One of three Cds in Real Music’s Sacred Spa Music Series, Quite Days is my favorite album of the group. A compliation of the most soothing and relaxing pieces from previously released albums, this collection consists of track from 2002 (2 tracks), Kevin Kern (2), Hilary Stagg (3), Michael Hoppe (2), Tim Wheater, Paul Machlis, and Bernard L’Hoir. While calming and quiet, most of the pieces have enough sparkle to keep the album very interesting in the foreground as well as creating a lovely backdrop for other activities or simply unwinding.
Solo Piano Publications
A name that keeps cropping up every now and then courtesy of Real Music’s samplers is Paul Machlis. Also, closely associated with Scottish fiddler, Alasdair Fraser and the classic New Age/Celtic album The Road North, it appeared that delving into the Real Music catalog was necessary. Released in 1998, Greenwoods is clearly an overlooked gem that successfully merges Celtic influences with accessible melodic sensibilities.
If this album was any smoother, it would slide right out of the CD player! Fans of ethereal, uplifting instrumentals and wordless vocals will be in heaven with River of Stars. The melodies are very simple and repetitive, but are beautifully fleshed out with guitar, flute, synthesizers, and piano. Many of the tracks also have twinkling orchestra bells, which are evocative of the “sounds” stars might make. A sweet, gentle mood runs through the whole CD, and the production is impeccable. River of Stars is perfect for relaxation or a quiet dinner.
I have to be honest here and say that I really don’t like most harp music, so my previous experience with Hilary Stagg’s music has only been from Real Music compilation albums. However, this collection is so lovingly crafted and the liner notes are so heartfelt and compelling that it is impossible to not get caught up in this CD.
Healer of Hearts is a double-CD collection of The Best of The Black and White Series and The Best of Original Compositions. Pianist Danny Wright made new recordings of previously-released material from a career that began in 1986, and assembled a very impressive collection of his gentle, evocative pieces. I’m really glad that the originals and covers are on different CDs, as I vastly prefer Wright’s original compositions.