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Quiet Beauty: Heartsongs for Cello and Piano

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Audio CD, August 2, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Heartsongs for Two Cellos and Piano These songs, simply put, are melodies from my heart and soul. I call them "heartsongs" because at the time I wrote each one, it evoked a unique emotion from a place deep within me. Emotions and feelings that I didn't even know I was harboring. At turns, these are my expressions of love, longing, hope, sorrow, doubt, joy, wonder.....emotions we all feel and own, but may have difficulty realizing and expressing with words. Yet, many of the songs are vocal in essence, with the cello and its voice-like quality, the singer of the melody. I hope that my music might touch your soul and help express your heart's song, and the Quiet Beauty within.


Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 2, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Celloman Records
  • ASIN: B000HIUYQA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,397 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jake on January 16, 2007
Format: Audio CD
JAMES TODD

QUIET BEAUTY

Prepare yourself for something different. On the CD (QUIET BEAUTY) by James Todd, he wrote ten original tunes and he plays cello duets with himself (backed by William Morse on piano). The haunting, entwining cello parts (sometimes with a third cello part added as a bass line) are the epitome of "quiet beauty." Because of the cello and piano instrumentation, the music initially sounds classical in nature, but upon close listening it becomes more evident that these are modern compositions. So call it contemporary classical, neo-classical, modern instrumental or new age, but whatever category you want to put it in doesn't mater. The bottom line is that the music is soft, warm and endearing.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daiho VINE VOICE on May 31, 2007
Format: Audio CD
The name James Todd will not be familiar to anyone beyond the Colorado region, and even then only if you travel in classical music circles. Todd has quite an extensive recording and performing history, but it's always been as a supporting member. He is currently the principle cellist of the Arapahoe Philharmonic in Denver and also appears regularly with other local orchestras as well as teaching music at local colleges and universities. He's worked with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Crosby/Nash, Yanni, John Tesh, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Brian Wilson, Lyle Lovett, Marvin Hamlisch, Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Rogers, Linda Ronstadt, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Mannheim Steamroller, Sarah Brightman, Smokey Robinson, K.D. Lang, the Three Tenors, and Jose Feliciano.

But until now, he has never recorded his own music.

These 10 original compositions for cello and piano are elegant soundscapes with a neo-classical touch, dependent less on melody than creating a warm and pleasing ambience. Todd refers to them as "heart songs," compositions based on an emotive state and expressed through the voice-like qualities of the cello. Among the titles are New Day, Hope, Shadows of the Mind, Soliloquy, and the title track, Quiet Beauty.

Joining Todd on this recording is pianist William Morse, the conductor and director of the Evergreen Chamber Orchestra, as well as the leader of his own jazz trio and a professor of music. On this recording Morse carries the rhythm and states the chords, over which Todd's cello "sings" the melody. If you listen closely, you'll notice a much richer cello sound than one instrument alone can provide. And that's because Todd has overdubbed two and sometimes three parts for a fuller and more rewarding sound.

Reminiscent of music from cellists David Darling or Hajime Mizoguchi, Quiet Beauty is a lovely album of enveloping music, great for those times when your soul needs soothing.

#
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eldonna Edwards on January 11, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I bought this to expand my massage therapy music library and was not disappointed. James Todd has created the perfect blend of soothing yet uplifting melodies that are a perfect background for meditation, massage, and yoga OR put on headphones and enjoy every inflection of bow against string. I especially like that the cello is in the foreground rather than drowned out by piano or other instruments.

Just lovely.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Sutton, Jr. on August 15, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I recently discovered this wonderful introspective album and highly recommend as background music to ponder life. The lyrical quality of the cello is put to full use when paired with a piano. I very favorably compare this album to David Darling's best efforts. Classical cello lovers will find much to relish in the original, contemporary songs. Let your heart soar and your mind wander.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Parsons TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 18, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I don't think there is a more soul-stirring combination of musical instruments than piano and cello, and the duo of James Todd (cellos) and William Morse (piano) really underscores that point. Both artists are music professors with lifetimes devoted to music. A seasoned studio and freelance musician in many genres of music, this is James Todd's first album of original compositions (for two cellos and piano), and I have my fingers crossed that it will be the beginning of a long series. I hesitate to refer to much contemporary music as classical, but "Quiet Beauty" would certainly fall into that category, blended with the new age approach to soothing, relaxing music to calm the mind and refresh the spirit. Subtitled "Heartsongs for Cello and Piano," each of the ten pieces is an exquisite gem that expresses a deeply-felt emotion. The pace of the entire CD is consistent enough to hold a steady mood, but the pieces are individual and deceptively complex, allowing for many deep listens without a loss of interest. My only warning is that this is a difficult CD to wake up with - I kept snuggling down in the covers with a smile on my face and going back to sleep!

"Quiet Beauty" begins with the gorgeous "New Day," a piece full of the hope and optimism of a fresh start. The gentle, leisurely tempo of the piece evokes sighs and thoughts of, "Oh, that's nice!" "Breeze in G" is a sweet breath of springtime. Dedicated to Todd's mother who always asked before his symphony performances if the music was going to be pretty, this piece exceeds "pretty" by a long shot. "I Wonder" is a musical daydream - warm and cozy, with gentle anticipation. The title track appears as an ensemble piece and also closes the CD as a piano solo.
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