David Lanz – Cristofori’s Dream…Re-Envisioned (review)

David Lanz – Cristofori’s Dream…Re-Envisioned (moonboymusic) review

Breathtaking re-interpretation of an instrumental classic

The original Cristofori’s Dream put pianist David Lanz on the map back in 1988.  The album’s surprise hit single, a cover of Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” helped define a new style of understated, mostly instrumental music called New Age.  Now, for the 25th anniversary, Lanz has recreated the entire album using only his solo piano on Cristofori’s Dream…Re-Envisioned.

Although deemed a classic, the original Cristofori’s Dream does contain some elements that date the recording.  Synthesizers and electronic percussion, while understated, still place the album squarely in the late Eighties.  That’s what makes this new project such a delight – by stripping everything else away, these timeless melodies can truly shine through.

You may not be familiar with the album, but you’ve certainly heard these songs – they’ve been in movies, youtube, and even used on the Weather Channel for their Local on the 8‘s segment for years.

The album opens with the title track.  The first, contemplative notes are destined to send chills.  With just solo piano, Lanz is able to slow down, and add pauses in ways he can’t do with a band, leaving room for reflection.

These songs have a way of grabbing you and pulling you in. “Green Into Gold” has a hypnotic element to its repetitive opening phrase.  It’s also nice to hear a piano interpretation of “Free Fall” – Lanz played a synthesizer on the original version.  And, the solo piano version of “A Whiter Shade of Pale” is absolutely gorgeous.

There’s an accompanying booklet where Lanz gives background on the original project, plus he reveals the inspiration behind many of the songs.  There’s also two additional tracks – a live version of “Cristofori’s” with an orchestra, and a brief solo piano piece called “Seoul Improvisation.”

Rarely does a re-recording improve on the original.  Yet, with just the warm acoustics of a solo piano, Cristofori’s Dream…Re-Envisioned makes a bona fide classic even better.  –Tony Peters