“Impressions” by Shoshana Michel
Album review by Dyan Garris for “Spirit Seeker Magazine”
“Intimate and straight from the heart, ‘Impressions’ makes an indelible impression.”
– Dyan Garris
“Impressions” is Shoshana Michel’s 5th solo piano album and is almost 54 minutes of total relaxation.Satin-smooth and ultra-calming, this is 13 original piano solos “born out of reflection and inspiration” (“Reflection” is also the title of her last album, by the way).
The gorgeous impressionisticstyle CD cover art is a painting, “In Tune,” by artist Mark Briscoe. So very beautiful, inviting us toeagerly explore the treasures that lie beneath.
Shoshana says that some of the compositions from this album reflect the various emotions, thoughts and feelings that she had recently experienced, while others were inspired by music and those that composed it; the classical music that she listened to growing up, the New Age solo pianists that she discovered in the early 1990s, and the contemporary solo, neo-classical and minimalistic pianists that motivate and continue to inspire her today.
The album opens with the dreamy, “Imagination.” We can easily flow along with this and let our imaginations run freely as well. That’s the point, of course, and this is very enjoyable and a perfect beginning.
Have you ever felt left out or excluded from anything? Of course. We all have at one time or another. The piece, “Dancing in the Shadows” was composed during a time when a series of events left Shoshana feeling exactly that way. She envisioned herself in a flowing white dress, dancing alone in a dimly lit room, while others in an adjacent, bright, and colorful room engaged together in merriment. Such a stunningly beautiful piece, this one speaks directly to the heart. Love it.
“Quietly. Gently. Peacefully,” is a sweet lullaby for all to enjoy. This piece truly is quiet, gentle, and extremely peaceful. Wonderful.
Somber, serious, but not morose or dreary, “Loneliness,” is actually uplifting in a tender and engaging kind of way. And then, as is the way of life, we go from an emotion like loneliness right into “Joyful Moments.” This is one of my favorites on the album. Happy, and very flowing, it’s aglow with joy and light. Great use of both the upper and lower registers. This is gorgeous.
Originating from a 17th century Italian troupe of stage actors/players, performing in France, “Pierrot” is a kind of “sad clown” character. With his painted white face and flowing white costume, he is most often portrayed as trusting and naïve. The song, “Pierrot” perfectly conveys this graceful, innocent feeling.
“Prelude in E Minor” is done in the style of John Sebastian Bach. This composition perfectly showcases Shoshana’s flawless neo-classical piano playing talents. The cadence is wonderful, and Shoshana’s touch is pure velvet. Beautiful.
Inspired by dreams Shoshana had of her late mother, and missing her as well, “In My Dreams,” is bothcalming and sentimental. The melodic composition captures that space between worlds. Very enjoyable, perfectly composed and played.
“Nocturne in E Flat,” is a romantic, elegant piece. Dreamy and pensive, it’s just the way it should be. Delightful. Originally written a few years ago and set aside, then rediscovered at the perfect time to find its place on this album, “Summer into Fall,” is my ultimate favorite on “Impressions.” Melodic, flowing, sweeping, smooth, graceful . . . I can’t say enough good things about this piece. This is definitely one for the playlist. And, if you play the piano, be sure to get the sheet music as well.
“Yearning” was inspired by the music of several minimalistic composers whose music Shoshana admires. One characteristic of minimalist music includes the use of repetitive musical phrases or patterns. Shehas done a great job of such with this song, which is elegant and memorable.
A somber,contemplative song, “Elegy,” was inspired by the passing of family members, whether they be human or animal. This is soft, gentle, and reflective. Not depressing, this is quite peaceful and reverent.
The album closes out with the very fluid piece, “Long Ago and Far Away.” Wistful and nostalgic, this is emotionally stirring and straight from the heart. Again, this is one for the relaxation playlist, plus get the sheet music if you play. This is just beautiful, as is the whole album. “Impressions” makes an indelible impression. Well done!
Get “Impressions” directly here: https://shoshanamusic.com/impressions/ or wherever music is sold/streamed/downloaded.
Artist website: https://shoshanamusic.com/
All pieces composed and performed by Shoshana Michel
Produced by Shoshana Michel
Recorded on a Shigeru Kawai SK7L
Engineered and mastered by Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven Studio, Sedona, AZ
Cover painting by Mark Briscoe
Graphic art and design by Matt Strieby