Beyond the Turning Heidi Breyer 2012 / Winterhall Records 56.5 minutes
"Beyond the Turning" is pianist/composer Heidi Breyer’s third album to date, following her award-winning and critically-acclaimed 2010 release, "Another Place and Time." Like her previous album, the fourteen tracks on "Beyond the Turning" are a varied mix of styles that contain elements of classical, jazz, folk, new age, and pop music blended to create Heidi Breyer’s unique voice and vision. The other musicians on the album are as varied as the music and bring an eclectic sound to the mix. Breyer adds her delicate vocals to the two cover tunes and presents her first ever recorded improvisation (“The Long Way Home, Passages 1-3”), making this album a musical and emotional journey.
"Beyond the Turning" opens with “Farewell,” a piece that contains one of the album’s biggest surprises. Beginning as a heartfelt piano solo, I was blown away when David Cullen’s electric guitar entered at about the halfway point. Breyer heard this piece as a piano and electric guitar duet when she wrote it and refused to compromise on the unique combination of instruments. I wasn’t sure I liked that combination at first, but Cullen’s passionate playing communicates so well and contrasts so dramatically with the piano that it won me over. “World Without End” was inspired by a painting by Alexander Volkov. This is actually the third version of this piece, which Breyer concedes may never be completely finished. Her piano, Eugene Friesen’s cello, and Samite’s vocals give it a hauntingly beautiful expression. “My Peace Piece” is a piano solo dedicated to jazz pianist Bill Evans. Slow, fluid, and very graceful, this one’s a favorite. So is “Rive Droite,” which features the violin artistry of the amazing Charlie Bisharat and Bob Colwell on accordion in addition to Breyer’s rhythmic and sensual piano. I also really like “Eight Steps Free,” a duet for piano and lyricon (an electronic wind instrument with a very ethereal quality) played by Premik Russell-Tubbs. “Tea and Sympathy” is an arrangement of one of Janis Ian’s classics. Guitar, piano, and bass are a simple but very effective accompaniment to Breyer’s heartfelt vocals and Ian’s poetic lyrics. “Moondancing” was an experiment in rhythm and is the first of Breyer’s pieces with percussion (tam-tam). Russell-Tubbs’ soulful saxophone adds the perfect emotional element and makes it soar. The title track is a gorgeous duet for piano and English horn (Jill Haley) that expresses the realization that there are so many turns in the roads we travel in life, often wondering what lies “beyond the turning,” and the inner peace that comes with the acceptance that the turning happens every day and letting it flow through us.
"Beyond the Turning" is available from www.heidibreyer.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
I have been a private piano teacher since 1981. I have been writing reviews for a long time, and have my own review and interview site, MainlyPiano.com. I teach piano in person and online, so now I can … more