The Mindful Bard
Chris Smith, Piano Passion and Middle Age Angst
is usually a series of tragedies punctuated by the occasional success.”
In an experimental and avant-garde musical world Chris Smith has turned to traditional
musical forms for the expression of a poignant and halcyon aesthetic. He has my full blessing.
Piano Passion and
Middle Age Angst is a series of delicate and distinctive piano concertos recalling the French composers Debussy, Satie, and
Ravel. Gallic culture has also inspired Smith’s choice of titles—"Le Désir," "Mon Petit
Chou," and "Doucement Comme je Dors" (among others).
The gorgeous music videos that accompany these
pieces on UK television networks provide that salient visual dimension that the music calls for, but if you don’t watch
the videos you’ll find your own visions welling up in response to the music alone.
The wonderful thing about
art, one thing which I would even argue makes it art, is that there is no one way to interpret it. Art’s meaning is
polysemous; whereas we can disagree about what the words to “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas really mean,
the song can only hold one meaning at a time, unlike “Summertime,” which resonates with multiple meanings at once.
These concertos throb with meanings. They comprise a felicitous series of soundtracks for life changes, disappointments,
the kind of melancholy that’s delicious to wallow in for a spell (but not for the other kind, the downward-spiralling
kind), nostalgic reveries, meditations, moments of personal illumination, and romantic interludes. And more artistic creation.
Piano Passion and Middle Age Angst manifests six of The Mindful Bard’s criteria for music well worth a listen: 1) it is authentic, original, and delightful;
2) it makes me want to be a better artist; 3) it gives me tools which help me be a better artist; 4) it displays an engagement
with and compassionate response to suffering; 5) it inspires an awareness of the sanctity of creation; and 6) it provides
respite from a sick and cruel world, a respite enabling me to renew myself for a return to mindful artistic endeavour.
The Bard could use some help scouting out new material. If you discover any books, compact disks,
or movies which came out in the last twelve months and which you think fit the Bard's criteria, please drop a line to
firstname.lastname@example.org. If I agree with your recommendation, I'll thank you online.