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Honest Touch | Memories From A Dream

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New Age: Neo-Classical Easy Listening: Instrumental Pop Moods: Featuring Piano
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Memories From A Dream

by Honest Touch

The distinctive style of Honest Touch created a cinematic and emotional musical approach - a crossroads of New Age Pop, Piano and Orchestral music.
Genre: New Age: Neo-Classical
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Prologue: Let Love Soar
4:10 $0.99
2. A Lonely Ride
5:24 $0.99
3. Dancing Under The Moon
3:48 $0.99
4. Moments With You
4:06 $0.99
5. Like The Wind, The Wave & The Sand
3:58 $0.99
6. Autumn Tear
4:20 $0.99
7. And A Time For War..!
3:41 $0.99
8. Luce Lontana
5:02 $0.99
9. Withering Wish
3:32 $0.99
10. Memories From A Dream
4:07 $0.99
11. Then You Came
2:43 $0.99
12. A Promise Forever
3:24 $0.99
13. Epilogue: Lay All Your Love On Me
4:52 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Honest Touch was a project rather than a traditional band founded by Samy Elgazzar and based in Athens, Greece. The project was backed by a seven-piece band, the Amadeus Orchestra (in some songs the Philarmonia Bulgarica) and the Fons Musicalis Choir. The project played instrumental music composed and arranged by Samy.

Mastering engineer Vlado Meller (Sony Music Studios) who is credited for albums by Barbara Streisand, Prince, Celine Dion to name but a few, put his sonic expertise in the debut album “Memories From A Dream”. In 2005, the album was released on Polytropon Records and distributed by Universal Music. A producer from Taxi.com, the world’s leading independent A&R company, made the following critique:“the music is top quality as well as the production...”


"What a great record... this deserves lots of success!"
John Vestman, John Vestman Mastering, CA

"You have a very nice album on your hands, and the fact is that it is all about the music and the feel. You have accomplished both."
Vlado Meller, Sony Music Studios, NY



to write a review

teressa Kolins


Colin Lynch

There are some absolutely fabulous international composers and musicians knocking about and Honest Touch tend to do most of their knocking about in Athens, Greece. Thanks to the borderlessness of the internet however, Honest Touch might just as well be right next door and now I'm going to tell you why I wish they were... y'see, this very gifted and scandalously skilled contemporary classical composer/musician ensemble can move you to the kind of tears you never thought you had. There's some of the most beautiful piano and keyboard work I've heard in years that's balanced and embraced by equally powerful and vivid arrangements and orchestrations. Then there's the astonishing production and engineering work that kinda forces you into a corner you'd never want to be away from for too long! Ladies and gentlemen... Honest Touch - Memories From A Dream ...

Prologue: Let Love Soar is our introduction to Honest Touch and their very determined approach to excellence and beauty in contemporary honesty and passion in music. The track opens with naturalized atmosphere fx and some truly beautiful piano work laced with incidental and gently arranged percussion and string work. It's quite an amazing piece for its originality and for the shared enchanted vision that the writers kept control of throughout the production.

A Lonely Ride is the stuff of award winning soundtracks with its delicate embrace between piano and string moments that are intricately balanced and paced by some truly fine bass and percussion work. It's quite an emotive piece with a kind of yearning between each and every note that the composer deigned to write down. A superb challenge to any composer in the genre, and yet Samy Elgazzar weaves through the arrangement with a seemingly effortless resolve.

Dancing Under The Moon is the track that made me wish I could have Samy and friends living right next door if only for the fact that I could hear them rehearse while I was doing the garden! It's an incredible track is this... again, the piano accompaniment coupled with some superb strings work and a sensuous wisp of Marita Paparizou's angelic and enchanting vocal are truly spellbinding in effect and expression! A brilliant piece of work Samy!

Moments With You is another anthem of excellence but with a more upbeat and contemporary feel. The string work is exciting, gripping stuff and I can imagine the musicians having a whale of a time working on this one. It's quite an extraordinary piece with very a very sharp insight on the composer's part into how well combinations of drums, strings, and piano can be made to be every bit as exciting as anything currently gracing the music scene. There are elements of European gypsy-like violin flavorings and the added contrast of finely intricate piano and string ensemble bits all the way from that mixing desk in Athens.

Like The Wind, The Wave & The Sand is a more melancholy reflection with it's focus on the very crucible of human emotion. Again, the musicianship is completely beyond weakness or flaw and the production is as mesmerizingly and electrifyingly tight as they come. The cascading huge orchestra moments that arrive at around the two minute mark include some excellent guitar work blended finely into the mix where the outstanding percussion and strings reside.

Autumn Tear meanwhile, is a heart and soul enhancing, mind and spirit embracing work of art in itself. I cannot believe the sheer skill and ingenuity in this composition. The arrangement is spectacular, the production and engineering superb, but the musicianship is completely and utterly astonishing. It's one for the movies folks!

And A Time For War..! is essentially the composer's perceptions of imagery, compassion, and empathy with one of the most undesirable and unwelcome themes of our current existence... the consequences and utter senselessness of war. To have music so beautifully crafted to this kind of theme is perhaps a little like walking on thin ice but then art has its anchor in the experience of living and the memories of that vocation. Samy has handled the emotive arrangements very well indeed but the true power in this piece belongs to the theme it's been acquainted with and the way in which the musicians have become synchronized to that endeavor.

Luce Lontana is quite a remarkable piece of work. Here we have a return to the beautiful classical vocal work mastered by the wonderfully gifted and blessed Marita Paparizou. Wouldn't you just love to sit in the park on a lovely day and see this entire album being performed live right in front of you? Of course you would... it's the kind of transfusion not many composers have the ability to administer!

Withering Wish has something bright and breezy and lovable about it and I think I'd be right in assuming that the piece was inspired by the composer's experience of that hazardous yet incredibly magnetic emotion. Sweeping meandering strings grace the skies above the pianist Fofi Maniadaki's fingertips and the entire movement becomes entwined in her magic and gracefulness at the keyboard. It's a work of truly monumental effort and realization that composers like Samy Elgazzar have come to know, love, and share with the rest of us.

The album's monolithic title track - Memories From A Dream is perhaps the most enchanting piece on the album. With carefully crafted string arrangements and dynamically infused piano and percussion, the track evolves into a symphony of sensual delight as well as an example of pure, unadulterated contemporary classical excellence. This is without a doubt, my favorite track on the album so far, and one which Honest Touch must be truly proud of.

Then You Came is a piece of music that's captured love in a jam jar and sprinkled it's essence across frets, strings, drum skins and piano keys in an effort to mesmerize the performers and listeners simultaneously. The music reaches just about every sense of well being a human being can possess and it does so in a very pleasure enhancing fashion! A Promise Forever on the other hand, does not place any demands on your attentive ears whatsoever you just go there willingly and take your heart, soul, and spirit along for the ride! It's a brilliantly arranged piece, but then what track on this magnificent album isn't?

Epilogue: Lay All Your Love On Me is Samy's instrumentally superior version of Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus (Abba) sensationally successful song of the same name. What Samy does that's intrinsically remarkable is that he takes the original and breathes life into it much to the delight of our audio senses and to the delight of our most cherished imaginings and sentiments. Watch out for the spellbindingly brilliant string work in particular!

I'd say I've been honestly touched by Honest Touch. They've brought an album into the world that any sensible and responsible parent of music would be ecstatically pleased with. They've also managed to take impossibly complex musical phrases and turn them into works of art and simplicity to the ears. I've had the enormous pleasure of working with some of the world's most excellent instrumental artists in recent years and I have to say that it's an absolute pleasure for me to have reviewed this magnificent album on behalf of a rather magnificent new artist!

Dan MacIntosh

Honest Touch is music that separates itself distinctly from much of today’s dish
Memories from a Dream is a large endeavor. This hour-long CD used the services of a symphony orchestra, piano, drums, bass, guitars, percussion, solo violin, solo voice and choir. Yep, it took a large ensemble to help conjure up these musical memories.

Fofi Maniadaki and Samy Elgazzar are Honest Touch’s central figures and call Athens, Greece home. The music they make leans toward New Age, although it would be unfair to label it merely that. Their sound is full-bodied, with a lovely orchestral feel, and you can easily imagine much of it as movie soundtrack music. The track “Moments with You,” with its sweet violin and nearly rock drumming, stands out from the pack. It’s a little more rhythmic than most of these mainly gentle recordings.

There are no words or lyrics, although “Dancing under the Moon” incorporates operatic female singing to nice effect. This mystic singing is supported by firm classical piano and sweeping strings.

Honest Touch is music that separates itself distinctly from much of today’s dishonest, self-centered pop. It is what it says it is, an honest touch.

Nick Stass

Great music and production!
Inspiring and beautiful songs, especially tracks 1, 8 and 10. Thank you for sharing your music with us!

Mike K.

Highly recommended instrumental music full of melodious tracks, lush arrangements and sensitive piano playing.

Curtis Lowell

Your piece is a melodic charmer that holds its place within the harmonic context through the resolution of the chords. Interestingly, the melody doesn't resolve at the end, but continues into the next repetition of the melody. This is more like the music of Yanni, Keiko Matsui and John Tesh than strictly New Age, but still appeals to a huge potential audience. The block chord piano figures played during the Fm section sound a little Liberace-esque, which may work in concert, but not so well in repeat listenings, as it goes on so long.

Your recording is very good and the arrangement is perfectly suited to listeners who like their music light, but dramatic. With the string section swelling against the piano and the percussion on the trap drums high in the mix, this track is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. The section where the stings swell on their own sounds a little loud though, eclipsing the rest of the track briefly.

All of the performances are top tier and there are some interesting nuances tucked onto the individual parts, not the least of which is omitting the snare hit on the 7 beat during the section of the Bb melody that starts around 1:58. The integration of the harp, strings and keyboard parts is excellent and the bass anchors the chords with tight punctuation and slurs.

Although this musical territory is well traveled, you make an authenic presentaion here, where the music transcends the genre through your deft balancing of melody and orchestration. While not really original, you fulfill the requirements of the genre perfectly, which is just as good as original these days.

I think this should find an welcoming audience in the Easy Listening market, with enough performance juice to get listeners excited. This genre has grown huge over the last 20 years and if you can mount an extraordinary show, you could move into the big leagues with a showpiece like this. An expensive move, but the risk will yield great rewards if you make it.

This piece is extremely well focused and is prime for an entry into a worldwide market that flourishes on the PBS funding drives.

Ego - Biweekly women magazine

The awarded Honest Touch created instrumental songs that aim at touching the listener in an emotional tone. In this manner they represent to the audience a sort of cinematic Pop music as well as ABBA’s hit Lay All Your Love On Me in a new arrangement. Released on Polytropon Records.

Difono - Written by Yannis Petridis

What does it exactly mean “cinematic Pop”? Instrumental music that borders the pop idiom and potentially works in a film framework? For Honest Touch this is their artistic style, or as they call it: Tacit Pop(!) Yet, who are the members of Honest Touch? Samy Elgazzar is a musician with extended studies, a graduate of Berklee College of Music and with numerous credits. Fofi Maniadaki, the other half of the band, is a piano soloist, with classical studies in Greece and overseas. In other words we are talking about two very good musicians, which is apparent by listening to the album and not just by reading their resumes.

The cd Memories From A Dream is their debut album, which includes 12 compositions by Elgazzar plus an arrangement of ABBA’s Lay All Your Love On Me; all created on the border of an instrumental Pop aspect. Without any particular tension, Honest Touch creates a welcomed atmosphere. Whether it is the skillful dialogue between the keyboards of Elgazzar with the piano of Maniadaki and their melodic passages between the bass, the percussion, the guitars and the violin; whether it is the expressive soprano Marita Paparizou, the choir Fons Musicalis or the collaboration of a symphony orchestra. Something is happening; it can not be. Especially in the compositions Dancing Under The Moon and Autumn Tear.

Written by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

Their music is so powerful that words are not needed.
Honest Touch is from across the pond in Athens Greece. The duo of Samy Elgazzar (composer, keyboards) and Fofi Maniadaki (acoustic piano) combine their talents to record Memories From A Dream. Some fine talent backs them as well on the recording. A five-piece band and the Amadeus Orchestra add their special touch to give the duo a solid base to build upon.

The music befits the title as it creates many images while listening. It is all at once cinematic, breathtaking, and a slice of heaven. The orchestral segments set the tone, whether it is fast paced and dramatic or sad and reflective. The keyboards come delivered upon a layer of sweeping orchestration in each track.

The couple is interested in provoking thoughts from its audience, and there are many subjects covered even though there are not words attached to the music. Their music is so powerful that words are not needed, just look at the titles; they are suggestive enough to engage you and compel you to develop your own storyline while listening. It was easy for me as I can relate much better to instrumental music than compositions entangled with words, which are frequently difficult to understand to begin with on most recordings. This CD starts you off with a clean slate as a perspective listener and each composition is an aural landscape, an adventure that will transport you away to another place in time very quickly. It is easy if you let the music take you. With good instrumentals, it is my choice to immerse myself in the sounds and land wherever it takes me. That is what makes an instrumental track so exciting and special.

I was very impressed with this music and the sound is very good as well. Music so delicate and complex needs top-notch engineering and mixing. It is obvious to me after several listens that there was a job well done in all the important aspects of producing a quality recording. Do not be surprised if you hear this music in the background of a film someday.

Kathy Parsons

An impressive debut!
“Memories From a Dream” is the debut recording by the Athens, Greece-based duo Honest Touch. Fofi Maniadaki and Samy Elgazzar are both professors of music with extensive music credentials in classical and contemporary music. Fofi is a piano soloist with an elegant, flowing touch. Samy composes and conducts the music, and plays keyboards. Calling Honest Touch a project rather than a band, they are backed by a five-piece band consisting of percussion, bass, and a variety of guitars. Guest artists are violinist Vasilis Garoufalidis and vocalist Marita Paparizou. Some tracks are also backed by the Amadeus Orchestra, Philarmonia Bulgarica, and the Fons Musicalis Choir. This is obviously a big production, and the music is full and cinematic. Seeking to touch the listener in a profound way, the music is deeply emotional and powerful, and yet very soothing and uplifting. One is occasionally reminded of Yanni with the richness of the sound and the obvious Greek influence. Elgazzar’s music is different, though, and his extensive training shows itself in the effortless flow of the music. Nothing is done for “show” or to impress, and each note is full of meaning. Lightweight fluff music it isn’t, but it is still very accessible.

“Prologue: Let Love Soar” opens with the sound of a chilly wind. The piano enters with a bittersweet melody. As the song develops, more instruments join in, allowing the piano to remain the “star” of the piece. Colorful and passionate, this would be a haunting piece at the end of a romantic film. “A Lonely Ride” begins with the sound of a car starting and driving off as the soulful melody comes in. This one really tugs at the heartstrings. “Dancing Under the Moon” is lighter and extremely romantic. Marita Paparizou’s operatic voice is a graceful musical instrument with wordless vocals. “Like the Wind, the Wave, and the Sand” is a favorite. Evoking the peace as well as the turbulence of the sea, it’s a real beauty! “Autumn Tear” begins as a lovely duet for piano and oboe. Strings, bass, and percussion are added, creating a sad mood that enhances the poignance of the piano. Gorgeous! “And a Time For War..!” is a big production piece. It opens with the voices of various politicians speaking, although it is difficult to understand what they are saying (isn’t it always???). The music is passionate and intense. “Luce Lontana” won 1st prize in the instrumental category and 3rd overall in the NCSA Song Contest in 2002. A slow and deeply emotional piece, piano and wordless vocals send it soaring to the heavens. The title track is another favorite. Symphonic and cinematic, Fofi gets a chance to really show what she can do at the piano - wow! This very impressive album concludes with ABBA’s “Lay All Your Love On Me.” Even with the strings and woodwinds, this arrangement really rocks and closes the album with a big smile. Love it!

Highly recommended!
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