Michael Gettel

One Piano

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This unique, alternating track "he says, she says" collaboration between real life newlyweds Michael Gettel and Elizabeth Naccarato is the new age piano equivalent of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Double Fantasy, with each statement of love answered in the partner's own unique style. (The analogy only goes so far, as Naccarato's lovely melodies are honey to the ears compared to Ono's oddities which made Double Fantasy a hit-and-miss classic). Listened to all the way through, it's as though the songs are all from one artist, but that seems to be the point -- that musically and romantically, the tandem are so closely connected you can't always tell one's style from the other. Repeated listenings, however, reveal that Gettel, even when melancholy, hits a higher toned optimism than his partner. He's the whimsical kid in the candy store, she's the just slightly darker, minor key voice of reason. A perfect balance on the whole. Zero in on Gettel's cheery winter tale "Midnight Snowfall" as his response to the candlelight vigil of his wife's "Valldemosa" to see this contrast fully. And yet even in the midst of those overall approaches, there are sunshine-filled passages by Naccarato ("Everafter" is a good example of how she mixes moods) and the occasional dark strains in Gettel's tunes (like "Knowing You by Heart"). Naccarato's glissando-laden closing meditation "And of the Affections" was inspired by an Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem. The way the famed poet corresponded in verse with her husband Robert Browning is another strong precedent for the beautiful dual valentine Gettel and Naccarato create around one piano. Gettel also has a wide variety of exciting fusion dates in his catalog. In the future, it might be interesting to see how Naccarato's ivory style might fit into that more challenging context.