"Suzanne Ciani stirred up waves back in 1982 when she was a pioneering female musician in the then burgeoning electronic New Age music scene. Granted, musicians such as Vangelis had cleared the way to give Ciani a lesser path of resistance, nevertheless her style was uniquely her own. More importantly, she was one of the first females to break the boundaries of this genre. Combining electronic experiments that brought a lush, romantic human feel to it, Ciani's music is a pleasure to listen to. Meditations, as the title would suggest, is an overview of her most dreamy and relaxing compositions making for a very effective introspective retrospective.
Since 1982, Ciani has released a total of thirteen albums, which includes a few compilations and a live album. Her start began with the exciting Private Music label that also included label mate Yanni during his more progressive years. Ciani remained with Private Music for a total of ten years when she concluded her obligations with the label courtesy of her wonderful compilation The Private Music Of Suzanne Ciani. For some strange reason this has been the only disc that I have owned to date. I am not sure why, as it has been a constant visitor to my CD player.
In 1994, Ciani chose to take greater artistic and business control and formed her label, Seventh Wave, and released her eighth album Dream Suite. This album also represented another departure of musical sorts that included a 70-member orchestra. Despite this bold move, it did not dilute her ability to continue composing some fine material that resulted in a Grammy Award Nomination for Best New Age Album.
Now, twenty years since her groundbreaking freshman offering Seven Waves, Ciani presents us with another "best of" that focuses on the theme of contemplation and thoughts of peace. While I am not familiar with all of her music, there are many songs that have been permanent residents on the WAVE stations that have ultimately become smooth jazz formats. Yet despite this unfortunate transformation of programming formats, Ciani still receives airplay courtesy of her most popular songs such as the very gorgeous "The Velocity Of Love." Equally as recognizable is the Jeremy Lubbock assisted "Go Gently," which is as evocative and stirring as the former. Both are obviously in need of representation and are accounted for here.
Other Ciani favorites include "Meeting Mozart and "Berceuse" that both embrace classical influences. Of course, they too, deserve to be present on any Ciani compilation. While on the subject of classical influences, there is the refined arrangement of "Bel Canto" or perhaps the more grand and dramatic approach courtesy of "Full Moon Sonata." In utter contrast, the electronic experimentation of Ciani's early days are explored courtesy of "The Third Wave," "Lumiere" and the lengthy "Lay Down Beside Me." All three songs were amassed from her first three studio albums. Either musical approach has a soothing equality that will transport you to a place of peace and tranquility.
It has been twenty years since the Queen of electronics started her reign. And while Meditations is not truly a "best of," it does represent a solid overview of this diva of Contemporary Instrumental music. Perhaps her next project will reflect completely new material and a new era of this well-established and most respectable musician. For those of you not familiar with this diva, this is a great place to introduce yourself to the private, peaceful and palatable music of Ciani."
- by Michael Debbage
Wind and Wire
"Ok hot shot, pop quiz. The difference between Ciani and say, Brickman, explain. Brickman comes from jingles and plays from the head and with heart but never loses sight of the fact that he's an entertainer. Ciani, also form the jingle world plays from the head and heart, inspiring while she entertains as well. This retrospective that shows off the award gilded side of her introspective works is the kind of date a stressed out adult needs to be able to call on. Not set up as a greatest hits, this warm collection is certain to become an alt.adult staple. Well done."
-MIDWEST RECORD RECAP
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
"Meditations" is a beautiful collection of fourteen of Suzanne Ciani's most peaceful and relaxing works, spanning her 20-year career and taken from ten of her masters. It is not intended as a "best of" collection in the usual sense, and is more of a thematic collection. The album is seamless, and the pieces work wonderfully together, creating a restful and soothing state in which to let the mind wander and perhaps drift off to sleep. Selections go as far back as "Seven Waves," Ciani's first major release (1982 in Japan, 1984 in the US) up through "Pianissimo III" in 2001. Ciani's early work was as a pioneer in the electronic music field, and "The Third Wave," "The Velocity of Love," "Lay Down Beside Me," "L'Azzurro," and "Lumiere" are from that era - it's so good to hear these pieces again! "Inverness" and "Go Gently" are also older pieces, but Ciani used the beautiful versions from her "Live" album with the Wave, updating them a bit. Most of the other pieces are from her solo piano "Pianissimo" albums and the combination of electronic and acoustic selections is fascinating. Suzanne Ciani has been one of my favorite artist/composers for many years, and this is an outstanding collection even if you have all of her earlier releases. Very highly recommended!
- Kathy Parsons
Solo Piano Publications
Suzanne Ciani is a composer, recording artist, and pioneer in the field of electronic music and sound design. She is best loved for her 14 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. Her music, reknowned for its romantic, healing, and aesthetic qualities, has found a rapidly growing international audience, and her performances include numerous benefits for humanitarian causes.
Currently Ciani resides in Northern California where, in 1995, she established her own record label, Seventh Wave. Ciani felt the need to own and control her own creative work. "In many ways, this label represents the culmination of the long journey of my evolution as a recording artist," says Ciani.
In the eighties and early nineties, in order to finance her recording projects, Ciani brought her expertise to Madison Avenue. Her 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', and 'Mother Teresa', as well as scoring for the TV daytime serial 'One Life to Live'.
In the early nineties Ciani re-located to northern California to concentrate on her artistic career from her sea-side studio. She has toured throughout the United States, Italy, Spain, and Asia.
Her many recognitions include five Grammy nominations for Best New Age Album, an Indie nomination for Best New Age Album, numerous Clios, a Golden Globe, and Keyboard Magazineâs "New Age Keyboardist of the Year."
Ciani is a graduate of Wellesley College and holds a Masters in Music Composition from the University of California at Berkeley.