• Released: November 20, 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


“Reflections” similar to Wallack’s most recently

released, “Chapters” and “Stories” has strong links to

memory, but instead of people or events, “Reflections”

channels moments in time – specifically holidays – as

its muse.

“Reflections” acts as a window into Wallack’s mind as it

expresses how he experiences holidays. Using subtle

fragments of culturally familiar melodies, Reflections

offers a new way to hear the iconic time-honored

melodies of the Christmas season.


Rating: RatingRatingRatingRatingRating 1 review

  • Pam Asberry

    Pam Asberry December 16, 2020


    Using subtle fragments of some western culture’s most beloved holiday tunes, “Reflections” offers its listeners a novel and refreshing way to experience the songs of the season. Arranged and performed by pianist and composer Stephen Wallack, these melodies are so familiar to most of us that hearing just the smallest fragments conjures a plethora of memories and feelings. While these pieces don’t demand our undivided attention, careful listening reveals them to be charming, imaginative and quite captivating.

    A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Wallack began taking piano lessons at the age of five. Performance anxiety kept him from continuing formal lessons for long – just long enough for him to realize that he had an ear for music and could imitate just about anything he heard. Happily, he discovered the album “December” by George Winston when he was 12; this turned out to be a major turning point for him in his musical development as it led him to begin composing. “I connected with George Winston’s style of music so much when I was young,” Wallack explains, “that writing just became a very natural next step for me.” Having listened to “December” countless times myself, I could definitely hear George Winston’s influence on the music of Stephen Wallack.

    Like all the songs on the album, the first track, “Deck the Halls,” features a prominent bass and frequent repetition of musical patterns. The opening is improvisational; suspense builds, and then the familiar carol begins. Yet it isn’t altogether familiar with its syncopated rhythm, open intervals, and slip notes, and the effect is one of pure joy!  “Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer” is lighthearted and filled with anticipation, like the hearts of children on Christmas Eve; “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is pulsing and energetic. The mood shifts with “We Three Kings”; this rendition is dark and mysterious and explores the full range of the piano keyboard. “Away in a Manger” was not the gentle lullaby I expected; it was more upbeat, perhaps an expression the wonder and joy experienced by those who were present at the time of the birth of the Christ Child. “Jingle Bells,” on the other hand, was introspective and thoughtful. A bit of musical storytelling, “Frosty the Snowman” weaves the tale of the snowman come to life. The pulse-quickening “Joy to the World,” literally throbs with the joy of the season and is my personal favorite of all the pieces on the album. “O Christmas Tree” is nostalgic and sentimental and left me feeling warm and cozy as an evening in front of a fireplace. “Silent Night” brings this musical journey to a peaceful conclusion, perfectly capturing the stillness of a winter evening.

    “Reflections” would make a lovely addition to any instrumental music lover’s holiday collection. Highly recommended!

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