“Beginning The Journey” is pianist/composer David Glass’ third CD, but his first of original compositions and improvisations. Classically-trained from the age of eight through graduate work, Glass is one of those rare artists who has the playing chops to express whatever he wishes at the piano, making it all sound effortless. After recording Liszt’s transcription of Beethoven’s sixth symphony, Glass felt the need to express himself in a more contemporary and less technical way, and to explore more intimate feelings with his music. The results are a truly exceptional and emotionally rich collection of eleven original pieces that range from buoyant and joyful to very subdued and melancholy, without a weak track on the album. A highly-regarded and much sought-after piano teacher in the SF Bay Area, Glass truly lives and breathes piano, and his own music is pure, natural, and deeply evocative. I have a feeling that David Glass will be one of my favorite artists for a long time to come.
The “Journey” begins with “Leaf On as Stream,” a piece that expresses the joy and freedom of embarking on an adventure. This is one of the livelier and more melodic pieces on the CD, and Glass says that it’s a little different each time he plays it. “Only With You” was improvised in the studio. Quieter and a bit melancholy, the emotions conveyed are open and sincere. “New Beginnings” was inspired by the memory of an old friend from high school. The piece clearly expresses the poignance of the emotions that run so deeply at that time of life - touchingly beautiful! “Echoing Hearts” is a bit lighter, flowing, and very tranquil. “Red Horizon” is simply one of the most gorgeous piano improvisations I’ve ever heard. Full of yearning, passion, and introspection, Glass really pours out his heart on this one. In 8 1/2 minutes, his muse takes him on a journey of the soul and spirit, exploring them in incredible depth. I can’t get enough of this piece! “November Sky” is also a favorite. Inspired while sitting on some rocks by a creek in a redwood forest, it dances with life. “Cry Of the Sea” is a fascinating improvisation that is dark, passionate, and very visual. Avoiding the rolling arpeggios that many pianists use to describe ocean waves, Glass uses deep bass notes in a slow pattern to describe the water, and fast, shimmering scales for sea gulls flying and crying above the surf - an amazing piece! “Sun River” is warm, sunny, and majestic. “Starlight Before Dawn” is the other piece I’ve been obsessed with. Mostly improvised, it is slow, dreamy, and completely at peace. Very spare and open, the treble notes suggest sparkling stars while the deep bass provides deep, dark space. Again emotional to the core, full of longing and yet at one with the universe, this piece and “Red Horizon” are not to be missed! Incredible music!
Sure to be on my Favorites List for 2008, I really hope this is only the beginning of David Glass’ musical journey. In a year of incredible solo piano albums, this is one of the best. Very highly recommended!