12 Songs, 1 Hour 2 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

CandiceMichelle1 ,

Alluringly graceful, contemplative solo-piano

Matthew Labarge is a pianist and composer who’s released several previous albums. Described as his “most intimate and personal to date”, Labarge’s latest offering, entitled Spiriti, features twelve reflective solo-piano compositions spanning approximately sixty-three minutes. Appropriately depicted by its beautiful artwork, the music herein is likewise contemplative and oftentimes reverent in nature.

“Spiriti” is a thoughtful opener that gently moves along at a moderate-pace in the mid-range, as Labarge injects bolder touches along the way. “Entrance” ensues with a sustained and flowing pattern that gives the composition an overall glistening, liquid-like effect, and is one of my favorite pieces on the album. Equally compelling is the aptly-named “Each Quiet Sound”, which conveys a sense of comforting solitude. Minor-key and subtle throughout, it’s easy to envision a lone man playing his piano in the kind of spacious and dusky-lit hall so beautifully depicted by the album’s artwork with only a soft ray of light pouring in through the window. Next is “Between the Stars”, a piece that appropriately begins with a twinkling effect in the higher register, until gradually making its way down into the lower register where it seemingly coalescences. Following next is “Children’s Song”, a carefully-paced number that could perhaps be described as a ‘classical lounge’ type of number. “Breeze from the Courtyard Garden” then ensues at a slower pace with stark opening chords that give way to deeply resonating notes throughout.

“Bells and Dwindling Light” begins with slowly repeating bell-like notes in a quietly understated fashion, with additionally solemn chords eventually lending more fullness to the composition. Next, “Six Hundred Year’s” comparatively lightens the mood a bit with its warmer essence of gentle brightness. “Elegy” continues along in this mode, adding fuller and bolder chords that ripple and resonate throughout. Upping the pace up even more, “Kindness” is perhaps the most dramatic and upbeat piece on the album, showcasing a gently galloping quality along its course that eventually comes to a gentle close. Quieting things down is “Weightless Timeless”, a more minimal piece characterized by piano droplets and sparse chords that effectively convey a feeling of suspension and formlessness. And finally, “Love Song” concludes the album with a warmly radiant melody that’s a bit more straightforward and simple.

An alluringly graceful album from start to finish, listeners especially who love contemplative and classically-infused piano music will likely enjoy Spiriti immensely!

KathyPiano7 ,

From MainlyPiano

One of the amazing things about the world of the arts and artists is that artists are often able to take a life experience, be it good, bad or indifferent, and turn it into a single piece of music, an album, a painting or drawing, a dance, a sculpture, a poem or novel, or any other creative outlet. Another inspiring aspect of this process is that by getting inside of that experience and creating something new with it, the artist is often healed and can also bring healing to others with the honesty and sincerity of his or her work - even if the actual experiences are entirely different. Such is the case with Matthew Labarge’s solo piano "Spiriti," his sixth album and his most personal and intimate work to date. Labarge explains: “With this album, I wanted to tell a single continuous story from beginning to end - one that was obviously of a single source. To that end, I chose several themes and motives, and have woven them throughout the musical story, appearing in different pieces and different contexts along the way. The listener who takes the time to listen to the album in its entirety will, by the music's end, realize that they had unwittingly joined me for a spiritual journey.” As esoteric as this might sound, Labarge’s playing is expressive and colorful, and the music is very accessible to anyone willing to spend a little time with it.

The twelve tracks were composed over a three-year period and all of them are hauntingly beautiful. I find it interesting that the titles themselves give little specific information about what inspired the music, leaving it to the listener to interpret the meanings or emotions that are expressed. The first few times I listened to the album, I didn’t look at any of the titles, but I still sensed an unfolding story and let my imagination fill in the details. The music itself ranges from almost ambient to gracefully melodic to turbulent (just like life!), and ends with a beautiful “Love Song.” It is impossible to choose my favorite tracks on "Spiriti," as they are all exceptional and, other than the recurring themes, are quite different from each other. Yet all of the pieces are essential to telling the whole story and the album really needs to be listened to from start to finish.

I have enjoyed all of Matthew Labarge’s albums, but "Spiriti" is by far my favorite, and will very likely be one of my favorite albums of 2017. Very highly recommended!!!