Victor Spiegel | Evocation

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AUSTRALIA - New South Wales

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Classical: New Age Latin: Flamenco Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Evocation

by Victor Spiegel

Victor uses ragas, flamenco, gamelan and jazz to create elegant, fiery, instrospective piano pieces.
Genre: Classical: New Age
Release Date: 

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1. How Many Eyes
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5:28 $0.99
2. Sunrise on the Blue Nowhere
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8:03 $0.99
3. Taxim
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2:49 $0.99
4. Raga in E
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6:58 $0.99
5. Spain
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6:23 $0.99
6. American Gamelan
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6:56 $0.99
7. Soon Enough
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7:09 $0.99
8. Raga in C
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6:31 $0.99
9. Shekinah
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6:50 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Victor Spiegel,
Evocation
(Mangoid, 2002)

Apart from being the driving force behind the ensemble Darvish, Victor Spiegel performs individually. The CD Evocation is a recording of his solo piano compositions and, like the self-titled Darvish album, this is vintage Spiegel. Not only is he a pianist with astounding technical abilities, his interpretations are also highly original and sophisticated. Spiegel's versatility as a composer and arranger is further underscored by his apparent genius for incorporating a wide variety of musical styles from around the world. For Evocation he has borrowed from jazz, American folk, Turkish, Spanish, Jewish as well as mainstream western classical music traditions.

The most amazing piece on this album is an adaptation of Indonesian gamelan music. Originally performed by a metallaphone orchestra consisting of a plethora of percussionists, Spiegel pulls it off to play a piano solo combining blues with gamelan scales. The result is a truly amazing blend that has retained an authentic Indonesian sound. In particular the central part of "American Gamelan," where the tropical tones, splashing off Spiegel's piano like raindrops, will transpose the listener's imagination to a temple courtyard on the Indonesian island of Bali at the high of the monsoon season.

The CD's opening number is a statement of Spiegel's spiritual approach to music. Aside from his work as a professional musician and composer, he is also a practicing mystic. With "How Many Eyes" he reflects on the unique perspective that every human being has of both his inner self and the surrounding world. Consequently, experiences evoke different responses in every one of us. In that sense the composition is a celebration of the essence of individualism. This theme is further elaborated in the next track, "Sunrise on the Blue Nowhere," which is also covered on the Darvish album and recalls a transpacific sailing voyage.

Is there a connection between Spiegel's adherence to a mystical order of medieval Ottoman origin and his choice of a Turkish tone pattern for the composition "Taxim"? Although he himself has reservations regarding the "barbaric" piano's suitability for illustrating the delicateness of Turkish and Persian lute music, I think Spiegel's contemplative rendition gives the listeners more than a fleeting impression of the depth and subtlety of Middle Eastern spiritual music. Further examples of synthesizing East and West in music are given in the two Indian raga compositions on this album. With his relentless dedication to practice, Spiegel learned to play sitar in order to get a real feeling for raga composition.

I especially want to mention "Raga in C." The penultimate track of Evocation fits seamlessly with the preceding number, a Mahler-inspired composition for which the Sufi master has given way to the maestro. To describe "Soon Enough," words like "lyrical," "haunting" and "subdued" come to mind. These two numbers are sufficient proof that Kipling's saying "East is East, and West is West and never the twain shall meet" does at least not apply to music.

At the other end of the spectrum stands "Spain," a temperamental and rhythmic number in which the keys almost explode under the pianist's dexterity. Another contrast is provided by the album's closing track, "Shekinah." Although referring to a Jewish blessing this composition has a tempo more reminiscent of Africa. With this Spiegel shows again his ability to fuse seemingly juxtapositioned styles.

The term "evocation" has a range of connotations, and like the word, this album arouses our imagination, stirs up emotions and raises the spirit, calling on the listener to open up his mind to a multiplicity of impressions.

- Rambles
written by Carool Kersten
published 15 February 2003


Reviews


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Harry Woodward, Santa Cruz Phoenix,

he encompasses an incredibly broad spectrum of sounds and styles. Yet there is n
Music flows from Victor in a many-colored stream. Ranging from solo piano concerts to acoustic jazz and electric rock groups to string quartets and scores for modern dance, he encompasses an incredibly broad spectrum of sounds and styles. Yet there is no sense of straining for effect. Everything he does, in whatever medium, seems to have a natural flow and organic unity, leavened with a delightful sense of humor. Spiegel is not trying to be a modern Renaissance man. He just is one.
Much of his music seems to be an ever-evolving synthesis of jazz and Western classical with Persian and Indian music. This makes for a rich mixture difficult to classify.
Another characteristic of Victor’s music is its lyrical quality. Whatever style emerges, there is a strong lyrical "lift" to it. The composer seems like a man with wisdom in his eye but spring in his heart.
Spiegel is a true musical zany, constantly fusing humor and beauty to make a new kind of crazy sense. In his solo piano concerts, a passage of gorgeous romanticism may be followed by eerie sound effects created by placing glass ashtrays inside the piano (they emanate strange harmonics when struck by the vibrating piano-wires). Victor does not believe in deliberate obscurity, however. He doesn’t like to lose people but believes, "the musician acts an interpreter or guide."

Mary Fitzpatrick, Santa Cruz Good Times

Spiegel’s versatile talent is firmly based on years of study and practice, and t
It is impressive to watch and hear Spiegel play seven instruments in one concert, and make dramatic yet smooth transitions between them. And it is no less interesting to be entertained by him on a simple bamboo flute, or on a single piano, on which he can sound like Keith Jarrett, Vince Guaraldi, or even Randy Newman.
Spiegel’s versatile talent is firmly based on years of study and practice, and takes flight from his own excellent compositions, which range from string quartets, to fully orchestrated symphonies, to short songs with funny lyrics. Rather than play one song after another, Spiegel conceives of his performances as song cycles. Not only does each movement within an individual concert contribute to a unifying theme, but each of his recent Santa Cruz performances have been like a map to the next concert.

Tamara D. Turner

A place to rest your head and mind in this warm CD that brings integrity and sub
At last, a new age musician who recognizes the basic need for structure in music. With his warm and heartfelt jazz style, you'll find a place to rest your heart and mind in these songs. Unlike so many new age piano CD's that set you adrift on a harmonic river and never come back for you, he will take you on a relaxing, mesmerizing, yet musically intelligent journey of peace, respite, and focus. With a real ear for ballads and memorable melodies full of heart and substance, he knows that when we want to kick back and relax with soothing music and a glass of red, we also want to feel all of life present at that moment, the emotion and beauty of life that only music and capture and reflect.