Verdeaux, Cyrille - Piano For The Third Ear

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Clearlight Music
Catalog Number: C8M-206
Format: CD
Total Time: 64:05:00

While one might not consider Cyrille Verdeaux's Piano For The Third Ear progressive in the "traditional" sense -- it is more classical than anything else. That which we appreciate in progressive music can be found here. Piano For The Third Ear is exactly that - Verdeaux solo on a richly toned piano, playing a 13 different compositions (the 14th track is a reprise of the first) that are both of the light and lyrical variety and of the dark and dramatic variety. In fact, so much variation is there, that one feels compelled to make comment on each and every track. While the overall mood of the album is serious and somber, it is not depressing. Everything, even the darker passages are upbeat, uplifting.

Right from the beginning you know you are going to be treated to some excellently textured pieces, not only based on Verdeaux's reputation, but by the first track "Crystal Dream." I'm sure that Verdeuax has three hands (one for each ear, perhaps), as he uses so much of the keyboard at the same time that it seems it must surely be the case. While it might point out my limited perview with solo piano music, the artist that come to mind most often to me was David Lanz -- there is very much the same sensitivity and sensibility.

Third Ear is a relaxing suite of music without being sleepy -- that's where the dramatic passages come in. "Astral Journey" begins with a dark rumbling, for instance (and I immediately thought of Supertramp's "Long Way Home"). It contrasts deeper, darker tones (the space between the stars) against very light, tinkly notes (the stars). This journey is leisurely and relaxed -- this happy and contented future that 2001: A Space Odyssey seemed to indicate. Travellers float "weightlessly" on their way to some spacestation or planetary resort -- and I'm sure it's because of the Kubrick film/Clark story that this image has a decidedly "60s view of the future" look to it. As we learn six minutes into this journey, that the trip is not without it's dangers -- perhaps a near miss with cometary matter, a near collision with another vessel (perhaps these future flight controllers are still using equipment from the 1970s) -- or perhaps it's just some natual phenomenon that quickens ones heart, excites the senses...

Verdeaux's son had died at the age of five, having drowned. For him, Verdeaux composed "Remember Jonathan" -- it is warm with only a touch of melancholy. Primarily it celebrates the and reflects upon the five years Jonathan was alive. With swirling notes, we imagine and energetic and lively child, questioning life with wonder.

What else to highlight on this nearly consistently excellent album? "Remembrance" is a open and flowing piece, airy and breezy -- like a bright summer's day seen through an open window, white curtains billowing in the wind, the wind portending a storm. Now, I write this forgetting that the end of this track/the beginning of the next begins with a crack of thunder and rain (thought I knew this effect was somewhere later on the album). That next track is "Tolouse Lautrec's Lament," a piece that at times reminds me of the Theme From Hill Street Blues -- just for a passage or two, and I'm very much certain it is coincidence.

For drama, look no further than the opening to the title track ... there are number of other pieces that come to mind, listening to this, and yet it doesn't really sound like any of them. But to give you a general idea...think a bit of "Nadia's Theme" (both as in the gymnast Nadia Comenche [whose name I've probably mangled] and the theme music for the US soap opera "The Young And The Restless"). It is more somber than that, however.

"Raga (live)," like "Astral Journey" begins with rumbling dark piano notes, but here they do not give way to the main theme. There is a feeling, however, that Verdeaux is moving through the notes too fast, resulting in a very choppy and staccato feel -- the notes are cut and clipped. There is a vague Indian (as in India) feel to the music that gets stronger for very brief passages, but doesn't fully colour the theme.

As with Verdeaux's other releases, this forms part of the Kundalini Opera, this album reflecting the 6th Chakra (Ajna), which takes musical form in the track simply entitled "Ajna." This is a brief track, lasting only a little over two minutes. According to the blurb on the Clearlight 888 Music website, "The sixth chakra, located on the brow (Ajna), is said in many texts to be the site of the so-called third eye (and "third ear"). Musicians, poets and the prophets communicate by the means of this inner ear. This chakra represents the doors of perception, the key to higher consciousness, the voice of God. The Grand Piano functions as an entire orchestra keying into the resonant 6th chakra frequencies. The sixth chakra is associated with the pituitary gland, lower brain, left eye, ears, nose and nervous system. Emotional issues associated with this chakra are truth, intellectual abilities, openness to ideas of others, ability to learn from experiences and emotional intelligence. Physical ailments associated with this chakra are brain tumor and/or hemorrhage, stroke, neurological disturbances, blindness, deafness, full spinal difficulties, learning disabilities, and seizures" (more extensive information is included in the album's liner notes).

Though no actual medical claims are made, one could surmise that not only is Verdeaux's music an enjoyable listen, but it can be good for you, too.

Crystal Dream (3:48) / Joy And Pain (2:59) / Astral Journey (9:23) / Remember Jonathan (5:06) / Danse Angelique (5:57) / Remembrance (5:48) / Tolouse Lautrec's Lament (5:29) / Piano For The Third Ear (3:45) / La Cheminée (3:19) / Raga (Live) (5:39) / Sacred Mirrors (4:39) / Nympheas (For Monet) (3:10) / Ajna (2:05) / Crystal Dream (reprise) (2:50)

Cyrille Verdeaux - grand piano

Clearlight - Symphony (1973)
Clearlight - Forever Blowing Bubbles (1975)
Clearlight - Delired Cameleon Family (1974)
Clearlight - Les Contes de Singe Fou (1977)
Clearlight - Clearlight Visions (1978)
Offrandes (1980)
Nocturnes Digitales (1980)
Prophecy (1981)
Flowers From Heaven (1983)
Piano For The Third Ear (1983)
Journey to Tantraland (1984/99/2001)
Complete Kundalini Opera Box Set (6 cassettes) (1984)
Messenger Of The Son (1985) Rhapsody For The Blue Planet (1988)
Symphony II (1990)
In Your Hands (Les Contes de Singe Fou) (re-recording, 1994)
Impressionist Musique (1995)
Tribal Hybrid Concept (1998, w/Menestreyl)
Ethnicolours (1998, w/Menestreyl)
Best of Rainbow (1999) (sampler of box set below)
Complete Rainbow Box Set (1999) (6 CD's )
Aerobix 99 (1998)
Best of Kundalini Opera (1999) (sampler of box set below)
Complete Kundalini Opera Box Set (1999) (7 CDs)
Infinite Symphony (2003)
Impressionist Musique (tba)

Genre: Other

Origin FR

Added: December 15th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1283
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]