Stories
  • Released: October 30, 2020
  • 10 track(s)

Stephen Wallack is a pianist and composer whose

combination of formal and self-taught exploratory learning

allows him to break free from the boundaries of genre

stereotypes with a freshness and emotional integrity that

hammers on the heartstrings of his listeners.

“Stories” is a series of character pieces whose melodies,

harmony, and rhythms work in tandem to paint images of

specific people who have impacted Wallack. From its

opening track Sunrise to its closing song Goodnight,

Wallack’s Stories utilizes metaphorical imagery of a 24-hour

day to express and experience this menagerie of memories.

Reviews

Rating: RatingRatingRatingRatingRating 2 reviews

  • Pam Asberry

    Pam Asberry January 10, 2021

    RatingRatingRatingRatingRating

    Pianist and composer Stephen Wallack’s combination of formal and exploratory learning results in music that defies stereotypes. His October 2020 release “Stories,” the natural successor to his debut album, “Chapters,” is a set of ten pieces whose musical elements synchronize to sonically describe specific people who have impacted his life. Using the metaphorical imagery of a 24-hour day, Wallack allows his listeners to experience this montage of memories.

    The album begins with “Sunrise,” that daily event that is all too easy to take for granted. The opening is dark, with lots of bass and open intervals; soon, however, we hear splashes of sound in the upper register, like the first rays of sunlight sparkling over the horizon. Utilizing the full range of the keyboard, Wallack paints a majestic picture of the beginning of a new day. Next comes “Rain,” a lively joy-filled piece that put me in mind of a toddler in bright yellow boots splashing through puddles. The next track, “Children,” starts peacefully, as a waltz, but the mood shifts abruptly about halfway through, playfully channeling the ebullience and exhilaration of a child at play, before ending gently. The Latin word “excelsior” means “ever upwards” or “even higher” and the next piece, which bears this title, does just that, its regal and majestic opening followed by melody, dynamics and tempo that climb to a brilliant climax, evoking both zeal and yearning. “The Dancer” spins furiously round and round, like a ballerina executing a fantastical pirouette, with reflective pauses sprinkled throughout before the frenzy resumes.

    “My Love” is a sweet romance, laced with tenderness and passion; in a similar vein, “Cousins” is permeated with devotion and affection, but with lively twists and turns. “Eight” is imbued with a driving, percussive energy throughout, then ends poignantly and lightly. Like an impressionist painting, “Monet” is rich with layers of texture, color and light. “Goodnight” winds down slowly, bringing the album to a pleasant and peaceful conclusion.

    “Stories” is a refreshing and compelling musical experience, and Stephen Wallack is fast becoming one of my favorite contemporary solo piano artists. Very highly recommended!

  • Pam Asberry

    Pam Asberry January 10, 2021

    RatingRatingRatingRatingRating

    Pianist and composer Stephen Wallack’s combination of formal and exploratory learning results in music that defies stereotypes. His October 2020 release “Stories,” the natural successor to his debut album, “Chapters,” is a set of ten pieces whose musical elements synchronize to sonically describe specific people who have impacted his life. Using the metaphorical imagery of a 24-hour day, Wallack allows his listeners to experience this montage of memories.

    The album begins with “Sunrise,” that daily event that is all too easy to take for granted. The opening is dark, with lots of bass and open intervals; soon, however, we hear splashes of sound in the upper register, like the first rays of sunlight sparkling over the horizon. Utilizing the full range of the keyboard, Wallack paints a majestic picture of the beginning of a new day. Next comes “Rain,” a lively joy-filled piece that put me in mind of a toddler in bright yellow boots splashing through puddles. The next track, “Children,” starts peacefully, as a waltz, but the mood shifts abruptly about halfway through, playfully channeling the ebullience and exhilaration of a child at play, before ending gently. The Latin word “excelsior” means “ever upwards” or “even higher” and the next piece, which bears this title, does just that, its regal and majestic opening followed by melody, dynamics and tempo that climb to a brilliant climax, evoking both zeal and yearning. “The Dancer” spins furiously round and round, like a ballerina executing a fantastical pirouette, with reflective pauses sprinkled throughout before the frenzy resumes.

    “My Love” is a sweet romance, laced with tenderness and passion; in a similar vein, “Cousins” is permeated with devotion and affection, but with lively twists and turns. “Eight” is imbued with a driving, percussive energy throughout, then ends poignantly and lightly. Like an impressionist painting, “Monet” is rich with layers of texture, color and light. “Goodnight” winds down slowly, bringing the album to a pleasant and peaceful conclusion.

    “Stories” is a refreshing and compelling musical experience, and Stephen Wallack is fast becoming one of my favorite contemporary solo piano artists. Very highly recommended!

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