Michael Kollwitz – Serenity: Peaceful Music on the Chapman Stick
Album review by Dyan Garris for New Age CD.com
Michael Kollwitz is a Chapman Stick virtuoso extraordinaire. Kollwitz’s newest release, Serenity: Peaceful Music on the Chapman Stick, is aptly titled. It is, in fact, blissfully peaceful.
For those that aren’t familiar with this unique instrument, or for those who have had the pleasure of hearing it but perhaps didn’t even realize it, the Chapman Stick is a unique 8, 10, or 12 stringed instrument that is somewhat of a combination of a guitar, bass, and possibly a piano in terms of the manner in which it is played.
Michael Kollwitz was one of the first students of Emmett Chapman, the designer and innovator of this fascinating instrument, and Michael studied with Chapman for ten years, honing and mastering his craft.
Kollwitz’s mastery of and seeming “oneness” with the Chapman Stick is evident. Serenity feels effortless and is utterly captivating across its 14 tracks. It’s one hour of sublime, soul-soothing relaxation.
Right from the opening notes on track 1, “Mountain Sanctuary,” the peace and tranquility seep deeply into your heart. This sanctuary is a place you want to visit and perhaps stay for a long while. And why not? Coming in at a little over 5 minutes, “Mountain Sanctuary,” is somewhere that is thoroughly enjoyable to be and there is no need to leave.
With roots both in Hawaii and now in Sedona, Kollwitz paints us a lush landscape in track 2, “Mystic Vista,” that is both timeless and visionary.
Track 3, “Greatest Possible Gift,” is smooth and effortless, like gentle, flowing water, yet with subtle, rich undercurrents.
Reminiscent of a lovely lullaby where cares and worries simply float away, “The Four Pillars,” track 4, invites us like cherished friends into an inner sanctum, and calms the spirit right out of the gate with its tender, melodic structure.
My favorite track on the album is “Joyful Reunion,” which is track 7. It’s wistful and nostalgic, as well as haunting, ethereal, and just plain mesmerizing.
With much more peaceful lusciousness in between, the album winds up with “The Seven Canyons,” track 13, and track 14, “No Hurry, No Worry.” Both are nicely expansive and spacious, perfectly portraying the eternal limitlessness of the soul’s journey.
Magically masterful, Serenity: Peaceful Music on the Chapman Stick is an album to fall in love with. Over and over again.