From the Best New Age Artists

Robin Spielberg | By Way of the Wind | Album Review

Robin spielberg By Way of the Wind ALBUM COVER art“By Way of the Wind” by Robin Spielberg

Album Review by New Age CD and New Age Notes Radio Staff

Robin Spielberg is one of America’s premiere composers and pianists, having released 24 recordings, including original work for solo piano and piano ensemble, albums for holiday, Americana music, music from the “Great American Songbook,” lullabies, and her unique covers of nostalgic love songs.

Robin has toured extensively throughout the United States and Asia, written an award-winning memoir on the realities of being an independent touring artist, and works tirelessly to advocate for music therapy and educate the public on the links between music and mental health.  She has given a TEDx talk on the transformative power of music and dozens of keynote addresses on the subject.

Her new album, the utterly spectacular, “By Way of The Wind,” is her symphonic debut, and is a quite ambitious project which embodies the work of a lifetime and is what we can call a “classical crossover.” The album is 11 tracks of original compositions, each fully orchestrated (orchestrations by Louis Anthony deLise) and designed to resonate with today’s contemporary audiences. Each composition connects to the theme of the human journey through this world, addressing the courage and resilience needed to thrive.

Available as a physical CD as well as a digital release, buyers of the physical CD receive a deluxe, limited-edition package, signed and numbered, and containing a 20-page booklet of Robin’s writings detailing the inspiration behind the music. The booklet includes poems, quotes, keepsake postcards, along with a “bird-angel” enamel pin designed specifically for the project.

Of this music and her own life, Robin says, “I am carried through life by way of the wind. Sometimes I am gliding like a bird, allowing myself to be borne by a breeze. On still days, I am in control of my flight, and I find myself working with intention and direction. On fortuitous days, the wind is at my back, guiding me where I need to go. And of course, there are times when I am flying against the wind and seem to get nowhere at all. ‘By Way of the Wind’ is music that reflects how we are carried, pushed, challenged, and guided through life by unseen forces.”

So, not surprisingly then, this outstanding album opens with uplifting and delightful, “Flying.” The melodies are outrageously beautiful, as are the orchestrations, giving us a feeling of freedom and lightness. This is just over 7 minutes of heaven, where from above, we have a whole different perspective of everything.

Again, gorgeously melodic, with twinkling piano and wonderful flowing strings, “Wherever You Go” draws us further into the journey. I can tell you, it’s impossible to pick a favorite on this album. You will want to get the whole thing. This is some of the most beautiful music you will ever hear. Ever.

Now, there is an absolutely amazing story entwined with, “A Song for Jennie,” which is the very heart of this album.  After you read the story in the liner notes and then listen to the piece, I guarantee it will make you weep at the same time you feel your personal resilience growing.

All of life is cyclical and an ending is always a beginning. “Circle of Life” is a tribute to a friend of Robin’s whose brother passed away in a car accident. The sweet and gentle flow of this piece reminds us that all our interactions have meaning whether we realize it or not. Just beautiful all through.

The whimsical and cinematic, “Return of the Knight” is a soundtrack speaking to King Arthur’s return to Camelot after battle. A real homecoming, the music is jubilant and celebratory.

“In The Arms of the Wind” is a lovely piece Inspired by “The Tale of the Sands,” a Sufi Teaching Story. An enchanting melody with expert orchestrations and scintillating piano invites us to gain perspective on how we overcome obstacles and how transformation occurs. This is just delightful with every nuance of wind and water and their “relationship” perfectly depicted.

Do we walk alone on this human journey, or do we walk together? “Walk With Me” invites listeners to “oneness.” The flowing, melodic strings, and piano move wonderfully together in an effortless and timeless dance.

Full of “call and answer” responses, which are truly magnificent, “Ireland: An Orchestral Portrait,” celebrates and captures the awesome grandeur of Ireland’s landscape. Decidedly cinematic and even Celtic in flavor, this is lush and majestic and paints a multi-layered sonic landscape.

This spectacular and outstanding album closes out with a 3-piece opus, “New Freedom Suite” as 1, 2, and 3. Number 1 is “Memories of Utopia,” 2 is ‘Soldier’s journey,’ and 3 is “One Step Closer.” The melodies for each Suite were conceived over the course of three decades. “Memories of Utopia” begins with a sweet and wistful melody and then builds beautifully to a triumphant middle and conclusion as hope springs eternal for a peaceful society.  We are left with a supremely optimistic feel.

In one way, we are all soldiers of sorts, making our way through this journey of life. We don’t know what will happen, but we step forth in faith. This piece begins with soft horns making a traditional “call to arms,” and a gathering of soldiers preparing for whatever lies ahead. As in life, we begin with a certain hope in our hearts. The song carries that vibe of confidence as it goes along. The 3rd and final movement in the Suite “One Step Closer,” speaks to the resilience of the human spirit, no matter what obstacles we face along the way. Piano is great here, as are the underlying drumbeats and accompanying orchestration. As we carry on, we are invited to remember that we are one step closer to our dreams, goals, and visions with each passing day. We are left on that happy note with an album we never, ever want to end.

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