Anthony Phillips

Soiree

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Soiree is a solo piano album from a musician primarily known as a guitarist, and yet it doesn't have the busman's holiday feel one might expect. In fact, it turns out that Anthony Phillips is possibly a better composer for piano than he is for guitar. Phillips' guitar albums are too often merely pretty, and feature occasional flashy busyness in place of actual melodic invention. Soiree, on the other hand, has a stately, measured quality; the 20 pieces, which sound heavily influenced by both Erik Satie and Claude Debussy, are richly melodic but never cloyingly sweet, and they have a refreshing simplicity to them that lacks the fussiness that marks some of Phillips' guitar albums. Just as importantly, the album's sound of a fine grand piano well-placed in an acoustically appropriate room adds a certain intangible, ambient quality to the pieces that's subtle but immensely appealing.

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