Beginning with the final track on this wonderfully elegant collection, is not the usual way of going about reviewing an album, but in this instance makes the various pieces far richer and fuller. Solus comes from the Latin word translating into ‘ a man alone with his thoughts’, which is the basis for the compositions formed and presented on this album. Somewhat sombre and introspective, it is a reflection of what has been and what may, perhaps, be to come.
A man who is classically trained, has studied and achieved a degree in Sacred Music and Piano Performance, Gary Schmidt uses not just his innate talent for composition, but his firm belief that a minimalist approach to music leaves the end product clean, clear and pure; free of clutter so the true intent of the music is there to be enjoyed.
This comes through time and time again with each of the pieces. His performance of Gnossienne’s No 1 and No 2, pieces written by Eric Satie in the late 19th century, illustrate the depth of talent on display and are absolutely beautiful.
Back at the beginning The Beauty We Love is almost a classical introduction to the pure pleasure which is to follow, as When Silence Speaks comes tripping daintily along, underscored by the delicate notes of the cello played by Eugene Friesen, the understanding that a rare and wonderful treat is unfolding is confirmed.
A Waltz in Two Four, where Schmidt is joined by Charlie Bisharat on violin, is slow and dreamy, very special, stepping back to a time when to dance a slow waltz with the one you loved was to be treasured, the memory placed away to be enjoyed time and time again.
Will Ackerman on guitar and Jill Haley on English horn, join Schmidt in You Already Have Wings, which adds an extra dimension to this elegant composition.
Treasure each of the tracks as each one comes from a different place, a differing emotion, a unique moment, blended to create an evocative mixture of peace and relaxation
Produced by the legendary Will Ackerman, his alchemy, added to the richness of the compositions, makes a very, very special mix, which places what can be considered as contemporary new age piano, into a class of its own.