"Zuzu's Petals" is the third release from pianist/composer John Albert Thomas, but it is a first for me. And what a charming album it is! The title comes from a scene in the film, "It's A Wonderful Life," when Jimmy Stewart's character finds the flower petals his daughter, Zuzu, left in his coat pocket, reminding him of the truly important things in life. The father of three young daughters and a son, Thomas says of this music: "This album is about innocence and purity. It is about flowers, dancing, fairy tales, and just about everything else little girls dream about." Three of the pieces are "piano portraits" Thomas composed for people - an interesting sideline he has created with his music. All eleven tracks are solo piano, and all are sweet, uncluttered, and heartfelt - a delight to listen to!
The title track begins the album with a lighthearted mood and a touch of poignance - a warm and inviting welcome. "Be Still and Know" is a bit more subdued, but is touching in its quiet simplicity. "In The Shadow of Your Wing" is one of my favorites - delicate and playful with an interesting rhythmic pattern. I keep coming back to this one! "Lullaby For Hope" is another favorite. Very gentle and tender with an Asian influence, it is incredibly soothing and calming. "Blessed" is also very tranquil, referring to Psalm 32 in The Bible, a psalm about the peace of forgiveness. "Waltz of the Wildflowers" picks up the tempo a bit with a graceful and elegant dance - beautiful! "Glass Slipper" is as sweet and wistful as a little girl's daydream about a fairy tale world. "The King's Daughter" is a fairy tale itself. It begins very slowly and simply, hinting at another time long in the past. The second theme is more energetic and suggests some kind of action - perhaps two handsome princes vying for the princess' hand. The third movement returns to the gentle sweetness of the first and then reprises the second, ending with a whisper. Quite a story and my favorite piece on this album! The closing piece is a third part to the fairy tale trilogy, "The Prince On the White Horse." An uncomplicated love song that tells of innocence and joy, it's a happy ending to a wonderful musical storybook.
"Zuzu's Petals" is a beautiful album for quiet times or to calm and soothe after a busy day. Sure to bring a smile to the young and young at heart. Recommended!
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About the reviewer
Kathy Parsons (kathypiano)
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
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This third release from solo piano composer, John Albert Thomas, contains 11 original piano works designed to stimulate the mind while relaxing the body.
The theme John has chosen for this album is Purity. Here's how he describes it:
"While composing the music for my new piano CD, my little girls would dress up in their princess costumes, pull up the entry rug, and dance together on the tile floor. It was pure, it was innocent, it was fun! Listen and visualize the scene.
It reminded me of a scene in the famous Jimmy Stewart movie, It s A Wonderful Life, where little Zuzu explained to her Daddy why she didn t wear her coat in the rain to protect her precious flower petals. To her they were so precious that she did whatever it took to protect them from damage. Later in the movie, they became a reminder to show Daddy what was REALLY important in life.
This album is about innocence and purity. It s about flowers, dancing, fairy tales, and just about everything else little girls dream about. Those are Zuzu s petals."