My Piano Music
Spacious musical landscapes of beauty, peace and power. Over an hour of gentle,
deeply relaxing music that touches the heart and nourishes the soul.
of gentle, solo piano tracks, Radiance is Michael Sheehan's recording
debut. A classically trained pianist and composer, Sheehan creates
subtle, calming pieces that weave boldly into one another. All but the
title track are improvised compositions, and it is this spontaneous
human expression that innately, resolutely finds expression here. Simple
in construction, yet majestic and powerful in execution, Radiance is a
joy to behold.
The overall theme of Radiance is to once again become mindful of the life-force present in each and every action and occurrence around us. Whether "Meeting A Friend," taking "A Nap In The Afternoon," or witnessing a "Showerfall," the subtle energetic exchange between self and surroundings is too easily (and too often) forgotten or taken for granted.
Tracks such as "Early Morning," "A Walk On Forgotten Shores and "Gathering Clouds" are vaguely reminiscent of the gentle piano style of Neil Young (Harvest-era), while "Evening Rainbow," "Sunset and "Starry Sky" easily evoke the imagery portrayed by their basic, yet powerful, titles.
I suggest you welcome this compact disc into your library of healing music and eagerly anticipate future works from Michael Sheehan.
* * *
Sheehan’s debut recording is a gorgeous collection of twelve solo piano
improvisations (except the title track, which was not improvised) that
follow the course of a day. With the intention of being calming music
suitable for massage, healing, and relaxation, the pieces are mostly
slow and deeply expressive. “Radiance” is very comfortable and
nonintrusive in the background, but can also provide a gentle massage
for the mind on a more conscious level.
A lot of improvised recordings seem to wander all over the place, but Sheehan keeps the music spontaneous with a sense of direction and purpose. It is accessible enough to enjoy on the first listen, but complex enough to seem new and fresh each time, revealing things you didn’t hear before.
“Early Morning” opens the CD with a quiet, peaceful improvisation that clocks in at more than 8 1/2 minutes, giving it time to evolve. Tranquil with lots of open spaces between the notes, the mood is warm and full of possibilities. At the beginning, the feeling is of the pure calm that permeates the early morning hours. As the piece develops, that quiet opens up to a colorful sunrise and the sparkling of dew in the first rays of sunlight. This is obviously a very evocative piece of music!
“Sunrise” is leisurely and very pensive. A bit on the darker side, the slow, walking bass line makes a lovely counterpart to the shimmering right hand. “Radiance” is a 9-minute piece that is more composed. A bit more structured and melodic, parts of this piece remind me of David Nevue’s work, with its fairly simple, heartfelt melody lines and rolling left hand. Several themes are intertwined in this very interesting and enjoyable piece.
“Like Children At Play” is open, innocent, and totally charming. “A Nap In the Afternoon” is so relaxed and content that I wished I had time for a nap myself! The percussive qualities of the piano lend themselves well to impressions of rain, and “Showerfall” is a perfect example of this.
“Sunset” is one of the “bigger” pieces on the CD. It begins quietly with a minimalistic style. After a couple of minutes, a repetitive bass line comes in and the melody dances around it in both the upper and lower registers. A couple of minutes later, both hands are playing a series of single beat chords with rubato and varying intensity. Sheehan really makes the deep bass of this piano sing. The last minute or so of the piece has the left hand at the very bottom of the piano, signifying darkness (I think!), and the right hand up in the high end bringing out the twinkling stars. A great piece!
The closing track, “Starry Sky,” beautifully conveys what it feels like to lie on your back and look up at an open night sky away from the lights of the city - very dark bass notes with open spaces between them, with more percussive treble notes becoming the stars.
“Radiance” is a very impressive debut, and is an album I’ll go back to often. Recommended for relaxing and reflecting.
After I heard Michael
play the piano in person I knew I wanted to hear more. I began playing
his CD every morning when I got up to start the day and continue to do
so. It has a transcendent quality that resonates with me and a
musical beauty that is satisfying. It never feels contrived or forced,
it is as if the music comes through him and he is telling a story. I
have played this CD many many times and have yet to tire of it.
~ Kris Theriault
song has its own feeling, texture and atmosphere. The melodies evolve
as though they’re alive. Listening to your CD I feel I’m being put more
in touch with a deep love that has always been somewhere inside my own
~ Julie Hoffman
My oldest son Ben (17)
has thoroughly enjoyed your CD "Radiance". I pulled it out the other
night as he was wanting to listen to piano. He just told me he listened
to the CD over and over all through the night saying it made him feel
completely calm and centered.
I used to have trouble
getting my daughter to sleep. Now she asks to hear your music every
night at bedtime and goes right to sleep.
I played your beautiful
piano music during the birth of my child. After the delivery, all the
midwives came in from the other rooms and insisted I play it again.
As a massage therapist
I’ve heard a lot of relaxing music and this is the best. I can play it
all day without getting tired of it - and all my clients love it!
I’m a rock musician.
It’s my business to listen to music and sometimes my ears get tired.
When that happens the only music I can listen to and still enjoy is your
Wow! Incredible heart
in these--and your signature
slowness-outside-with-intensity-under-the-surface that calms yet goes to
a deeper place.
~ Teresa Dietze
It has been a pleasure
to be able to offer your music in the rehab department where I work. The
staff and residents have all been quite appreciative.
A 94-year-old gentleman, "Bud", healing from a fractured hip, particularly enjoyed the CD...Several times he came to the therapy room and wheeled himself over to the CD player during his time off to meditate to your piano music. He was most grateful for the peace it gave him.
Bill, a 76-year-old challenged by neurological and medical issues, read the CD cover aloud to Bud, the two of them remarking with delight over the wonderful images portrayed in the names of the pieces...we listened together while performing gentle therapeutic exercises and it was quite apparent how the movement practices came with more ease and assurance.
Many of the others have remarked what a sense of comfort it is to hear the music when they come into the therapy room...it places them at ease in the situation. As a therapist, it is important to me to be able to provide an environment that promotes a sense of well being and your music has given us that gift...