A Quiet Madness by William Susman
A Quiet Madness, by William Susman, is a beautifully tranquil album that sends the listener into a trance of their own thoughts. Recorded by Karen Bentley Pollick (violin), William Susman (composer/piano), Francesco Di Fiore (piano), Patricia Zuber (flute), and Stas Venglevski (accordion), this album provides a sonic experience to listeners of meditative serenity.
A beautiful work for violin and piano that creates a soundtrack to the mundane, everyday tasks in life. Through repetition, the listener embodies a trance-like, meditative state, only to be pulled back to reality upon each sectional shift. Karen Bentley Pollick and William Susman take the listener on a journey through their own thoughts but does not allow one to stay in their subconscious for too long. Susman and Pollick truly capture the essence of simplistic beauty in this Aria.
Quiet Rhythms No. 1, 5, 7
Quiet Rhythms No. 1 and No. 5 on this album appear to serve as interludes with Quiet Rhythms No. 7 acting as a postlude. Written for solo piano and performed by Francesco Di Fore, each of these musical interludes help transition the listener to the larger tracks, which feature more diverse musical timbres. These short works create a beautiful hypnotic soundscape for the listener and serve as the glue for holding this album together. While each track on this album stands alone, listening all the way through with Quiet Rhythms No. 1, 5, 7, will help direct the listener’s sonic journey with serenity.
Seven Scenes for Four Flutes
Seven Scenes for Four Flutes is a sonic shift from what the listener has heard thus far, with a similar relation to the harmonic, textural waves created by Susman in the first two tracks. This track was recorded and multi-tracked by flutist Patricia Zuber, who seamlessly blends all four parts into an auditory trance. The piece opens with one single flute, and quickly layers in the other voices, building harmonic depth. As time proceeds, the voicing changes between harmonic waves of sound to solo flute singing atop beautiful, rich harmonies. Shifts in texture, tessitura, rhythm, and style help create seven distinct scenes in which Zuber allows the listener to enter and leave as they become encapsulated within her beautifully, resonant sound.
A piece for solo accordion, creating an entirely new sonic experience the album has produced thus far. While this work certainly plays off the harmonic underpinnings we have experienced previously, the dancing rhythmic element in this piece helps encapsulate the essence of a Zydeco band. As more complex and dissonant harmonies than we have heard before are embedded within the work, the listener is taken to a darker area of their subconscious.
All in all, Susman takes the listener on an introspective journey through time. The beauty of this album is the freedom each listener has in allowing their mind to wander. With gentle pauses and shifts to different musical sections, Susman helps guide listeners in and out of their subconscious, while never fully dictating what “it is” one should be hearing or thinking about. Exceptional artistry has been presented by all the artists on this album, and it is a must listen for someone wanting a meditative and contemplative musical experience.
--Review by Sammy Holloman, The Flute View Magazine