'Dancing on the Wind' is the sophomore album from Shoshana Michel, a pianist and composer whose debut recording, 'Soul Whispers', featured a collection of renditions of Chabad Nigunim. Following that album’s critical reception, Shoshana felt she needed to prove herself as more than just a pianist-arranger, but as a composer as well, so she sat down at her piano and began experimenting. After much determination the melodies simply began overflowing, with the outcome of that process resulting in an exquisite collection of eleven original solo piano compositions.

“When Leaves Dance” is a beautiful opener that begins in the higher register, as fluttering piano notes perfectly illustrate that of dancing leaves in the wind. Lower register notes soon join in adding more fluidity and complexity to the composition, as Shoshana’s hands grace the keys with a perfectly poised touch. Possessing a definite classical bent, the composition’s flowingly potent melody immediately captures the listener’s full attention, which is superbly enhanced by the beautiful tone and reverb of the piano. “Heather, Roses and Moonlight” follows next, which is among the album’s more romantic and contemporary pieces, along with “Love Everlasting” and “Wishing for You”. Other compositions seem to conjure images of nature and the countryside, such as the title track, “Dancing on the Wind”. This lovely number is characterized by delicate droplets over a repeating piano loop, effectively bringing to mind that of tiny leaves whirling amidst the air. One of my favorites is “Finding the Light Within”, a somewhat reverent composition that’s feels a bit evocative of Shoshana’s prior arrangements of Chabad Nigunim. Its melodic scale seems to lean towards the exotic in places, as Shoshana moves effortlessly through the registers of this esoteric number. Likewise in this vein is the equally stunning, “A Night of Lights”, a definitively nocturnal piece full of beautiful minor key strokes, which imparts a melody that sounds like it came from another era. “Wandering” is another particular highlight, where lighter sparkling notes shimmer upon a steady undercurrent of constant forward motion, bringing to mind that of traveling a great distance. Winding things down is “Quiet Valley”, a soothing composition that comes in quietly – with its sparser notes and slower stanza perfectly concluding the album.

Shoshana Michel’s keen attention to compositional detail along with her inherent knack for crafting sophisticated melodies left me highly impressed, especially considering that this is her first album of all original material. Masterfully imbuing her compositions with a perfect balancing of robustness with subtleness, she seemingly effortlessly pivots her way through the registers with a continued fluidity and gracefulness. 'Dancing on the Wind' simply leaves no doubt that Shoshana is not only a talented pianist, but a gifted composer as well, proving that she is a definite and determined rising star within the solo piano community! ~Candice Michelle

Links & Purchase: Amazon, iTunes, CDBabyShoshana Michel

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