Passionate, almost discordant but wholehearted, Virginia introduces Stephen Wallacks first solo piano album Chapters, written to relate to some of the many chapters of his life, chapters that have found expression in music.
The work is energetic and it is very easy to understand the powerful pull of the movie influences Wallack so enjoys for the drama, rich canvas and scope of the emotion that can be created on the keyboard. Such a piece is Oceans, running for 6:29 minutes and evoking the roiling tumult of the massive oceans of the world as they roil and pound with deep sound onto the shores, once done, gently rolling up along sand or over the rocks, to return once again to the watery depths.
Full of slow majesty, Trains brings back the steam engines long gone from the tracks as they set out on their journey, building up a head of steam, ready to charge off down the track full of life, energy, power and magnificence.
In a very different mood Chicago is full of trills and back beat, evoking as so many of the tracks do, a time and place of special memories, vibrant, reflective and fun; memories of a city that never rests, full of colour and life.
With a complete change of pace comes Wedding Song, a piece he wrote to his wife for their wedding day, full of love and hope for their life together which is beginning to unfold, commencing with this special day.
Lilting along is Holiday, relaxed, unassuming and almost happy to be able to be set free from the bounds of everyday expectations; to be able to enjoy the moment, the fresh landscape of change and enjoyment no matter how temporary. Great fun!
Archer is a piece written in dedication to the passing of his friend Archer; a rich, strong, passionate piece showcasing the enduring quality of true friendship, always there, never to be forgotten.
Wallack sees music as a catalyst to change and considers that as a musician, ‘if his music can offer solace, reflection, or offers a pathway to feel something new, fresh and vibrant’, that is very powerful.
As a first solo piano release Chapters is an interesting and different work which falls outside some of the more established perimeters but is strong, enjoyable and immensely heartfelt in the composition and execution.