Artist Heidi Breyer
Album: Letters From Far Away
Reviewer: RJ Lannan
LETTERS FROM FAR AWAY is a love story that began more than five decades ago across the briny Atlantic. For the world, it was a time of new beginnings. For the lovers it was the birth of something so inexplicable that neither poets with their rhymes, nor philosophers with their thoughts could define it. Until now. It would take extraordinary music to explain it. Enter pianist Heidi Breyer. She takes on the monumental task of telling a story that does not appear in known fairytales, but in the chronicles of the heart. Using her incredible composition skills, she offers not one, but two eleven-track disks of solo piano and its companion instrumental pieces. She takes on the role of bard, storyteller, musician, and singer – a modern day Scheherazade. The contemporary music is twenty-two glimpses into the history of lovers that came from two different worlds and whose devotion was strong enough and endured long enough to build a single world of love. Let us meet the lovers.
The album begins with the song All Good Things (solo). Like voyeurs, we see the lovers from a distance. The music is gentle, unhurried, as if their days stretch along for longer than they deserve. Such is the first blush of love, carefree with the heat is their souls now kindled.
They met every Tuesday. They sat at the table that had a linen tablecloth and enjoyed their tea and biscuits, but really, they enjoyed each other mostly. Heidi’s song, Small Cafe (ensemble) provides the music for a lazy afternoon, where they ignored the crowds that meandered by, because all they saw was the depth of each other’s eyes and it was not too long before they could hear the beating of their hearts.
First impressions are so important, don’t you think? The song First Impressions (solo) is a light-hearted tune that suggests a question or two in between the notes. Was it the spark in her eyes? Was it his smile? Was it the way she curled a long strand of her hair behind her ear? Or was it his air of confidence? These are all question that the heart poses even though the words are never spoken. In this one the music speaks for the spirit.
One of my many favorites on Letters from Far away is a number called Touchstone (ensemble). With the voice ofNoah Wilding and I suspect maybe Heidi as well, it is a celebration that occurs when to two lovers discover that they are made just for each other. The heart does a special little dance when it knows that it has found the one. This is the music you hear when it happens. It is a waltz of hearts.
The original concept of the 16th century English ballad Scarborough Fair (solo) was a challenge to a lover. Heidi’s modern solo piano rendering is a tribute to the hardscrabble life that comes from living on the angry coast of North Yorkshire. The sea constantly crashes against the limestone cliffs that have withstood the test of time and war. It is a difficult place for love to flourish, but love can be persistent too, eroding away doubt. This sweet melody is musical reassurance.
The album closes with Starry Pond (solo). If anything, the tune is bittersweet, but it is an ominous tune, full of promise. I could imagine the stars up in the sky as one lover and the reflection of those same stars in the pond below as another. They inhabit the same universe as a reflection of each other, yet they are the same entity. It was almost sad to listen to the song fade away.
As I listened to the music, I felt as if I was an old friend to this melodic raconteur. I felt privileged to be invited into a very personal world where secrets and dreams flourish. From these remarkable stories, I distilled the fact that love is certainly the glue that holds not only lovers together, but also bonds the generations of those that are the result of that story together. Heidi Breyer’s music is the loving hands and, more importantly, the loving heart that wraps these events together like magic twine. Bounded by love and music, they become timeless.