Monday, March 14, 2005

Songs of Zion

“A Time for Ana”
CS Bezas

“I have a dear friend named Ana. She symbolizes to me all children on this earth who have yet to experience peace. It was for her that I wrote the title track to this album. In some small way I hope to contribute to the well-being of many children who, just like Ana, long for an easier life.”

These comments from her CDBaby site express the nature and the purpose of this CD. It’s tone and sound (piano solos) are very soft and relaxing. It’s designed to unstress, to ease, and to bring peace. In that way, it very much succeeds.

Normally, I like a variety in my listening. Maybe it’s my ADD. I like to throw in a CD and hear a fast one, a slow one, something in between, something loud, something soft… You know, a mix.

But this one isn’t designed for that, and so I have to judge it on a different standard. It’s intention is relaxation, and it works its magic very well there.

One of the things I loved about this CD, especially compared to other “New Age Piano” artists (whatever that means these days), was that it was very minimal. Too often, contemporary piano artists seem to be obsessed with filling the song’s space with as many notes as possible. They do that by either pounding out thunderous and clustered chords one after the other, or by putting in so many rolls, arpeggios and frills that I wonder if I’m in a smoky piano lounge. This CD is almost minimalist. Simple melodies dance above gentle chords and accompaniments. I almost thought that I could learn to play these songs, they were so clear, clean and simple.

The CD was full of original melodies, but in addition to that, the song often referenced existing tunes. “A River to Cross”, for example, hinted at “Oh, My Father”. “A Time for Ana” referenced the children’s tune “Are You Sleeping”. As you read the stories of the songs in the “liner notes” at the website, these make much more sense.

“Summer Rain” was the most visual, almost to being a tone poem. The gentle summer rains were expressed by light flickers of notes dancing and falling from the upper octaves of the keys.

“A Time for Ana” would be great, especially for Sunday listening. Put it on for background while studying your scriptures, or use it as meditation music. It’ll put you in that place for thought and relaxation.


Shameless Plug: “A River to Cross” is to be a featured song at “Latter Day Songs” this week. Check it out on the 15th!

Mark Hansen

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