview in `98. I hope the world is ready to listen!"
Good Music, but the artist talks too much
feldspar | 10/18/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The music on this CD IS very relaxing and has fun sound to it. But the artist ruins it by expressing his views on mythology and goes on and on about "world peace". That's fine for him, but I don't want to listen to his speeches, I just want the music! Other than that, this CD has beautiful music on it, my particular favorite is 'East of the Moon'. As good as the music is, I don't think I will be buying much music by this artist anymore."
Kathy Parsons | 03/04/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After listening through this CD for the first time, I could do nothing but sit in my chair in silence for a few seconds. David Lanz's work, in general, exudes a peaceful and vibrant energy in a multitude of music "types," and his latest is no exception. For example, the first three tracks on the CD, "The Green Man," "Dance with Dionysus," and "Chasing Aphrodite," all differ so much that perhaps only Lanz could have made the three work so well together. "Green Man" starts out the CD with a Celtic-ish theme, while "Dionysus" nearly jumps out of your sound system with its highly vibrant pop theme, and then it shifts to the utterly beautiful "Aphrodite," a romantic song with emotions not quite on the level of "Return to the Heart," but well-done nonetheless. I only found two problems with the CD. First, the orchestra (used in every piece), while adding definite pluses in songs such as "Declaration Overture," also detracts from Lanz' marvelous piano talent by overriding/replacing many notes on the corresponding solo piano pieces. Also, I would have loved to had "Sound of Wings" included on the album. Although the theme of that song varies somewhat from the generic themes of the album, it is such a beautiful song that its inclusion would have helped. For those that don't know, "Sound of Wings" is a piece that Lanz wrote for the orchestra recording for "East of the Moon" but never recorded, and so he released both the song (in MP3 format) and the sheet music on his website, and appears to never plan on officially releasing it on a CD. Other than that, it is an amazing work. A giant plus is the all-new work, a major problem (for me) in his previous albums, with the release and multiple rereleases of his hits. For the veteran David Lanz listener, "East of the Moon" is a great addition to any collection of his work; for the first-time listener, however, I suggest purchasing either "Return to the Heart" or "A Night with David Lanz" first, since either of those CDs contain many of his classic hits, a nice segue into this CD. Either way, "East of the Moon" is a worthwhile purchase."