Renee Sigel Riding: Modena, Italy, Editor of ‘’

I've been spending quite some time with John Levine’s Silence of Heart & Silence of Love CD’s. It's become like walking through a cathedral of suspended canticles: the tactilebaural sensory is extraordinary in its weightless-ness for being such an encompassing labyrinth of sound: it shifts itself imperceptibly beyond standard lyricism...

and Levine holds it back from sentimentality.... reminds me a little of
equine dressage :)

Well I tell you what I am finding increasingly fascinating is that while superficially the effect of both pieces are very ethereal and give me a sense of taking elements of Ravel into the ''new ageneses'' of 'mood music'' as a genre.... it's what's happening 'pianistically'' underneath that catches my serious attention.

Composers like Chopin, Ravel Debussy, explore an aural landscape through the Piano as a technical medium almost, and yes create stunning compositional complexities both for the
performer and the listener; it's almost as though Levine is inverting the entire process...

delving rather into the inherent textural landscape of the instrument itself as an exploration of its
own essential expressiveness, and not purely as a means of compositional instrumentation
or technique..'

it seems to me that Levine is engaging in a different kind of musical abstraction; not purely as an
expression of his own compositional intellect and creative canvass but allowing
the instrument to unfold its own intrinsic tonal light and line while embellishing the shading with
such subtle strokes of chromaticism as to be almost imperceptible, yet is anything but....

and it creates this acoustic conversation with itself that alters ever so slightly each time I hear it...
like looking at an art work at different times of the day, in different light and seeing different things within the work each time...

its that kind of multiplicity that never loses its cohesive core because the composer is not
layering it compositionally as a structure... rather he is allowing it its own kind of organic freedom to do that within its own natural tonscape:

I’ll tell you another secret………

Levine has utterly spoiled new age mood musak for me for life... not that it wasn't doing its own job
splendidly, but this cut a different kind of slice through the irrelevance of
what others are ''committing''....

Levine is in such a different league as to really send the bunch packing with their ''composer''
tails between their legs…

Even my husband walked into the living room and asked me what I was listening to...and is impressed: he is a bass baritone.

I am really fascinated by the way this composer thinks musically

In the time I have been listening to the two long versions of Silence of Heart and Silence of Love
Levine increasingly makes me think of Beethoven...

This contemporary music composer should not lose his faith of ‘being discovered’…he
certainly will be soon!.... his writing is quite extraordinary and if there is
one thing I'll be doing my dammedest to prevent is his talent going to waste!…

John is doing something so incredibly daring and immensely courageous artistically..

no contemporary composer today, none I know of anyway, has even considered to
venture into this realm musically it isn't even considered a viable genre by
most ….

and what him doing.. please bear with the comparison, as it’s the only way i can
clearly explain … what I am hearing is the orchestral skill of a composer like
Beethoven, whose passion and artistic interest lay in exploring and unfurling
the textural complexities of the orchestral sound palette, but instead of using the standard vistas of contemporary composition today, be that in opera, chamber music, orchestral music or even single instrument composition, he has chosen to go off and unfold
a singular musical vocabulary in a known, totally non-classical genre, already repleat with enough kitch to kill Tutankhamen....he excels at his orchestral ear and eye in exploring the
piano to create what I can only term ''musical zen''…

at any level, the musical audacity that takes is huge precisely because it begs
the impossible simplicity and emotive restraint that the best and worst of
composers rarely possess whilst Levine , well, just seems to breathe it and to
me what this implies of his intellectual and musical alacrity is nothing short of amazing!

For more information about John and alphamusic, please visit

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