Reviews 02-26-2006 


Music Reviews 



Falling Forwards EP

by Alex Routledge

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“Falling Forwards” is British pianist/composer Alex Routledge’s debut recording. An EP comprised of three original solo piano tracks, the music is geared for a classical music audience and is receiving airplay on independent classical music stations in the UK. Routledge’s sound is unique, and while his approach is classical, he has his feet planted firmly in the 21st century. In his mid-twenties, Routledge has been a musician for quite some time, formerly in rock bands. My only real criticism of these three tracks is that the piano sounds electronic with a lot of reverb so that it sounds kind of like it was recorded in a cavern. The intricacy of the music would be much better served on a good acoustic grand. The three tracks are reflective, a little moody, and quite effective. The mood stays consistent throughout the EP, and the three pieces are similar enough to be closely related. I would say that much of the music is probably improvised, but I could be wrong about that. The three pieces are “Forget to Breathe,” “Falling Forwards,” and “Some Day.” Fluid and unstructured, the pieces have recurring themes, but otherwise go where they may - quite an enjoyable little thirteen-minute journey. All three tracks are free and exploratory, emotionally charged, and on the dark side. Routledge’s playing technique is impressive and expressive, although the instrument flattens it out a little. Since this EP is an introduction to Alex Routledge’s work, the piano can be improved as he progresses. Obviously a very talented pianist and composer, it will be interesting to follow his career.

At the present time, the “Falling Forwards” EP is only available from in the UK. The artist’s website is

Reviewed by Kathy Parsons reprinted from Mainly Piano on Ambient Visions



Symphony of Light

by Frederic Delarue

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“Symphony of Light” is pianist/keyboardist Frederic Delarue’s fourth solo instrumental album and just might be his best work to date. In the liner notes, Delarue says that the album can be described as “when the great composers come play with Delarue.” Blending original music with phrases from classical pieces, Delarue has created a collection of music that is warm, often joyful, and very serene. He mentioned to me that the classical music came to him as he was working on the album in a natural flow, and he had to figure out what the pieces were after the music was created. An interesting process!

A near-death experience at the age of twelve transported Delarue to the presence of angels who continue to guide his life and his music. ”Symphony of Light” was inspired by and dedicated to “The Angel On the San Jacinto Mountain,” an image etched into the rock by natural phenomena near Delarue’s Palm Springs, CA home. The music was recorded on Korg and Kurzweil keyboards, and includes full orchestrations, ethereal voices, and various sound effects, all to wonderful service of the music.

“Heart Illumination” begins the musical journey with an ambient, floating piece that caresses the mind and strokes the imagination. Gentle voices draw you into a dreamlike state, and you feel as though you are flying very slowly through deep space. “Beauty of Forgiveness” hints at the Pachelbel “Canon” and contains snippets of “Fur Elise.” This one makes me smile with its gentle warmth and touch of humor. “Flying Over the Canyons” begins with a simple melody on guitar with voices in the background. Layers are added as the piece builds. Piano, strings, and rhythms fill out the shimmering melody to perfection. “The Sounds of Intensity” hints at Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” with piano, strings, and other keyboard sounds - a very powerful and emotional piece. I love “The Scents of Joy,” which is based on Mozart’s Symphony #40. Strings and piano fill this piece with sunshine, joy, and a touch of whimsy. “Symphony of Light” is a little darker and more intense. A very full, rich sound gives it a cinematic sweep. Piano, strings, voices, and keyboard effects again create the sense of floating slowly and very peacefully through vast open space - gorgeous! “A Concert From Heaven” is another delight, combining musical phrases from a host of classical composers that include Grieg’s “Morning”, a Strauss waltz or two, and perhaps a little Tchaikovsky along with others. “A Morning At the Spring” is a lovely variation on Schubert’s “Ave Maria” with birds and bubbling water in the background - tranquility set to music. “The Angel On the Mountain” is a beautiful piano-based piece that is a lovely tribute to the inspiration for this album. The CD closes with “The Emotion of Love,” a gently flowing piece that you can just sort of wrap around yourself to feel all cozy and contented.

“Symphony of Light” is a wonderful musical experience from start to finish. Frederic Delarue is a master of this kind of soothing, healing music - a feel-good experience with some substance. His CDs are available at and Recommended!

Reviewed by Kathy Parsons reprinted from Mainly Piano on Ambient Visions


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