Ann Sweeten | Grey Sky And Bittersweet

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New Age: Neo-Classical Easy Listening: Adult contemporary Moods: Featuring Piano
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Grey Sky And Bittersweet

by Ann Sweeten

A richly rewarding listen full of the passion, melodic sensibility and technical proficiency for which she is known. "This is a brilliant recording. " Will Ackerman
Genre: New Age: Neo-Classical
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Water Diamonds
4:30 $0.99
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2. Looking Back
5:09 $0.99
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3. Dawn on Red Mountain
4:47 $0.99
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4. Autumn's Last Caress
4:04 $0.99
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5. Grey Sky and Bittersweet
4:44 $0.99
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6. Adrift
4:53 $0.99
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7. Forgotten Summer
3:55 $0.99
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8. A Winter's Reverie
3:54 $0.99
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9. Eclipse
5:46 $0.99
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10. Rainbow Moon
6:07 $0.99
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11. November Firelight
4:58 $0.99
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12. Falling, Still
4:26 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
GREY SKY & BITTERSWEET DEBUTS AT #2 ON THE NAR RADIO CHARTS

NOMINATED BEST INSTRUMENTAL PIANO ALBUM
2007 NAR LIFESTYLE MUSIC AWARDS

"Ann Sweeten possesses a remarkable talent. A musician whose extensive classical training is immediately apparent, she is also someone who writes from a great emotional depth. As her producer it is a joy to hear someone who exploits the entire potential of the piano, finding both dynamics and beauty in all 88 keys. Her pieces have a broad stylistic range and yet create a cohesive program of music very distinctively hers. This is a brilliant recording from start to finish."
William Ackerman

"Sweeten has never sounded better." Wind & Wire, KFAI-FM

"The music bears hints of the musical masters...a blessing of sound." The Phoenix

"I am struck by the sheer magnificence of Sweeten's compositions." New Age Retailer

BIOGRAPHY

After nearly 20 years of enamoring audiences on the Concert stage and on Radio/Internet Airwaves, Ann Sweeten’s signature style is recognized world-wide and now her new album, Where Butterflies Dance is without question her most ambitious and successful to date. Will Ackerman, co-producer, had this to say: “There is no greater compliment I can give any musician than to say they have their own artistic voice. They are uniquely themselves and bring something utterly their own to the world. Ann Sweeten is one of those rare musicians. The grace one associates with Ann’s performance has been matched by what I believe are the best melodies of her career. At a time when many artists might choose to coast on their notoriety, Ann has raised the bar considerably and we, the listeners, are the beneficiaries of her ambition and skill. Really brilliant.”

One of the most decorated pianists of the past decade with 7 previous albums all ranking in the Top 5 NAR and ZMR Radio Reports, Sweeten is also one of the most played modern instrumentalists in North America. A truly well-rounded individual and artist, Ms. Sweeten is a staunch environmentalist, animal activist and vegetarian. In addition to her Concert and Recording career, she is also a professional actress/singer/dancer with Actor’s Equity Association. Ann Sweeten is herself a Breast Cancer survivor twice over and is involved with the Arts in Healthcare Initiative.
Sweeten’s journey in the performing arts began at the age of 6 in both Music and Ballet in Westfield, NJ. She received a Hammond Organ for Christmas that year after showing interest in keyboards and was soon to master it, though the first year she had to stand to reach the pedals. For her ninth Christmas, she received a Baldwin Piano and soon began intensive study with Russian-born Concert Pianist David Sokoloff. Under his tutelage, she learned to play the music of the great masters. She sites Sokoloff as her greatest mentor, whose influence in developing her technique and in encouraging her musicality, was paramount. All during these years, Sweeten was also dancing the classic ballets (Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Sleeping Beauty) with a Regional Ballet Company in NJ. A Dean’s list scholar throughout academia, Sweeten earned a B.A. from Smith College in foreign languages, graduating Cum Laude, and continued study in Paris and later at the Boston Conservatory.

Sweeten did a brief two year stint as Female Front and lyricist to the Pop/Rock Band : FALLOUT. Then she began appearing on Cruise Ships, in Cabaret Clubs and Resorts playing and singing a wide range of material including Jazz, Pop, Folk, New Age and Broadway music. Sweeten began composing around 1989 in the midst of her Musical Theatre Career, starring in such roles as Aldonza (Man of La Mancha) Sister Amnesia (Nunsense) Miss Mona (Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) and Velma Kelly (Chicago). When she started introducing her own original material to her set lists, the response was overwhelming. In 1997, Sweeten released her debut album, “Prism”. By Sweeten’s third album, “Reflections” (2000), her music was selling on listening stations at major record chains (Borders Books & Music, Sam Goody’s) weekly by the hundreds. Fans began to write in depth of the effect of Sweeten’s music on their lives, speaking of the music as hope, as giving the power of healing or a way of finding peace. She has stated “the fact that my music touches people so strongly is the greatest reward I receive from my music and I have been moved to tears by the personal stories people have shared with me.” Having written over 100 musical scores to date, Sweeten is also author to all of her albums’ liner notes and is a poet in her own right. In 2008, Steinway and Sons welcomed Sweeten into its prestigious international roster of Steinway Artists, touting her, a true Renaissance woman.

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Reviews


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Kathy Parsons

A Powerful and Gorgeous Album!
“Grey Sky and Bittersweet” is pianist/composer Ann Sweeten’s seventh CD over a ten-year period. Marking a turning point in her professional life, Sweeten says in the liner notes that she has “discovered new levels and a much heightened nuance in both composition and performance.” Produced by award-winning artist Will Ackerman (founder of Windham Hill Records) and recorded at Ackerman’’s Imaginary Road Studio on a magnificent Steinway grand, Sweeten’s soulful piano is occasionally accompanied by a group of stellar acoustic musicians who play on many of Ackerman’s productions. The music is reflective of the passage of time and a meditation on being at a crossroads in life, creating musical poetry that is graceful and searching as well as deeply personal. Sweeten’s playing is strong and confident, but also feels tender and vulnerable as she looks within for answers to life’s questions. In a few words, this is a gorgeous and emotionally powerful album!

Beginning with “Water Diamonds,” Sweeten sets the mood with a tranquil, flowing piano solo. The left hand creates a steady yet not quite predictable feeling of motion while the right hand provides the sparkling “diamonds” of light. “Looking Back” adds Eugene Friesesn’s sensual cello to the elegant, pensive piano. Warm and nostalgic with a touch of regret, this is an emotionally compelling piece. “Dawn On Red Mountain” includes Noah Wilding’s haunting, wordless vocals and Jeff Oster’s flugelhorn. Ambient and floating, it captures the peaceful majesty of a quiet dawn. “Autumn’s Last Caress,” a solo piece, has the feeling of a deeply introspective improvisation - spontaneous, unguarded, and from the heart. “A Winter’s Reverie” begins as a piano solo, becoming a duet for piano and guitar (Ackerman). Dreamy, completely at ease, and very content, the music wraps around you like a toasty comforter. “Eclipse” is dark and mysterious with a Native American flavor. Light percussion and native flutes imply vast open space and convey a feeling of slight unease. “Rainbow Moon” is a quietly elegant solo that exudes a graceful calm - a favorite. “Falling, Still” is a trio for piano, cello (Friesen), and English horn (Jill Haley). Overflowing with longing and passion yet very serene, it’s a beautiful closing for an exceptional album.

“Grey Sky and Bittersweet” is a sure thing if you are looking for a peaceful piano CD to relax and lose yourself in. Highly recommended!
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