Gary Schmidt | Landscapes of the Heart

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Landscapes of the Heart

by Gary Schmidt

A first rate album of relaxing and inspiring original piano based meditations written by pianist/composer Gary Schmidt and produced by Grammy award winning Will Ackerman and founder of Windham Hill Records.
Genre: New Age: Ambient
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Beauty We Love (feat. Eugene Friesen)
3:37 $0.99
2. When the Silence Speaks
2:54 $0.99
3. Reaching for Romance (feat. Eugene Friesen)
3:11 $0.99
4. Waltz in Two Four (feat. Charlie Bisharat)
5:17 $0.99
5. A Blanket of White
3:45 $0.99
6. You Already Have Wings (feat. Will Ackerman & Jill Haley)
4:41 $0.99
7. Gnossiennes 1
3:51 $0.99
8. Gnossiennes 5
3:48 $0.99
9. Restless (feat. Jill Haley)
3:46 $0.99
10. A Dawn I Remember (feat. Charlie Bisharat)
3:10 $0.99
11. This New Day (feat. Eugene Friesen)
3:32 $0.99
12. Between Two Worlds (feat. Jill Haley)
4:01 $0.99
13. Solus
2:41 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
This album is music from the heart and for the heart. The album features a collection of original piano based meditations along with two wonderful pieces by the classical minimalist Erik Satie. Several of the tracks feature appearances by award winning musicians (including several Grammy Awards). Recorded at the famous Imaginary Road Studios in Windham county, this music will carry you to an intimate place of emotion uplifting one's spirit along the way..



to write a review

Darla Bower

Reviewed by Enlightened Piano Radio
This is the fourth album of composer/pianist Gary Schmidt and was produced by Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton. The CD includes other talented instrumentalists as well. As the title suggests, this CD will touch and draw landscapes on your heart while contemplating these lovely piano-based meditations. Gary is a self-taught pianist who later studied piano at both Tyndale College and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Though he currently resides in Colorado, he grew up in Quebec, Canada. The album is compiled of eleven original pieces by Gary and two pieces by Erik Satie – Gnossienne no. 1 and no. 5. The clean lines and dynamic playing by this pianist are expressed beautifully in Landscapes of the Heart.

Landscapes of the Heart opens with The Beauty We Love. This composition is very expressive. With Eugene Friesen on cello, this piece is a reflective and delightful blend of piano and cello. I love the combination of both instruments. When the Silence Speaks is both a gentle and poetic melody. I found this song to be soothing; creating a meditative calm with the gentle ending fading into silence. One of my favorites on this CD. Reaching into Romance speaks of a sweet embrace and melodically reflects the innocence of romance. The expectation of a romantic embrace building in the piece reminding us that romance speaks musically. Waltz in 2/4 ended up being one of my favorites on the album. Most waltzes are in 3/4, so I listened to this waltz with expectation of delight and it did not disappoint with its creative mixing of 2/4 and 3/4 measures. I love the combination of piano and violin. Charlie Bisharat on violin lends to the sweetness of this waltz. Loved this polished waltz, well done!

A Blanket of White was another favorite on the album. This piano solo is enveloping and its cascading melody reminds me of the quiet beauty of fallen snow. The peaceful, white snow falling in the stillness of this musical escapade. The melody lending to a beautiful landscape in your mind. Loved it! You Already Have Wings is a delightful trio of piano, with Will Ackerman on guitar and Jill Haley on English horn. The melody left me with a bright feeling and ready to fly on a new journey. I ended up liking the repeating melody, with the other musicians playing over the piano part. Found the combination both interesting and unexpected. Loved both the Gnossienne pieces by Satie. Eric Satie it turns out is Will Ackerman’s hero classical composer. Gary plays both of these pieces with very expressive dynamics and clean polished lines. I loved the swelling crescendo in piece no. 1 and the expressive dynamics on no. 5. A “wow” moment in listening. Both of these songs are played as written and draw the listener in. What a perfect pairing to feature both no. 1 and no. 5. These two are my absolute favorites on Landscapes of the Heart.

The next track Restless is very aptly titled. This piece is in contrast to the other pieces though the Satie pairing sets the stage for the melancholic expressiveness of this gem. With Jill Haley on English horn, Restless is a melodic lament seeking rest, leaving the listener desiring more. I loved the ending of this piece! Solus boasts a sweet and inviting melody closing out the meditative landscape of this piano and instrumental delight. The ending in the upper register cajoles the listener into peaceful melodic reverie. I absolutely loved the ending and loved this piece. Ended up being another favorite on the album! This album promised piano-based meditations and delivers this expectation masterfully and musically. I highly recommend Landscapes of the Heart!

Michael Diamond (

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus
With his move into the new age music genre, classically trained pianist Gary could not have made a better choice for recording his new album, “Landscapes of the Heart,” than at the iconic Imaginary Road Studios with the premier production team of GRAMMY winner and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, and co-producer/engineer Tom Eaton. Additional benefits included access to a number of Will’s world class studio musicians, and the use of the studio’s highly customized Steinway piano which has graced the albums of some of the finest artists in this genre. With regard to the focus and inspiration behind this recording Gary shared: “The title of the album Landscapes of the Heart is evocative of the idea that I wanted to try and capture a range of human emotions and also that true life always happens at the level of the heart.”

The title for the first track, “The Beauty We Love,” draws its inspiration from a poem by the famous 12th century mystic Rumi who wrote: “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” On this composition, Gary had the opportunity to work with a particularly gifted accompanist, Eugene Friesen, one of the most respected cellists in the U.S. - a professor at Berklee and winner of four GRAMMY awards for his work with the Paul Winter Consort. The feeling that was evoked for me in Gary’s beautiful piano work was that of striving or reaching for something lofty, while Eugene’s cello had an earthy soulful quality that complimented it perfectly in a balance of heaven and earth.

The title of the next song, “When the Silence Speaks” is reflective of its serene ambiance and the gentle flowing arpeggios that characterize the piece. Tom Eaton provides subtle accompaniment on bass. I was intrigued by the title “Waltz in Two Four,” since the standard time signature for a waltz is three-four time. But as Gary explains: “I frequently like to make use of multiple time signatures alternating, even in succession.” Accompanying Gary are the wordless ambient vocals of Noah Wilding, and superstar violinist Charlie Bisharat, who has played with everyone from Yanni to The Rolling Stones. On tracks 7 and 8 Gary delves into a couple “cover tunes” that reflect his classical roots. They are “Gnossiennes 1” and “Gnossiennes 5” by minimalist composer Erik Satie. While these solo piano pieces have a somewhat different feel stylistically, especially the first one, I thought they added a nice touch of diversity to the album and highlight Gary’s range as a pianist.

The album’s final track, a solo piece entitled “Solus” has an interesting story behind it. As Gary describes: “Solus was specifically written for the end of the album. I wanted to create a kind of musical Coda or summary. The term Solus is an old Latin word, which literally means ‘A man alone with his thoughts.’” It does make for quite a fitting end to this beautiful album. Gary’s abilities as a pianist and composer are impressive and his desire to infuse his music with a spirit of inspiration elevates it to another level altogether, which the maestro Ackerman called: “… a marvelously successful tour de force of heart and mind.”

To read a full-length feature article on this album, as well as others, please visit:

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Landscapes of the Heart" is the fourth album from pianist/composer Gary Schmidt. Produced by Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton, the album features eleven original pieces and two of Erik Satie’s “Gnossiennes.” Five of the pieces are solo piano and others feature artists from the stellar group of musicians who are often featured on Ackerman’s productions. Subtitled “Piano-based meditations,” the music is uncluttered, quiet, and very beautiful. Colorado seems to be the home of a growing number of outstanding musicians, and the Canadian-born Gary Schmidt is no exception. Self-taught until college, Schmidt has a very expressive touch and a lovely sense of composition.

"Landscapes of the Heart" begins with “The Beauty We Love,” a wonderful piano and cello (Eugene Friesen) duet that is warm, uplifting, and very expressive - definitely a favorite! “When the Silence Speaks” is the first of the piano solos and reminds me of some of the Mozart and Haydn pieces I learned as a piano student. “Reaching For Romance” was co-written with Friesen and is another stellar duet for piano and cello (I love piano and cello together!). Deeply emotional and bittersweet, I can feel the pulse-quickening of new love, a little tentative fear, and an abundance of hope - another favorite. “Waltz in Two Four” is an interesting concept because waltzes are almost always in 3/4. (Some measures have three beats, but not many.) Charlie Bisharat and his violin add heart and soul to any music, and he plays this one to perfection. “A Blanket of White” is a piano solo and perfectly depicts the quiet stillness of new snow and the peaceful atmosphere it creates. Up next is the piece I have a problem with, “You Already Have Wings,” a trio for piano, guitar (Ackerman) and English horn (Jill Haley). I love the first couple of minutes, which are solo piano, but then Schmidt repeats the same measure for more than 2 1/2 minutes as the other two musicians play over that. As a pianist, I always concentrate on the piano part, and the repetition drives me nuts. The next two tracks are Satie’s “Gnossiennes” #1 and #5. I love Satie's “Gnossiennes” and “Gymnopedies” and Schmidt plays them as written, perfect little gems that they are. “Restless” has a similar expressive feeling to the Satie tracks - simple, melancholy, and dark. This is a Schmidt original, and Haley adds mournful embellishments throughout - another favorite. “A Dawn I Remember” starts elevating the mood again and Bisharat adds his own graceful style. “This New Day” becomes buoyant and joyful as a piano/cello duet. “Solus” brings the album to a gentle close with a hymn-like solo that is peaceful, very expressive, and ends with a musical “amen.”

With the exception of the one track that I find monotonous, "Landscapes of the Heart" is truly a beautiful album! Recommended!