Reflection – Shoshana Michel

I only discovered Shoshana Michel’s beautiful piano albums last year, but since then I’ve become a true fan. Her compositions are lyrical and flowing, and her playing is delicate and delightful. The latest album, Reflection, came out in January 2019. I thoroughly recommend it. I think its her best yet. This an album to be proud of.

Here is a link to listen on Spotify, and this is followed by my review of each track.

A New Day Today – A strong opening track. It starts with a simple theme which is then embellished and explored throughout this captivating arrangement. At times it sounds a bit like Einaudi, but I’m reluctant to draw that comparison because Shoshana’s music is a force in its own right; I only mention it because if you like Einaudi you will certainly adore this.

Shooting Stars – This track is so evocative: I can imagine a sky full of shooting stars, and they keep falling and falling from the skies – a myriad of sparkling, flowing trails of light, all mirrored by the cascading piano. Towards the end it appears to slow down as the display of shooting stars reluctantly comes to an end.

Finding Bliss – After the first two flowing tracks, this is a nice contrast – some wonderful repeated chords that set the scene, and once again, Shoshana delivers a beautiful set of variations. As with all of the tracks on this album, the arrangement is inventive, natural and perfect (oh and did I mention that the piano sound is glorious).

Soothing the Tempest Within – A rapid cascade of flowing arpeggios opens this track. This track would be at home in many contemporary films – capturing the drama and emotions perfectly. Personally I think the tempest is long past – this sounds like the calm long after the storm.

Bittersweet – A gentle and lyrical piece. For me it evokes the solitude and reflection implied in the title of the album. This is one of my favourite tracks in a set of masterpieces!

Island in the Mist – Another slower track that really paints a picture: the water lapping against the shore; the mist slowly swirling, sometimes revealing an outline of the hills and sometimes clearing to show the forests. Lovely.

The Moon’s Lament – The piano sings the sorrows and sadness of the moon. If the moon could sing, this would be it’s song.

In a Time Lapse – Certainly not to be confused with the Einaudi track with the same title. Here repeated chords evoke the passing of the time. I wonder why there is a time lapse – maybe it’s being deep in thought and reflection as I listen to this track and forget about the passing of time in the real world.

Forever and a Day – Another track that, at least in its title, refers to the passing of time and hints at the commitment we feel to something that we want to last forever.

Labyrinth – This is another of my personal favourites. Shoshana handles flow brilliantly – the melody takes you deep into the labyrinth, and leads you further into the maze, before bringing you safely out again. There is never any sense that you will be trapped here – it’s a gentle, reflective embrace of the potential complexities of life.

Through the Eyes of a Child – In some ways, all of the tracks on this album have an apparent simplicity that is childlike. And at the same time, they all have a subtlety and maturity that only comes with a lifetime of reflection and learning. This is reflecting back on life, with a child’s eyes, but with an adult’s experience.

And that’s the album over – time to play it again!

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