13 Songs, 50 Minutes


Ratings and Reviews

5 out of 5

6 Ratings

6 Ratings

From MainlyPiano


There are a lot of really good pianists on the contemporary piano scene, but only a few are breath-taking, and Neil Patton is one of those. With impeccable technique, lightning-fast fingers, and amazing control of the piano, Patton also brings that intangible magic and passion to his compositions and playing that set him apart from most. From thundering and energetic to the most delicate and tender moments, Patton knows what he wants to say with his music, and does so with clarity and precision, but also with a ton of heart. "Between Shadow and Light" is probably the most accessible of Patton’s three solo piano albums, but it is also his most dazzling with a fine array of musical moods and messages. In the liner notes of the CD, Patton explains the origins of each piece and dedicates the album to “the Healers: the pastors and priests, doctors and nurses, counselors, therapists, teachers, and other shepherds that have dedicated their lives to the healing of others....” In his introductory comments, Patton states: “The world is broken, and so are we. Our souls, bodies and minds yearn for the day when we are whole again, as we were made to be. For some, the journey through this valley is harder than for others. My prayer is that we would find our ultimate healing in Jesus, and that his peace and power would rest on us....”

"Between Shadow and Light" is incredible from beginning to end - no filler whatsoever. It begins with “Rhyme or Reason,” composed for a friend suffering with ALS. Filled with questions and tender compassion, there is a beautiful thread of hope that runs through the whole piece. “Surface Tension” is one of the more energetic pieces and one of my favorites. Restless and anxious, imbued with a touch of mystery, this passionate piece never stops moving, swirling from theme to theme, pausing only briefly to catch its breath. “Great Expectations” is another favorite. Dark, questioning and deeply emotional, so much is expressed without words getting in the way. And then there is the title track, “Nocturne (Between Shadow and Light)” a piece with more than a few nods to Chopin, the master of the nocturne. Composed after watching a long, painful illness take the life of his father, this piece is for Patton’s parents, who “never lost sight of their hope in Christ in the darkness of the valley.” This is truly one of the most beautiful and heartfelt pieces of music I’ve ever heard in my life. Words cannot express the emotional impact of this incredible piece. If you only listen to one track on this album, choose “Nocturne.” “Flights of Angels” follows with an exuberant expression of joy and redemption. “The Hands of the Healer” and “The Long Goodbye” are tender and comforting - true expressions of love and compassion. “Moonrise” is more of an experimental piece with additional sounds that were recorded from inside the piano. Inspired by an Ansel Adams photograph, these effects in addition to the beauty of the piece create an atmospheric wonderland - another WOW! piece that closes this amazing album - quite possibly my choice as ALBUM OF THE YEAR.

I sometimes refer to Neil Patton as a “local treasure,” and "Between Shadow and Light" proves it. It is nothing short of a masterpiece, and I can only hope it receives the recognition it deserves. I give it my highest recommendation - and then some!

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus


The title of pianist Neil Patton’s award-winning album “Between Shadow And Light” provides more than a hint of the thematic direction and inspiration of the recording. According to Neil: “This album was largely inspired by people in my life (myself included) who are traveling through valleys of suffering and healing.” The opening track grabbed me right from the beginning with its lovely waltz rhythm and classical influence. As it evolved through various movements, I could hear what Neil meant by shadow and light. He has a wonderful sense of dynamics both within a particular passage as well as transiting from one to another.

The second track entitled “Surface Tension” is quite up-tempo and is a showcase for the more intricate and ornate side of Neil’s playing. One of my favorite tracks was the upbeat and exuberant “Flights Of Angels,” which actually draws it title from one of the last lines in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.” This piece has an emotionally uplifting feel that is palpable and I found myself listening to it a number of times. By contrast, the next track “The Hands Of The Healer,” has a quieter, more reflective ambience that Neil dedicates to a team of medical professionals who helped him heal from a debilitating hand and wrist problem that affected his ability to play the piano. The album concludes with “Moonrise,” which at almost 7 minutes in length, it is by far the longest track on the album and has a bit more of an impressionistic air than some of the other more highly structured compositions. This was another of my favorites.

Neil Patton’s piano playing has been described as “breathtaking,” and after listening to “Between Shadow And Light” in detail, I would have to agree. His range is expansive and I was greatly impressed with his ability to play with measured restraint in one moment and then pull out all the stops in the next. Yet beyond Neil’s technical expertise is a depth of feeling that reveals a soul who has experienced both the bitter and the sweet fruits from the tree of life and is capable of expressing them with great eloquence in his heartfelt compositions and playing.

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