13 Songs, 55 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5

8 Ratings

8 Ratings

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus

MDiamond

Although he is best known for his extensive body of work in film and TV soundtracks, composer/ pianist Peter Calandra steps into the spotlight in his other role as a recording artist of his own music with the release of his imaginative new CD, “Inner Circle.” The album sparkles, reflecting a rainbow spectrum of his musical influences ranging from classical to new age, jazz, Latin, and more. While Peter wrote, arranged, and recorded the music, and did all the digital sequencing and programming, as well as playing piano, keyboards, percussion he also enlisted some top-notch accompanists on bass, violin, viola, oboe, flute, piccolo, cello, and vocals.

The opening track knocked my socks off right from the start. The arrangement of this tune was impressive as it morphed in and out of different sounds and spaces. And speaking of different spaces, the next track, “Dine’s Waltz,” is an elegant and cinematic composition that features some harmonic string writing that is influenced by Debussy. A classical element that I appreciate in this piece, as well as in Peter’s music in general, is the way the music is presented in distinct movements – something he uses to great dramatic effect. . In addition to his dramatic orchestrated style, the album also includes a number of more understated solo piano pieces. Peter’s arpeggiated piano motif is richly accented by sonorous strings on the album’s title track, which again draws influence from Debussy, although a hint of jazz finds its way into the mix in certain sections. The album draws to a heavenly conclusion, with the appropriately titled “Chorale.” As the only track without piano, this one features strings and layered voices.

With the level of skill and creativity he reveals as a composer, arranger, and performer, it’s easy to see why Peter Calandra has been so successful in his professional career. I was entranced from the album’s opening track, and continued to be impressed as each new piece unfolded. It’s rare to find an artist this adept at so many genres, and able to remarkably blend them together into a cohesive and continuously captivating listening experience.

From MainlyPiano

KathyPiano7

"Inner Circle" is a fascinating collection of thirteen original pieces by Peter Calandra, a composer best-known for his scoring for film and television. Piano and keyboards are prominent in all of these pieces, and Calandra is backed by an impressive list of guest musicians on an assortment of instruments. I think the most remarkable thing about this album is that Calandra is so comfortable with and adept at such a broad spectrum of musical styles that range from classical to jazz to pop and fusion. Calandra’s goal with "Inner Circle" was “to touch the listener’s heart, to strike an emotional chord, while also exploring my wide-ranging musical interests.” Mission accomplished! "Inner Circle" is Calandra’s fifth independent release, and should bring him out of the background and into the spotlight. In addition to his soundtrack work, he has also played keyboard for an impressive list of Broadway productions and has music published and playing in sixty countries around the world. He has also played and recorded with the New York Pops Orchestra and artists that include Dee Dee Bridgewater, Aretha Franklin, and Allen Ginsberg.

"Inner Circle" begins with the intriguingly-titled “Clyde And The Pearl,” a jazzy confection that features Calandra on percussion, keyboards, and piano. Upbeat, rhythmic, and very catchy, it’s a great opener! “Dine’s Waltz” goes in a different direction with a light and very graceful dance for piano and strings. The first movement of “The Wayfarer” reminds me a bit of early Yanni with darkly intense strings and a powerful pulse that evolve into a sweet interlude that returns to a variation on the original theme, adding haunting, passionate vocals - one of my favorites! “Better Angels” is an evocative piano solo that relies on deep emotion rather than fancy finger-work to convey its message. The title track begins as a duet that mixes a sparkling keyboard with silky-smooth strings - very beautiful. “Faith” is another favorite. It begins as a soulful duet for oboe and piano and easily transitions into a chamber work by adding violin, cello, acoustic bass and flute. Themes are alternately serene and more energetic, building intensity all the way to the end. From there, we go to a sweet and tender piano solo called “So Much To Say.” To show he still hasn’t run out of new directions to take his listeners, “A Quiet Spark” is a gently ambient piano solo that comes directly from the heart. “The Dreamer” is atmospheric and hypnotic with a single low tone that runs through the whole piece along with keyboard and strings that cast a peaceful, magical spell. The last track is another surprise called “Chorale,” which pretty much says it all. Only Joy Askew is given “vocals, vocal sampling” credit, so this beautiful, richly-voiced choir must be mostly electronic, bringing the album to a close with an elegant wordless hymn.

Despite the varied styles of music on this album, it holds together really well and takes the listener on an aural journey. Recommended!

Just a pure pleasure!

pattigos

Not a wordy reviewer but had to say I really enjoyed the entire CD! Take the time and listen to this beautiful album. I get the feeling Peter Calandra really had a wonderful time making Inner Circle.

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