David Lanz – Movements of the Heart (review)

David Lanz – Movements of the Heart (Shanachie) review

The most romantic album f Lanz’s long career

We’ve seen it happen several times recently – an artist takes some time off from their originals to revisit the music of their heroes, then comes back strong with a great new album.  The roots rock band the Smithereens followed this path, immersing themselves in the music of the Beatles and Who for almost a decade, then returned with their strongest CD in years called 2011 (read our review).

Pianist David Lanz has taken a similar route, also delving into the music of the Beatles for two fine tributes – Liverpool, and Here Comes the Sun.  In addition, he revamped his most famous work in Cristofori’s Dream Re-Envisioned (read our review).  All this looking back may or may not have had an influence on his latest work, Movements of the Heart, his first new album of originals in five years.

What is undeniable is that Lanz got a break from writing, and it shows – this new disc contains some of the best melodies of his entire career.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Lanz has a new love in his life – and much of Movements reflects that budding romance.  In fact, there is a noticeable difference in his music.  Previously, Lanz had a knack for creating beautiful pieces with a hint of melancholia – it’s as if he was always hinting that it wouldn’t last – that pleasure is finite.  But, here – he seems to have jumped in with both feet – fully living in the present, not thinking about what may come.  The sadness has been replaced by a warm, seductive undertone that seeps into much of the music.

Nowhere is that more apparent than on the gorgeous “Love’s Return,” quite possibly the most romantic melody Lanz has ever written.  “Rainlight” echoes the same hypnotic quality from some of the finest tracks on Cristofori’s Dream, yet isn’t a direct copy of any of the songs.  He even gives a nod to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata on “In Moonlight.”

While most of Lanz’s work is excellent mood music, Movements of the Heart contains so much passion, it’s great for active listening too.  Here’s hoping Lanz stays this inspired.  —Tony Peters