First thing’s first. If you live in Utah, buy this from The Piano Guys website in the morning, using the cheapest shipping, and you will receive it the next day. At least that’s what happened for me. I was totally surprised, and so glad that I decided to do that instead of driving through two cities to the closest Barnes and Noble. Plus, I got the free “Thank You” album for buying before the 12th. It’s a bunch of songs from the individual artists before they became The Piano Guys.
Now on to the review. This is an all around great album. The songs go great together, and it’s relaxing and fun to listen to. I had quite a time picking my favorite song. At first I was thinking Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends. Then I heard Because of You and became quite torn as to which I liked better. And then Pictures at an Exhibition came on, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it long enough to listen to the other two so I can describe them to you. Hold on. I think I can drag myself away for a bit. Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends is a classic TPG song. It’s on par with Michael Meets Mozart, which is the reason I fell in love with these guys in the first place. Because of You is lighthearted and fun to dance to. It sounds like a combination of all the songs they’ve ever done, while still definitely being its own song.
Now back to Pictures at an Exhibition. It starts off with a quiet intro, that emphasizes the off beat, and immediately breaks into the beautiful Mussorgsky themes. It slowly builds into a full texture of epic celloness emanating from everywhere. Then augments the themes with grandeur, and finishes off with one last, beautiful statement of the main theme. I’m sure my classical training has something to do with why I picked this as my favorite. Mussorgsky is a Romantic composer (roughly the 1800s), which is my favorite musical era. The Romantic Era was the pinnacle moment for the piano, as it had finally evolved into the instrument we know today. This song represents my life at the moment, simple, but sometimes intense and a bit stressful, and through it all, I still love living it.
The other song that brought a smile to my face was Summer Jam. This is obviously composed mainly by Jon Schmidt. It is percussive and contains many of his favorite embellishments, and it is written in his typical rondo-like form. It was so wonderful to hear the style that I grew up learning to play and listened to all the time in this song. I have been wondering if he would ever write anymore the way he used to.
The one song that was just kind of sad was the Vivaldi/Let It Go combination. I didn’t feel like the two really meshed together well. Despite that, my girls still have fun singing with it whenever it comes on, and I enjoy pointing out to them the Vivaldi parts, where “you can tell because the cello is going nuts.” I really enjoyed studying Vivaldi at school. He was a fantastic composer for string instruments, but I don’t connect him with Frozen when I watch or listen to it.