I’ve been a big fan of Malkin’s music since I reviewed his terrific Thousand Pieces of Gold over a year ago. An Emmy award winner who has scored many television shows and movies, Gary brings a wealth of thematic genius to this latest in the National Park Series from Real Music.
With The Music of the Great Smoky Mountains, Malkin has managed to capture many of the sounds that have reverberated through the Smoky Mountains over the centuries. He evokes the historical times and events with uncanny brilliance and attention to detail. With sweeping orchestral arrangements, Native American drums, mountain fiddle, solo flutes, and delightful piano and keyboards, indigenous Appalachian musical themes blow softly through the CD like smoke playing tag with autumn’s first raindrops. My favorite tracks include the grand and haunting “Mountain Majesty” with echoes of long ago flowing against a stunningly beautiful orchestration that literally brought tears to my eyes. Then there is “Trail of Tears” evoking, with dignity, grace, and passion, and infamous time in the history of the Cherokee people. “The Innocent Land” is a heartfelt paean to the land with Malkin on keyboards, accompanied by oboe, guitar and cello. Another favorite is “The Courage to Dream” an exquisite orchestral jewel featuring Malkin on piano and a gorgeous violin solo.
As always from Real Music, the cover art is perfect, featuring an astonishing sunset photo of the Smokies. An instant contemporary classic. The Music of the Great Smoky Mountains is Malkin’s best work to date, and an absolute must-have. Real Music and the artists in this series are contributing 10% from the sale of each album to The Resource Protection Fund to protect our magnificent national parks.