Melodic and Fun!
“Narcissus Reflects” is the second installment of pianist Patrick Burke’s “Bullfinch Trilogy,” and a follow-up to his debut, “The Butler’s Bullfinch.” Much like the debut recording, “Narcissus Reflects” is built around melodic pieces that often contain humor and a bit of whimsy. Two of the five tracks are about twelve minutes in duration, and there is a “sneak preview” bonus track at the end with one of the pieces from the third album in the trilogy, “The Calming.” Burke’s music tends to be classically structured, often reminding me of Mozart and Haydn’s direct, not overly-complicated piano music. Burke is also a fine-art photographer from Oregon, and I miss the delightful liner notes from the first album that contained photos that went with the music. I’m sure that was a very expensive goodie, though, and listeners will have to create their own visualizations this time - not a bad thing!
The ironically-named title track opens the CD with an over twelve-minute theme and variations that are sometimes lighthearted and fun, with other themes darker and more reflective. The moods shift between comical, peaceful, melodramatic, and tragic, and the varying playing styles create a very interesting musical journey. I also smile each time the song ends, as it’s not quite over when you think it is. “Pittock Mansion” is a bit more classical with a lovely melody and Alberti bass accompaniment in most of the piece; formal, but full of heart. “Three Chosen Clouds” is a trilogy full of humor and playfulness. “Cloud One: Here They Come,” almost dances out of the CD player. “Cloud Two: The Process,” is a little more sedate and quite graceful. “Cloud Three: The Stroll” has the feeling of movement and a sense of purpose. The three pieces obviously belong together and each contains a bit of the other two. “Park Bench, 4am” has a quiet peacefulness, reflecting the calm coolness of being outside in the middle of the night. “Apple God” clocks in at almost twelve minutes, allowing it to wander around the musical landscape, gathering musical ideas and lacing them together into a linear but cohesive composition. Unlike the opening track, “Apple God” keeps a rather introspective feeling throughout, and parts of the piece have light string embellishments. Another very interesting musical journey!
“Narcissus Reflects” is a very enjoyable album. Its only weakness is the piano itself, which has kind of a flat, electronic sound on some cd players (I tried it on three). Patrick Burke’s music would be better served with a good acoustic piano that conveys more of the nuances in his playing.