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Renee Michele | Seasons of the Heart

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New Age: Contemporary Instrumental New Age: Ambient Moods: Instrumental
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Seasons of the Heart

by Renee Michele

Seasons of the Heart is Renee' Michele's 5th album. It was recorded at the legendary Imaginary Road Studios with Will Ackerman. Seasons of the Heart is the most technically accomplished and emotionally intimate album of Reneé Michele's career
Genre: New Age: Contemporary Instrumental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Gratitude
3:52 $1.10
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2. Seasons of the Heart
5:38 $1.10
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3. First Promise
3:12 $1.10
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4. Eyes of the Soul
5:37 $1.10
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5. Follow Your Heart
6:47 $1.10
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6. Beside You
6:33 $1.10
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7. Hearts Embrace
5:15 $1.10
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8. Gone
4:05 $1.10
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9. Forgiveness
5:14 $1.10
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10. Simple Joy
5:27 $1.10
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Helmed by the team of Will Ackerman (producer) and Tom Eaton (engineer, mixer, album mastering) and recorded at the legendary Imaginary Road Studios in rural Vermont, Seasons of the Heart is the most technically accomplished and emotionally intimate album of Reneé Michele's career. The artist journeys deep into her memories, exploring recollections both beloved and painful—this is a world of deep-rooted reflection as the pianist (with assistance from a stellar crew of guest stars) helps us uncover our moments of "Gratitude" and "Simple Joy" as well as the tender feelings when "Hearts Embrace"
or the somber remembrances when loved ones are "Gone" or when we grant "Forgiveness" to those for whom we care. Will Ackerman summed up Reneé Michele's talent for soulful evocative music when he stated
" The first piece Renee’ Michele sent me was simply stunning. It revealed a composer capable of brilliant and accessible melody and hands that had clearly matured in classical discipline. This experience proved to be just the first of many as I became acquainted with more of her work. As a producer, one dreams of encountering such talent. The recordings for “Seasons of the Heart” all displayed the same remarkable combination of rich melody and stunning technical ability. At the center of all of her work is an intense and very personal emotional connection to both composition and performance that is breathtaking to experience. Renee’ has 4 solo piano albums prior to producing an album with accompaniment . This is as powerful a CD with ensemble as anyone could hope for"
Will Ackerman
Grammy award winning musician and founder WindHam Hill records

Joining pianist Reneé Michele on the album are Jill Haley (English horn), Charlie Bisharat (violin) Eugene Friesen (cello), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Noah Wilding (vocals), Tom Eaton (bass), and Michael Manring (fretless bass).



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Reviews


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Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Seasons of the Heart" is the fifth album from pianist/composer Renee Michele and her first ensemble recording. Co-produced by Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton, and Renee Michele, the album was recorded at Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studio in Vermont. The ensemble players are some of Imaginary Road’s best and include Charlie Bisharat (violin), Eugene Friesen (cello), Jill Haley (English horn), Noah Wilding (vocals), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Michael Manring (fretless bass), and Tom Eaton (bass). The ten original tracks express a variety of moods and experiences with heartfelt grace and tenderness. The focus is on the emotional depth of the music rather than a showy playing style, and this is music that can soothe and uplift in much the same was as a lingering hug or a heart-to-heart talk with a kindred soul can. Renee Michele started playing the piano at the age of six and continued through college as a music major. She later added a degree in Occupational Therapy, which led her to teach piano to children with special needs such as autism. This is an artist who truly understands the power of music, so it comes as no surprise that her original music is of an expressive and healing nature. I have enjoyed all of Renee’s albums since her 2002 debut, but this is her most mature and evocative music to date.

"Seasons of the Heart" opens with “Gratitude,” a lovely piano solo that overflows with warmth and tenderness, setting the mood for what’s to come. The title track is mostly a graceful piano solo, with Jill Haley adding English horn embellishments in just the right places. “First Promise” is an elegant duet for piano and violin (Bisharat) and has a simple, sweet melody. The haunting “Eyes of the Soul” is made even more compelling by Eugene Friesen’s soulful cello. My favorite track is “Beside You,” a gentle love song that brings back Haley and Friesen to add their magic to the heartfelt piano. I also really like “Hearts Embrace,” the second of two piano solos, and a passionate, stirring piece. The album closes with “Simple Joy,” an uncomplicated piece with quiet bass accompaniment (Tom Eaton) and a lot of heartfelt emotion. At this point, you should be very relaxed and at peace with the world!

"Seasons of the Heart" is a very effective album for relaxation, unwinding, and/or beautiful background music. Check it out!
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Michael Diamond (www.michaeldiamondmusic.com)

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus
After four solo piano albums, Oregon-based composer Renee Michele has expanded her circle by releasing a recording with a variety of accompanists to embellish her emotionally rich compositions. Seasons of the Heart reflects Renee’s determination to take her career to the next level by choosing to produce the album in collaboration with the GRAMMY Award-winning Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton.

The album opens with a lovely solo piano piece called “Gratitude,” that fits right in with the album’s title and theme. The next track entitled “First Promise” includes the accompaniment of virtuoso violinist Charlie Bisharat, who is well known for playing with Yanni and John Tesh. This deeply moving piece had an unusual emotional juxtaposition for me in that it seemed to reflect a touch of melancholy along with sense of hopefulness, in a way that I equate with some Celtic music.

As I listened through the ten songs on the album, I began to discern certain moods and feelings that permeate Renee’s music. Some of the words I would use to describe these are: sentimental, reflective, introspective, sometimes wistful, intimate, emotionally evocative, and deeply felt. The music is quite consistent in its tone and tempo without any melodic or thematic detours popping up out of the blue to jar the listener’s reverie. A variety of emotions are portrayed yet always within a focused range of expression. Her compositions are informed by real life experiences and emotions, which she refers to as the “main source” of her pieces. That she is able to express these sentiments so elegantly at the piano is a testament to creative gift she has nurtured over a lifetime. Renee’s music is the sound of life and its rainbow of feelings. Although the songs are instrumental, there is a true sense of storytelling within their unfolding melodies. The sensitivity and expressiveness in Renee’s compositions and performance resonates within the soul of the listener, providing a glimpse into the many seasons of the heart of this gifted artist.

To read a full length review of this CD, as well as others, please visit: www.michaeldiamondmusic.com
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