“Opus 8: A Solo Piano Collection” by Tim Neumark
Award-winning composer and pianist, Tim Neumark’s new release, “Opus 8,” is his first album of original piano music since 2018. The album includes all his original compositions since that time that weren’t intended for other projects, such as holiday works for orchestra or a movie score for cello.
The 13 tracks, 55-minutes of mostly solo piano, are arranged on the album as a collection more than to tell a story, and with a few pieces included that were inspired by the pandemic.
The album opens with, “Lockdown,” which was actually one of the last pieces composed but is first on the track list. This is somber, yet melodic, heartfelt, and enjoyable. There’s a quietness here in which Tim has perfectly captured the isolated mood of that strange time.
Following is “February Moonlight,” which is flowing and melodic as well. Inspired by an eerie winter moon, this, too, is quite enjoyable.
The delightfully happy, upbeat, “Bows in the Mirror” brings a big smile to the face, and even more so when one realizes it’s inspired by the hair bows worn by his daughters. He sees these in his rear-view mirror every day when he drives the children to school. How cute. Great song.
In the middle of the night, Tim had an inspiration to create a song with just four notes. The result was “The Ghost.” The entire song is formed from 4 note melodies. Very creative.
Space doesn’t permit the addressing of all 13 tracks, so here are some other highlights: “Non Sequitur” is a favorite. The expression is Latin for “it does not follow.” Here, the intention was, if I understand correctly, that it just IS, and doesn’t have any particular meaning that is connected to anything else. That may seem odd, but the song truly belongs here as part of the cohesive thread. Artistically interesting, the piece has a lovely lullaby quality that is quite relaxing.
“Shining Through” is quite happy, bright, and fast paced. It’s also a favorite. The song was inspired by a photograph of his daughters taken in a field of sunflowers. The photo was also used for the single release of the piece. This is sparkling, full of love and scintillatingly pretty, just like Tim’s daughters. And following is an equally lovely tribute to Tim’s wife, Monica, “My Love.”
The meditative piece “Still” is intentionally slow. Peaceful and contemplative, this composition is about 5 minutes of quietude that is “still” popular with Tim’s fans. I found “Yearning” to have a similar vibe. Both are quite calming to the psyche.
The album closes out with Tim’s orchestral arrangement of Michele McLaughlin’s beautiful song, “Hope,” from her album, “Sketches.” The arrangement is outstanding, and the song is performed here by the wonderful Budapest Scoring Orchestra. Gorgeous.
Releasing February 18, 2022, get it here: https://timneumark.com/