I have to admit that I approached Karen Marie Garret’s CD "It’s About the Rose" with some trepidation. I am not a greater lover of the New Age music genre. Also the prospect of a theme CD centered on the beauty of the rose caused some additional foreboding. But I had my prejudices quickly removed by this absolutely enchanting effort.
When people think of emotional music, they generally picture a Beethoven symphony or Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, but emotion can be subtle and nuanced without the use cymbals or timpani.
This is Garrett’s fourth CD, produced by Will Ackerman founder of Windham Hill Records and her first with all original compositions. Garrett was classically trained, and earlier CD’s featured compositions by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart and Erik Satie.
It’s About the Rose reminds me very much of Erik Satie, in fact. Both Satie and Garrett have a minimalist style of piano composition. The easy, almost ambling manner of the music belies the deep emotions that are being conveyed. Garrett displays an incredible virtuosity without the flourishes of a Chopin or Beethoven. Yet the subtlety of the music compels you and draws you into the emotions that Garrett is hoping to evoke.
Few people think that music is meant to be ambient, but the reality is that most times when we are listening to music, we’re doing something else - driving a car, reading a book or solving a Sudoku puzzle. This is an excellent CD to play when doing these other things, but you will find yourself pausing in whatever activity your doing, hopefully not driving a car, just to be drawn into Karen Marie Garrett’s exquisite ode to the rose.
While all of the tracks feature Garrett’s piano artistry, cello, violin, bass, drums and voice further enhance the leisurely beauty of the composition. Eugene Friesen’s cello especially proved an especially apt complement to Garrett’s exquisite play. All in all, It’s About the Rose is a seductively beautiful effort.