Release: December 8, 1999 Label: StoneSound Tracks: 12
Etched In Stone was a musical rehearsal that has taken on a life of its own. If you've got a moment, I'll tell you about it. But first, pick any song from the selection on the left to set the mood...
The making of this album began with an old acoustic grand piano (1885 Steinway Model C) in historic Marblehead, Massachusetts. The piano is on the third floor of the King Hooper Mansion, built in 1728, and has the spirits of an almost 300-year old building (yes, spirits).
The night was a typical October night (October 9, 1999), and I had spent the day with my family helping my father arrange his hand carved slate sculptures on the third floor of the Hooper Mansion. He is a stone sculptor who specializes in slate reliefs, and had an exhibit that began the following day (check out his work at http://www.danielzampino.com).
As a member of the association, and a trusted friend of the Executive Director of the building at the time, I was able to hold onto the key overnight. After finishing arranging the stone sculptures, I brought some of my personal digital audio recording equipment to the piano at the Hooper Mansion.
I knew that I wanted to make a piano album. I had no songs arranged. I had spent all of my energy setting up the art exhibit, and then the recording equipment. Where to start...
So, I did what I do best. I sat down at the piano, and started playing it. I was inspired by the wonderful art pieces surrounding me, and once the music began, the building became "alive". After that, the music flowed. I saw images of the sea, and of rain and snow, of mountains, of clouds, and dancing lights (and no, I do not use drugs, ever). I do, however, connect with my spiritual side when I create music.
At the end of this session (running from 9 PM to 2 AM), I recorded 18 individual pieces of music. I kept 12 for the album. From where they came, I really do not know. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did creating them.
The reason I say this album was an experiment is because it was my first time creating a CD from beginning to end, and also I played the piano in ways that I have never before, or since, done. On this album, I experimented with the ability of the piano to make unique sounds that integrated directly into the music. For example, at times, I played the strings of the piano (in several different ways). At other times, I used one hand to mute the strings, while the other played the piano keys. Sometimes, I go back and listen to some of the songs, and I have no idea how they were performed.
This album cannot be recreated, so here it is. The piano performances are not flawless, I will admit, so if you are looking for perfect classical piano, this is not going to do it for you. These pieces are unrehearsed, and were improvised in their entireties while they were being performed/written. Completely winged.
If you meditate, create art, drive or commute, write, enjoy fine dining, or the like, this album is for you. I encourage you to listen to the sample pieces. Feel free to leave some comments or send me an email.
Thank you for your support,
Here is a little about each song:
1. Drifting Tide - This composition paints the picture of the sea meeting the rocky shores of northern New England.
2. Stormy Sea - As a front moves in, the ocean becomes turbulent, and the sea begins to churn. It resolves with the drifting tide.
3. Close Your Eyes - To enjoy this one, simply close your eyes and relax.
4. Ode to Jarrett - Inspired by the Koln Concert performed in 1975, this song is a tribute to the piano great Keith Jarrett.
5. Winter Weather - In the beginning, rain begins to trickle down. The weather worsens and sheets of rain pour down while the wind begins to pick up intensity. Finally, a cold front moves in and the chilled wind diminishes to leave lightly falling snow abound.
6. Cathedral of the Pines - Inspired by the Cathedral of the Pines in southern New Hampshire. A wedding march, perhaps?
7. Take Me Away - This is a variation of one of Adam's first practice compositions, and has a nice, upbeat feel. Jazzy.
8. MezzoForte - This emotional song begins slowly, and builds with intensity.
9. Stay - A solemn piece, this composition is short and simple.
10. King Hooper's Odyssey - Recorded at the King Hooper's Mansion in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Built in 1728, some say the building is alive...
11. Sea Chanty - The song was composed onto the recording heard here, but its inspiration is still a mystery. Perhaps the spirits of the Hooper?
12. Circle of Life - A geometric composition that circles through every key twice before resolving.