"Recently one of the most awaited solo piano albums arrived into my hands. The composer and pianist Ralph Zurmühle launched his fourth work this 2011 under the title eQuinox . In this album Zurmühle makes a momentary musical journey to those places that have marked his life with two evident characteristics; sensitivity and strength. Based on a majestic ability for the piano this album is divided into ten beautiful compositions that narrate interesting stories without words. eQuinox responds with pleasing music; the listener enjoys exquisite melodies, in which Ralph has put his soul.
The beautiful Picnic in the Desert opens eQuinox . The notes emanate a sweet mixture of longing with an overwhelming tenderness revealing one of the most emotional compositions on the CD. It is also one of Zurmühle's most noteworthy pieces on this CD. It leaves one breathless!
Ralph makes his particular adaptation of the famous Scottish song, Auld Lang Syne, a piece that has been converted into a sort of hymn in the U.S. at the arrival of the New Year. Conserving a light melancholy state, the artist realizes slight modifications of the original sheet music, offering a most interesting touch.
My favorite of the entire album is Mediterranean Suite. A fantastic piece. Zurmühle incorporates different feelings; strength, hope, sadness and something like pain can be perceived in the chords of this majestic composition. Ralph alternates these states of being with a touch of pride. The listener becomes enamored with this piece as it takes on form. It's incredible! Such passion!
Serenade is tranquil, slow, as if an intimate moment marks the tempo of an improvised melody. With softness and a touch of romanticism, the music caresses the ears with a unique sensitivity, giving importance to a perfect instant.
The Beacon (Version 2010) already appeared in his earlier album Between . This is an extended version of that brief composition, which opened his debut album. An extensive work in which the sweetness of the melody strongly embraces the soul, radiating affection. I like it!
Once again, emotion with Horses, another one of my favorites on eQuinox. Ralph leaves practically no scale of the piano untouched. The quick touch of the chords and notes offers the energy that reveals this exceptional pianist's great technique. Music in which, Zurmühle's hands allow themselves to be guided by passion. Great!
Another adaptation of a traditional, this time is, Shenandoah. After the agitated moment created by Horses this piece converts into a delicacy for the senses. Moving and endearing, this version is the most seducing.
Something of innocence encompasses this melody. For Michael is an enchanting composition full of affection. The artist allows the notes to flow from the greatest depths to give meaning to this serene piece. What sensitivity!
Arriving to the end of eQuinox , we find the saddest and most extensive work of the whole album, Epitaph. A melody formed by convincing hits of chords in the base zone of the instrument and melancholy notes that repeat with a feeling of pain, inflicting a strong sense of loss. This music marks a difference in this work.
After the bitter moment forged by the prior track, Ralph gives us a sweet finish Sonora in My Heart. A less elaborated melody than the others, but with an incredible power of attraction. Fragile in some fragments, powerful near the end: an amazing piece, which deeply penetrates the listener. Such beauty!
eQuinox is the fourth album release of the pianist Ralph Zurmühle, an album with attention to the last detail of music. Each piece of this CD is thought to leave the listener speechless and this is really achieved. Ten works pampered with technique and composition that left me fascinated, causing me to pause on some of the tracks to say, "Wow! Really incredible!" It goes without saying that eQuinox will occupy a special place in Reviews New Age. Simply surprising Master Zurmühle! Congratulations! eQuinox is a very highly recommended album."
"eQuinox is the long-awaited fourth solo piano release from Swiss composer/pianist Ralph Zurmuhle. If you are familiar with his Our Mother (2007), Communion (2003), and/or Between (2000), you can understand why this is an exciting event! Zurmuhle has been composing music for film and multimedia for quite some time in addition to recording his CDs, and his music says so much with so little. Composed with a process that combines improvisation with revision and development, Zurmuhle's music comes from a very deep place within. Although his music is often very spare and sometimes ambient, Zurmuhle has an incredible playing technique that he uses in ways that serve the music best rather than to show off or impress. It comes as no surprise that artists from around the world want to collaborate with Ralph, as he is a master himself. There are no weak tracks on this album (there are ten), and it is very likely to be on my list of favorites for 2011.
eQuinox begins with Picnic in the Desert, a lovely piece reflective of the two years Zurmuhle and his wife lived in Arizona (USA). Performed at a relaxed and easy pace, the piece suggests a spiritual experience rather than simply an outdoor meal with friends. Auld Lang Syne and Shenandoah are two traditional folk songs that Zurmuhle arranged for solo piano. Both were arranged with wistful, dreamy moods that suit the songs perfectly. Mediterranean Suite is a stunning 9+ minute piece that evolves gradually, telling its story in soft spoken, haunting tones as well as with powerful drama. Serenade is a graceful love song that comes from a place of tenderness and passion. The Beacon appeared twice on Zurmuhle's debut, Between . It appears here as a new "2010" version, updated and expanded by about three minutes. Horses has a slow, flowing melody played over a more energetic left hand, suggesting spirit and freedom. Epitaph is another 9+ minute piece, this time very dark and overflowing with feelings of grief and loss. The spaces between the notes are almost as powerful as the notes themselves in this piece, and the emotional impact is overwhelming. Sonora In My Heart is a beautiful love song to the desert. Full of longing and cherished memories, Zurmuhle bid farewell to Arizona before returning to Spain earlier this year. What a great album!
Whether or not you are familiar with the artistry of Ralph Zurmuhle, do your ears and heart a favor and check this one out! It is available for download from Valley Entertainment and iTunes, and will be available as a physical CD on May 24, 2011. Very highly recommended!"
"25 years after the glory days of the solo piano genre sparked by artists like Keith Jarrett and George Winston, the solo piano album remains an elusive undertaking: very easy to do - very hard to do well. Swiss pianist RALPH ZURMÜHLE is one of those rare artists, who does it sublimely well, with great sensitivity to touch, melody, and ambience. Listen and you will find yourself in the hands of a master."
"Ralph Zurmuhle is blessed with a gift for crafting graceful, pensive melodies that call to mind the artistry of George Winston, taking the listener on a journey filled with heart and soul. EQUINOX features Zurmuhle playing a truly beautiful set of solo piano melodies, including two traditional tunes (Auld Lang Syne and Shenandoah) and many of his original compositions. The music moves the listener with the sheer amount of feeling and understated emotion present. From the wistful strains of Picnic in the Desert, where a hint of budding romance flourishes amongst the beauty of nature, to The Beacon with its soft reflectiveness, this is an album that stays with you long after the last note has been played."
"An equinox occurs twice a year, but a solo piano album like this, one filled with so much emotion, can touch your heart and play in your mind forever."
"eQuinox is a 5 Star Solo Piano Album! Stunning!!"
"I featured Ralph's music on Sky.fm radio as one of our top artists a few years ago. His playing and sound is rich, warm, emotional and creative. After reviewing his latest CD eQuinox, this could very well be his best work to-date."
"eQuinox is the result of Ralph Zurmühle's encounter with the infinite metaphysics of the Sonoran desert. The compositions on this album resonate with echoes of classical music, New Age, flamenco, dervish dances, world music or traditional melodies, all passed through the sieve of a poignant melancholy. Equinox is perfect to listen to at the end of the day, when the time-schedule is over and one desires nutrition for the soul. Intensely poetic music, possessing a simplicity that is, undoubtedly, the result of a long process of inner purification, aesthetic as well as spiritual.
The piano of Ralph Zurmühle sounds at times like ringing bowls or bells, like glass beads that gently collide in the air, like a human voice speaking, singing and speaking again. As is the case with great music, Zurmühle's music creates silence. We are left in silence, silence opens around us. And within this silence, in this vast desert, a journey begins a journey of adventure and discovery, but also a journey of return."