"Music Seeds" is the debut solo piano recording by French composer/musician Vincent Cordel. Currently the music director for the Japanese production of Corteo for Cirque du Soleil, Cordel has amassed an impressive set of musical credentials that includes graduating from both the Paris Conservatory VIII and the Berklee School of Music. He has collaborated on more than two hundred titles for television, commercials, and movie trailers. "Music Seeds" was inspired by the Canadian rain forest, and captures the musical essence of the natural world. Overall, the music on this album is minimal and spare, yet melodic, evocative, and deeply emotional. It provides a lovely backdrop for dining or other quiet activities, but deserves much closer attention to fully appreciate the nuances and subtle artistry of the music. Not many artists can say so much with so few notes, but Cordel is clearly one who can, and the listening experience is extraordinary.
The title track opens "Music Seeds," creating a mood of quiet tranquility and gentle reflection - a very promising beginning! "Life By Design" is somewhat more melancholy and very open. As it develops, a distinctive melody emerges and evolves into a number of interwoven themes that are both classical and contemporary - a fascinating piece! "Surfacing" picks up the energy level with a simple melody that is sometimes in the treble octaves and sometimes in the bass while the left hand plays a repetitive rhythmic pattern that makes it dance. The final section of the piece becomes an almost hymn-like meditation that trails off at the end. "Raindrops" begins with a growl from the low-end of the piano that I interpret as being distant thunder. Then lightly percussive notes in the treble suggest the start of a gentle rain shower that is perhaps falling on a pond. "1+1=3" again picks up an energetic repetitive rhythm that propels it forward while the calmer melody weaves in and out of it. "Voltige" (a combination of gymnastics and acrobatics on horseback) is probably the "biggest" and most complex of the ten tracks and clearly demonstrates Cordel's effortless command of the piano. As its title suggests, "Reflections" takes a big step inward with quiet musings and bittersweet thoughts that are very open and spacious. "Swan Song" is my favorite track. Constructed in a theme and variations form, the haunting melody recurs with a variety of rhythmic patterns and varying degrees of intensity - gorgeous! "I, Twilight" is pure stillness and tranquility, closing out this excellent album with a contented sigh.
"Music Seeds" is sure to be in the running as a Favorite Album of 2009. Very highly recommended!