More and more as a reviewer I have been looking outside of the normal soundtrack releases, and focusing upon albums and compositions by composers that we associate with film music, I suppose these are concept albums, studio albums whatever, they are in essence a collection of themes written by a composer who we ordinarily encounter scoring a motion picture or a TV show. One composer which I must admit to discovering just last year is Suzanne Ciani, who wrote the music for the 1981 movie THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMEN, which starred Lilly Tomlin and was directed by Joel Schumacher. She also scored the documentary MOTHER TERESA in 1986. However, her musical talents are not confined to writing for the big or small screens, in fact she is probably better known away from the film music arena rather than within it. She has produced several albums, which are all varying in their styles and sounds. One album I was particularly drawn to was SILVER SHIP, for me this is I suppose an gentle and effortless listen, the composer creating easy listening pieces, which are pleasant and breathtakingly beautiful.
The album which was released in 2005 was the first recording that the composer released of all new material since her album TURNING. The content of the album is a mix of both electronic and acoustic, in which the listener is treated to numerous melodic and affecting musical encounters. I think I was drawn to the recording because there is a sound present within it that evoked memories of the music of Italian cinema at times, most notably Stelvio Cipriani in track number three STROMBOLI, the subtle melody is performed by solo piano, with its performance being enhanced by the introduction of light woodwind and underlying strings which allow the piano to effectively take centre stage but at the same time add much to the composition.
The album is filled to overflowing with plaintive and haunting themes, the composer fashioning a powerful but at the same time melancholy musical persona throughout. There are obviously variations of styles as with any collection of compositions, Ciani at times serving up a fusion of both new age styles and Jazz infused moments, which to say the least are interesting and certainly entertaining. This is an album that will relax and also inspire, it is eloquent and graceful, with heartfelt cello, breathy woods, the composer also utilising the sound of the swell of the sea in the track OPEN SEAS, to which she adds a jazzy but wistful flute performance, and trickling piano which dance around each other giving the cue a light and airy mood. The sound of the sea is something that she has utilised more recently in her composition, TIDE POOLS which was released as a single on Duetsche Grammophon in 2019.
The track SARGASSO SEA is stunning, its emotional heart is purveyed by a melancholy cello performance, that is played in unison with poignant piano to bring to fruition a short but totally mesmerising piece. The same can also be said for the final track on the album which is also the title cue SILVER SHIP a heavenly sounding vocal, that again manages to touch on all the right emotions of the listener. The woods on the album seem to whisper their melodies and the strings underline and punctuate, with solo piano bringing all these elements together. The album has to it intimate and at times hopeful musical interludes that are highly emotive. It could be a soundtrack, but its not, but either way it is a rewarding and sophisticated listen, as is her THE VELOCITY OF LOVE album. SILVER SHIP is highly recommended, but also please check the rest of her albums, such as SEVEN WAVES, PURE ROMANCE and MEDITATIONS FOR DREAMS, RELAXATION AND SLEEP. To name but three. When listening to these beautifully crafted albums, just close your eyes and try and relax. The delicate and fragile compositions are just pure emotive bliss.