This is Japanese pianist and computer Takeuchi’s fourth CD. She’s joined by Eugene Friesen on cello and Si-Jing Huang on violin. The music is neo-classical is expresses different moods and states of mind associated with natural landscapes and weather. The CD was produced by Will Ackerman.

Takeuchi is a graduate of Berklee College of Music. The music on the album is a blend of neo-classical and film-score genres which gives a larger scope. The three musicians work on an intimate scale when performing the pieces. The string players are exceptionally gifted.

Tracks:
1.    Frozen Lake
2.    Green Field
3.    Blue Falls
4.    White Mountains
5.    Gray Clouds
6.    Remembrance
7.    Ocean Wind
8.    Nostalgia
9.    Into the Storm
10.    Sparkling Sky
11.    Colorful Mind
12.    Morning Light

This album is wonderful for relaxing background music. It is thoughtful and beautifully produced. However, it didn’t pass my “play in the car” CD test! As a captive audience, the first few songs were great but I was bored by the second half of the album. The piano textures are mostly arpeggio-style playing. The string players are limited to melodic material and are never used to provide textures augmenting piano melodies. The chord progressions are a little monotonous, too. Maybe this is a deliberate choice to remain within thematic parameters, or maybe not. It’s probably unnoticeable when listeners are busy or talking while playing this in the background.

That said, it’s an exceptional recording featuring stellar musicianship. Fans will certainly want to acquire this CD.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Marika Takeuchi
released March 30, 2016
12 tracks, 47:05 min. Amazon mp3 download $9.49

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