Heidi Breyer | Moonlight in Empty Rooms

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Moonlight in Empty Rooms

by Heidi Breyer

Astoundingly beautiful collection of piano-violin Neoclassical New Age Music.
Genre: New Age: Neo-Classical
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Unfinished Conversation
6:36 album only
2. Autumn Snowfall
6:52 album only
3. Autumn in Bruges
4:13 album only
4. Christian's Workshop
4:03 album only
5. Moonlight in Empty Rooms
5:27 album only
6. Eastertide
4:37 album only
7. Rainy Day
3:40 album only
8. The Sound and the Fury
4:17 album only
9. Winter Rose
4:05 album only
10. Half Hour Before Spring
5:35 album only
11. Faith
8:05 album only
12. End of Summer
2:47 album only


Album Notes
In a surprisingly private corner of the very public worlds of music and art, you will find the eminent Russian realist Alexander Volkov and his wife, award winning pianist- composer Heidi Breyer in their respective studios, working alone on their inextricably connected art forms. These two artists have pushed the boundaries of collaboration well beyond synergy to synonymity through sharing their lives and their observations of the world around them.

After ten years of tough life changes and on-going artistic exploration and career growth, Alexander and Heidi have arrived at "Moonlight In Empty Rooms" an art and musical immersion that speaks to anyone looking for an opportunity for deep contemplation in the comfort of their home, or, the seat of a recital hall.

The collection of 12 piano and violin pieces were written specifically in response to Alexander's paintings of the same name. In the booklet that accompanies the music, we find images, explanations and vignettes of inspiration, but if that is not enough, also enclosed is a dvd containing astounding moving footage crafted almost entirely of Alexander art, set to Heidi's music with each of the 12 videos maintaining their integrity through the simple and immersive way Alexander and Heidi created them.

The music was produced at Imaginary Road Studios, home to Grammy winning guitarist and producer and Founder of Windham Hill Records Will Ackerman. The production team consists of Heidi, Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton and Charlie Bisharat lends his inimitable talent in soaring passages on the violin.

Heidi has created a deep visceral and musical analysis of Alexander's art and together they deliver a singular experience that is not to be missed.



to write a review

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
There are a lot of new albums released every year, but once in awhile, one comes along that is truly an artistic event. Heidi Breyer’s "Moonlight in Empty Rooms" is one of those. Subtitled “A Musical Study of the Art of Alexander Volkov,” the set includes a CD of the music, a DVD that includes all of the music plus visual images of the paintings that inspired the music (plus other images), and a 28-page booklet that includes photos of the paintings and thoughts about the artwork written by both Volkov and Breyer. (The music is available to download by itself, but the experience is so much richer with the visuals!) The music was produced by Breyer, Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton, and was engineered, mixed and mastered by Eaton. The twelve tracks are a combination of solo piano (Breyer) and piano with violin (the always-brilliant Charlie Bisharat). The video was designed and produced by Breyer and Volkov.

Heidi Breyer was born in Great Britain and was conservatory-trained at the Trinity College of Music in London. Her albums have been among my favorites for several years, but this one is truly amazing. A true artist herself, Breyer’s composing and playing styles are elegant and graceful, with strong classical influences. The twelve pieces on the album are warm and peaceful, but there is a depth of emotion that expresses the beauty and simplicity of the paintings in a way that words could never match. Breyer has been composing music in response to Volkov’s paintings for almost ten years. As husband and wife, they live with each other’s artistry, creativity and passion for their work as no one else can. I’m thrilled to read that they plan this as Volume One of a series of collaborations that will evolve over the years. The paintings that are included express feelings of quiet peacefulness, as does Breyer’s music, bringing with it deep insight.

Alexander Volkov emigrated to the US from St. Petersburg, Russia more than twenty-five years ago. His realistic paintings appear to be somewhat influenced by Andrew Wyeth’s work in that he takes everyday scenes and makes them extraordinary in their simplicity and beauty. Volkov’s paintings often make wonderful use of light - through windows, cracks or holes in walls, in nature, etc. - and makes that light a vibrant part of the subject. One of my favorites is “Eastertide,” which shows a toy stuffed rabbit on a comfortable chair, bathed in light. A simple vase of yellow flowers is also shadowed on the back of the chair. Such a simple idea that expresses so much. “Unfinished Conversation” is two wine glasses, neither of which is completely empty. Between them is a candle that was very recently extinguished because there is smoke rising from the wick. A window with sheer curtains is on the left side, but on the right is darkness. The only color in the otherwise black, gray and white painting is the red wine in the glasses and a tiny spark at the end of the candle wick. It’s a peaceful but very powerful image.

"Moonlight in Empty Rooms" is nothing short of a masterpiece and I give it my highest recommendation.

Judson Hurd

Wonderful album by Pianist Heidi Breyer
Moonlight In Empty Rooms
(A Music Study of the Art of Alexander Volkov)
Heidi Breyer
Reviewed by Judson Hurd of Enlightened Piano Radio

The album “Moonlight In Empty Rooms” is the new album from acclaimed artist Heidi Breyer. Listening to this album I was transported by the beautiful sounds and I learned about the art of Alexander Volkov. Alexander is a talented self taught artist who composes majestic landscapes that ‘evoke powerful emotions that create harmony’ according to the biography at his website. Discovering this truly talented artists’ creation has been a real delight and I recommend listening to Heidi’s pieces and meditating on the art by Volkov.
The first track that really stuck out to me is the opening track called “Unfinished Conversation”. It is a beautiful piece that begins with an introduction that contains strong chord elements with a strong, lingering melody. A gentle, solo violin joins the piano setting the mood of the piece and the instruments begin having a conversation with one another. The feeling of this composition sets the scene in my mind of two people having a conversation for the last time in a faraway place. Heidi’s voicings have hints of the stylings of Debussy and Impressionism that really complement this piece well.
The next piece that was wonderful was “Winter Rose”. The beautiful, musical textures made me imagine a single red rose in the middle of a field with snow flurries coming around. While checking out Volkov’s artwork I noticed that many pieces are based on winter themes and the paintings are truly lifelike and gorgeous.
The song “Faith” begins with solemn strings playing the Doxology (Praise God From All Blessings Flow). Heidi has an interesting take on this sacred classic while keeping the music tasteful and interesting. The piece is over eight minutes but held my attention throughout with the back and forth between the strings and piano.
“Moonlight In Empty Rooms” has 12 tracks and it is a high recommendation. I also recommend checking out the art of Alexander Volkov which I believe would be an excellent addition to anyone’s art collection. I look forward to hearing more beautiful music from this artist in the future!

Dyan Garris, New Age CD.com

Moonlight In Empty Rooms by Heidi Breyer: A Musical Study of the Art of Alexander Volkov
Album review by Dyan Garris for New Age CD.com

This is an undeniably exquisite Neo-classical piano and violin album by award winning composer and pianist, Heidi Breyer. Her 5th album, “Moonlight in Empty Rooms” is twelve tracks, each inspired by the original paintings of her husband, Russian-American oil painter, Alexander Volkov. The violin performances on the album are by Charlie Bisharat, an American Grammy® Award-winning violinist. Bisharat has performed with Yanni, John Tesh, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, and many other notables. The album was produced at Imaginary Road Studios, home to Grammy® winning guitarist, producer, and founder of Windham Hill Records, Will Ackerman.

Volkov describes his fine art as “. . .always a story of light traveling through darkness.” “Moonlight in Empty Rooms” is a superb reflection and interpretation of that story, and like rich icing on a luscious cake, it’s the perfect counterpart.
A booklet and a DVD both come along with the physical album. The booklet contains images of the artwork with inspirational snippets. The DVD is comprised of 12 videos; footage of Volkov’s artwork set to Breyer’s exceptional music.

Track 1, “An Unfinished Conversation,” opens the album brilliantly and sets the stage for the promise of much more to come. Passionate, emotional, and tender, this feels like the story of a meaningful soul relationship that lasts not only throughout this lifetime, but through eternity, with always more to learn and experience no matter where the road of life leads.

Track 3 is the charming, “Autumn in Bruges.” Bruges is a picturesque town in Belgium with a rich medieval history. “Autumn in Bruges” is captivating with its cascading nuances conjuring up images of cobblestone streets, romantic canals, and bell towers.

“Moonlight in Empty Rooms” the title track, is full of graceful movement and ambiance, the piano layered sumptuously throughout with the violin. Each nuance and subtlety is carefully coaxed out of hiding and brought forth to blend together in perfect harmony, like expert brushstrokes on a canvas begin to form a masterpiece. You can feel the resultant light right in your heart.

The composition, “Rainy Day,” on track 7, is exquisitely beautiful and hauntingly so. It’s a favorite of mine on the album. The violin performance is exceptional, forming a lush tapestry with Breyer’s gentle, evocative, and expressive piano performance. There is something that really speaks to the depths of the soul here. This is peace. Deep and satisfying peace.

“End of Summer” winds up the album and reminds us, similarly as in track 1, that even as the light of summer fades, there is always more to come. There is always the story.

We love it. Highly and most definitely recommended.

Candice Michelle

Cozily intimate, romantic and even nostalgic at times
Music and imagery have long complimented and even depended upon one another, with both artistic expressions often enhancing the perception that one has upon the other. Titled Moonlight in Empty Rooms, the latest album by pianist-composer Heidi Breyer beautifully embodies this wonderful creative synergy. Inspired by the fine art of acclaimed painter Alexander Volkov, the album is comprised of twelve pristinely elegant and emotionally reflective compositions. Each piece is accompanied in the liner notes by one of Volkov’s gorgeous paintings, while Breyer is joined throughout by distinguished violinist Charlie Bisharat, who lends an additional classical element to the compositions. Both Breyer and Volkov wrote the album’s poetically beautiful liner notes, while the album itself was produced by Breyer, Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton, with Eaton having engineered, mixed and mastered the final recording. Also included is a DVD of music and paintings that can be further appreciated in tandem.

The opening piece, “Unfinished Conversation”, seemingly begins like an ending, or perhaps that of picking up at some point from where having left off. Wrapped in a sentimental poise, the lovely composition is tenderly carried along by the graceful pairing of piano and violin – each lingering note like a gentle brushstroke upon an aural canvas. The next couple of pieces, “Autumn Snowfall” and “Autumn in Bruges”, make for a lovely pair – both rendering sonically their respective paintings that are detailed in the liner notes. “Autumn Snowfall” – a composition centered upon the seasonal transition of Fall to Winter – conveys a more contemplative, solitary mood – while “Autumn in Bruges” comparatively relates a feeling of personal interaction and romantic companionship with its serenading semi-waltz motif.

The album’s title piece, “Moonlight in Empty Rooms”, is a pinnacle moment of compositional beauty and emotional expression. One of my favorites, I especially love the wistful touch of the violin which beautifully compliments the flowing dynamism of the piano, as the piece ebbs and flows with alternating currents of languor and liveliness. Transitioning into the Spring season, “Eastertide” aptly captures a sense of joyful peace as sparkling notes convey sunshine rays and blossoming fields. The following piece, “Rainy Day”, feels both contemplative and leisurely, with its languidly-paced piano and solemn procession of violin.

Another favorite composition is the second-to-last track, “Faith”, which is also the lengthiest at just over eight minutes. A song of searching and steadfastness, this distinctly classical-flavored piece is comprised of four variations that give it a metamorphosing and journey-like quality. Likewise showcasing some of Heidi’s most impressive piano work, cascading keys are brushed lightly by tender violin throughout – ultimately resulting in a memorably heartfelt and prepossessing composition.

Cozily intimate, romantic and even nostalgic at times, Moonlight in Empty Rooms is a calmly introspective album that feels connected to the home and its immediate surroundings of seemingly quaint towns and natural countryside. In addition to Heidi Breyer’s own compositional gifts and command of the piano, Charlie Bisharat’s enchanting performance on violin takes these lovely pieces to another level of appreciation – with the marriage of these two instruments proving all that was needed to make musical magic happen!

Steve Sheppard

Allow the artist to take you on a musical journey
It was great catching up with Heidi again, I hadn’t realised until our conversation on Skype, that it had been some three years since I had written about her last album, and a staggering six years since we had last chatted live, time steals away the hours and leaves dust behind it seems!
Now the dust is swept away and a lush new recording is upon us and called Moonlight In Empty Rooms, apart from being a splendid title, it conjures up lots of artistic thoughts, and it is this sojourn we now take with the artist as we walk through this veritable art gallery of tone with her.
As the softness of the day unfurled its angelic wings, I begin by gazing at the portrait of the first offering entitled Unfinished Conversation. As humans we have many of these, those moments when we never really say what we want, or think, and then that moment is like a child’s summer, long gone. This has been beautifully portrayed by Breyer and her compatriot on this release, the quite breath taking Charlie Bisharat on violin.
Our next offering happens to be one of my favourites, not that I will ever probably see this again, but Autumn Snowfall does conjure up old memories of when the mistress of winter, flirts with the old grand master of autumn, this momentary symbiosis is rare, but very pleasantly manifested by Breyer and Bisharat, a slow tempo, a moving opus of age and time, combining to give us a vista of colour and mood that is almost pristine in its overall construction.
Following on the theme of autumn, the lively and extremely attractive opus Autumn In Bruges is up next, this is a delightful piece, it has its own radiant energy and Breyer’s performance on it is sublimely brilliant. The violin of Bisharat is so in tune with Breyer’s performance, that one can see an autumnal dance forming within the falling leaves of a fading season.
On Christian’s Workshop, we have a melodic build, but one that has a real element of memory and time passed. There is a real dust in the attic feel to this one, Breyer goes solo here and creates such wonderful imagery whilst doing so and the slight pause adds a sublime delicacy to the performance that makes it so very reflective and addictive.
We now move through the sun dappled rooms of our musical art gallery and come across the master piece of them all, the title track, and of course entitled Moonlight In Empty Rooms. I have to state that this is one of the best compositions I think I have ever heard from Heidi Breyer. This has everything, a certain mournful refrain, a powerful intention of tone and an intensity of emotions that will have every hair standing up on the back of your neck. Two words can sum this offering up, utterly awesome, and one can see why, through this pictorial arrangement, that this album is a musical study of the work of Alexander Volkov.
We have arrived at Eastertide and it’s always a moment to be grateful, as winters clutch has weakened and gone, leaving the one word through the eons that always resounds around this time, hope. There is a real lightness to this composition, one that crafts sunbeams of light to cascade through the windows of our gallery; the smooth vibrations created by Bisharat are equally delightful to float upon.
Sadly we don’t get many of these here in Cyprus, a Rainy Day, but if we did, it would be a total pleasure to listen to this while the sky cries as a soundtrack for this moment of beauty. Rainy Day has an almost sullen opening refrain, but that’s the way the creation is brought to life, each note and key touched manifests an opportunity to be at one within this moment in time. This piece has a certain historical energy about it as well, one could, through the performance, easily watch, the watchers watching the rain, as the century’s rolled by, a timeless offering indeed.
The very start of this next piece The Sound and The Fury drew a wonderful narrative for me again; perhaps a further autumn feeling as the strength of Breyer’s piano was enough to shake the leaves from the tress themselves, while Bisharat’s violin cried the tears of the years. There is also a defined cinematic quality about this composition too and its narration is indeed deeply moving as through its intensity, one can almost feel the energy of creative release here. A piece with floating desire and passion, and that’s never a bad thing.
Winter Rose has a beautifully crisp essence about its construction that is so very charming. The progression of the piece is also very artistically manifested, as such one seems to be waiting for the next segment to follow, there is a slight elevation in power, but one that is redolent to the subject matter, and allowing the mind its liberty, the image of a snow covered rose is not that hard to bring into reality.
Another inventive title, that’s always good to see, as it captures the imagination before a note is played, this can be laid at the feet of the piece, Half Hour Before Spring. Listen to the tentative start and then as the piece continues, it’s like watching a musical bud open and eventually flower, this is without doubt one of the most beautiful pieces from the release.
Faith, the penultimate piece will be familiar with many people I have no doubt, but this hymn has been arranged quite cleverly by the artist and brings with it, not only a charming moment of musical bliss, but a totally fresh arrangement of something old into something new, the Old 100th lives on and is the longest piece off the album at just over eight minutes.
The last picture is now upon us, and this parting gift from the artist is called End of Summer. Time for a moment of reflection, one that is quite emotional at times or perhaps is it that one is sad to be leaving this musical art gallery of sorts, but at least through the magic of the technology, we can always listen over again, many times.
Moonlight In Empty Rooms has to be Heidi Breyer’s best work so far, it has a perfection of composition and arrangement that is professionally sublime, the narration and flow of the music will carry the listener on a musical journey of supreme artistic endeavour. This is piano and violin at its very best and played from the heart, to the heart, in a way that only really good music can.