Michael Hoppé

Wind Songs [Spring Hill]

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In 1994, keyboardist Michael Hoppé and flutist Tim Wheater won accolades for their album The Yearning, which garnered CD Review's CD of the Year honors. For Wind Songs, the duo set the musical key to suit Wheater's many ethnic flutes, then improvised with "no previous rehearsing or mindset." The album opens with "Between Cave and Cloud"; mountains quake and skies shudder in extended Oms, a gently mournful lament for the Earth. Wheater switches from Native American to silver flute for "Silence of the Stars," as sleepy-eyed and seductive as Scheherazade; sparkling chimes signal outbursts of shooting stars, then a melody strokes with infinite tenderness. "Stray Bird" moves up in tone with its greener feeling, like the bursting of an Irish spring. Most cuts include songs from animals -- eagle cries, chattering squirrels -- while "On Wings of Sleep" lulls with a gentle brook. The tone throughout is like a nocturne: steady heartbeat, unfettered breathing, alert to reverence. Here, a troubled soul can find peace in the night. Richard Burmer added subtle synthesizer magic to the final mix.

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