Five-time Grammy nominee Suzanne Ciani's exquisite new solo-piano project, Pianissimo III, is a gift to the world. Having sold more than one million units in her stellar career, Ciani has been a contemporary-instrumental favorite for many people for more than a decade. "Velocity of Love," perhaps her best-known work and one of the most heartfelt solo-piano compositions I have ever heard, continues to be included in compilations, most recently Pure Moods 3. Now we have the hauntingly beautiful Pianissimo III, a new collection of solo piano straight from the soul of this immensely gifted performer.
Acting as composer, performer, and producer on Pianissimo III allowed Ciani the freedom to do it completely her way. The gorgeous results are evident on each of the 15 tracks. Speaking the language of the heart with the piano serving as her voice, Ciani conjures up the many nuances of life's emotions, from celebration and joy to the bittersweet feeling of moving past a relationship that's no longer working. For Ciani's legions of fans as well as for fans of solo piano in general, the release of Pianissimo III is cause for much excitement indeed. It is one of the most brilliant piano albums of the year.
It's been a long way since the original wave set and these, personal, acoustic journeys into her sketch book and back pages is always just as welcome as her other voyages. Well conceived, fatly tracked set that never wears out it's welcome and makes fans of NAC/new age work know the genre is still full of life when placed in the right hands, as it is here. A winner.
-MIDWEST RECORD RECAP
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
One of the most successful entrepreneurs in the New Age music business, owning her own recording label and nominated for five Grammy Awards, Suzanne Ciani complete the Pianissimo trilogy with her first piano solo
album in five years.
Mixing new compositions along with ensemble pieces
reworked for piano alone, Ciani plays with classic elegance and simplicity in keyboard paintings of love, life, and her oceanside home. The neoclassical impressionistic "La Mer" reminds one of French composers Debussy and Ravel, while Beethoven is recalled in the shimmering and powerful "Full Moon Sonata." Seabirds dip, dive and dance offshore in the
positive and uplifting "Soaring" and "Butterflies" drift by on sprightly and driven migration to Mexico.
Most melodic and harmonic are the affirmative "I Believe in Love" and the title track from her previous Grammy-nominated "Turning." The album was recorded 24-bit direct to disk and is dedicated to the memory of those lost in the 9/11 attack. "May we learn to live in love and compassion." A worthy
conclusion to her brilliant and successful trilogy.
New Age Voice
"Pianissimo III" is the third in a series of albums by Suzanne Ciani which are made up of solo piano versions of previously recorded and orchestrated music as well as several (in this case three) new pieces. "P3" contains some of my all-time favorite Ciani pieces such as "Sogno Agitato", "Butterflies", "Turning", "The Fifth Wave", and "Full Moon Sonata" - all of these are wonderful! Of the three new pieces, "Celtic Nights" is by far my favorite. There are classic Ciani touches, but this piece is a departure for her, at least for her solo piano work. It is exotic, very minor, and has some haunting deep bass accents that give it some punch. "Celtic Nights" makes my fingers itch since it is one of the few pieces in the collection that isn't in print (yet). I love it! "Pretend" is a sad song about the "afterimage of someone gone". It is easy to imagine Suzanne sitting at her piano late at night, letting this song be born of recent loss. While not wrenching, the emotions are powerful. "4 O'Clock in the Morning" is the third new piece, and tells about the exact time Ciani wakes up whenever something is bothering her. This piece is less structured and more abstract, and is a fascinating musical description of that time between sleep and tossing around, trying to let your mind settle back into restfulness.
An interesting little tidbit is that when Suzanne's "Dream Suite" album came out in 1994, I wrote to her to tell her how much I loved "Sogno Agitato" and how I hoped it would be in her next songbook. She patiently explained to me that she had written that piece as an orchestral work, and really couldn't see it as a solo piece at all. She did a workshop for my students not long after that, and I requested that she play "Sogno Agitato". She explained to the group that it wasn't written as a solo, but she would play what she had played with the orchestra. It was wonderful!!!! I bugged her several more times about wanting to be able to play that piece, and was absolutely delighted when she included it in her "Turning" songbook. It has gone on to become a favorite of my more advanced students, and it was a thrill to have one of my students play "Sogno Agitato" for Suzanne last fall.
A few of the other of the fifteen pieces in this collection are not what I would call all-time favorites. However, most of the songs are excellent, and some are great, so I strongly recommend "Pianissimo III"!
Solo Piano Publications
New Age music's first female star spins absolute magic on this third installment of her critically acclaimed "Pianissimo" series. Brimming with future classics, Ciani's legacy as both a composer and performer will be enhanced by songs such as the triumphal "The Fifth Wave" and the achingly beautiful "The Enchantress."
-e d i t o r ' s p i c k s : eMusic.com
Suzanne Ciani is a composer, recording artist, and pioneer in the field of electronic music. She is best loved for her thirteen albums of original music which feature her performances in a broad array of expressions: pure electronic, solo piano, piano with orchestra, and piano with jazz ensemble. No matter the medium, Ciani's music communicates the special intimacy, passion, and sensitivity that has become her trademark and prompted fans to buy over a million of her albums.
Her music, renowned for its romantic, healing, and aesthetic qualities, has found a worldwide audience, and her performances include numerous benefits for humanitarian causes. She has toured throughout the United States, Italy, Spain, and Asia.
Her many recognitions include five Grammy® nominations for Best New Age Album, two recent Indie nominations for Best New Age Album, numerous Clios, a Golden Globe, and Keyboard Magazine's "New Age Keyboardist of the Year."
In the eighties and early nineties, Ciani's New York-based commercial production company, Ciani-Musica, Inc., was the leader in the field of sound design and TV spot scoring, creating award-winning music for a host of high profile Fortune 500 clients, including Coca-Cola, Merrill Lynch, AT&T, and General Electric. Additionally, Ciani has scored the Lily Tomlin feature The Incredible Shrinking Woman ; the award-winning feature documentary, Mother Teresa; the feature documentary, Mother Teresa: The Legacy; as well as scoring for the TV daytime serial One Life to Live.
In the early nineties Ciani relocated to northern California to concentrate on her artistic career. In 1995, she established her own record label, Seventh Wave. After many years as an artist on major labels (Atlantic Finnadar, RCA RedSeal, Private Music/Windham Hill/BMG), Ciani felt the need to own and control her own creative work. Seventh Wave has remained an exemplar of the artist friendly independent record label since then.
In addition to her thirteen albums, Ciani has published three books of original piano music through the Hal Leonard Corporation: Suzanne Ciani: New Age Piano, Suzanne Ciani: Dream Songs, and Suzanne Ciani: Turning. Her signature composition, "The Velocity of Love," appears in numerous anthologies of romantic music.
Ciani is a graduate of Wellesley College and holds a Masters in Music Composition from U.C. Berkeley.