“Reflection” by Shoshana Michel
“Reflection,” the fourth album by composer and solo pianist, Shoshana Michel, is introspective and thoughtful as the title may imply. But the inner reflection is one of the outer world as well. So, this is not only a simple, shiny mirror, but a pause for reflection on life itself.
One of Shoshana’s great talents is to give us, the listener, the musical gift of being able to “hear a painting.” An illustrative example of this is found in “Soothing the Tempest Within,” where through not only the melody, but through its impeccable cadence and timing, we can actually feel that brewing storm both inside and out. We also have the same in the intriguing and wonderfully composed, “Shooting Stars,” where we can actually see those awesome beams of light streaking magically across the mysterious evening sky.
This talent Shoshana possesses to be able to paint such vivid soundscapes with her instrument, is evident throughout the album and is present in every song. But another track in which this evocation is so stirring is “Time Lapse,” where – even though this is not added as an actual sound element – we can truly hear a clock ticking. It’s an amazing gift, and it’s one of the elements that makes Shoshana’s solo piano music so enticing overall.
Now, let’s look deeper into this interesting mirror where there is so much to see and discover. Here we have 11 tracks and 47 minutes of tuneful reflection. The album opens with the fun and bright, neo-classical, “A New Day.” This is joyful and light, as one might expect. Shining through the song beginning to end is the feeling of happy hope and limitless possibilities. What shall we do with our gift of life today?
“Finding Bliss” is a flowy favorite. This is like a soul-soothing lullaby composed and played directly from the heart. Infinitely joyful. “Bittersweet” is gentle and emotionally moving. A more serious-feeling piece, it is soft and subdued, yet not melancholy in any way. Very likeable.
Two personal favorites on “Reflection” are “Island in the Mist” and “Forever and a Day.” Traveling through the mist we get glimmers and shimmers of a sparkling gem slowly being revealed. Love this one. I want to go there. “Forever and a Day” is uplifting and melodious. This is romantic, flowing, and tender. Let’s go there too.
“The Moon’s Lament” is brilliant. Lightly sprinkled, like sweet sugar, with a “mini” glissando here and there, we have pause through the textures to reflect upon dark and light and a host of other paradoxes if we so choose. Even though we know it’s a lament, there is great beauty here within. This is smooth and lustrous like a creamy pearl. Truly luminous.
The song, “Labyrinth,” is also masterfully composed. Have you ever walked a labyrinth? Doing so, and how you feel being in one, is indeed a matter of perspective. In essence, walking a labyrinth is a spiritual journey, with the labyrinth being a geometric pattern representing wholeness. And it is a representation of a journey that takes us deep into our own center of “beingness” and then back out into the world again. Inside a labyrinth, one might easily feel lost or stuck. But did you know there are no dead ends inside a labyrinth? That’s right. It is not a maze. There is simply one way in to the center and one way out. The labyrinth is a great tool for reflection, so it’s not a surprise to find this particular song title on the album, “Reflection.” While inside a labyrinth how you approach it is up to you. There’s a choice to bustle hurriedly on through or to reflect reverently upon every step on the path. The song, “Labyrinth,” perfectly conveys how one might feel walking through their “labyrinth of life.” It’s quite interesting.
The album closes out with the amiable and graceful, “Through the Eyes of a Child.” This is playful, as one might expect, as well as being as joyful and as fun as when we first entered into this reflection. So, here we’ve come full circle and are ready to go back into a “new day,” which you may easily find yourself wanting to do if you get the whole album. “Reflection” is truly luminous. Excellent solo piano.
Get “Reflection” by Shoshana Michel here: