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There can be no doubt that Ann Sweeten is one of the most artistic performers of her day… one of the most emotive and descriptive pianists of her age. Change Is In the Wind is a ground breaking and heart-warming release, a game changer of an album.
One World Music Radio
1. Arctic Dance
2. What Blooms Beneath the Snow
3. May 24, 42 Years Ago
4. Turning the Page
5. What My Eyes Can’t See
6. One Last October
7. Forever Sunday
9. Change Is in the Wind
10. Silver Lining
Ann Sweeten’s newest offering, Change Is in the Wind, is a breathtaking and breath-catching collection of passionate instrumentals rendered with prodigious technique and mesmerizing melodic sensibility. Standout guest musicians include: Nancy Rumbel (English Horn), Eugene Friesen (Cello), and Charlie Bisharat (Violin). Though born out of the Pandemic, Change Is in the Wind bursts forth from the composer’s soul and blooms lushly on the ears and in the mind of the listener. Once again, Sweeten finds the path to light amidst the darkness and has said in her own words: “This time, and not for a long time, my music is coming from a place of Peace. It’s been kind of surreal actually, as if the heartaches of the past have been freed and I am floating in an aura of completeness, of understanding and release, Turning the Page, as it were… Change Is in the Wind, represents a glance in the rearview mirror of my life, but, with an Emergence into the light and peace of the Present.”
Album Notes (continued)
So much of this album was written during the Corona Virus Pandemic. But a few months before Covid hit, I wrote May 24, 42 years ago, for my Mother, the day she died. The number reversal would never happen again. I also wrote One Last October, which was the last time I saw my Father alive, our last visit together, before he passed on November 27, 2019. That began a new chapter in my life, that of “Orphan”.
Now, with both my parents gone and being an only child, it creates a strange feeling: on one level, like I’m no longer connected, adrift without an anchor, while on another, feeling both of them all around me on a spiritual plane. The piece, What My Eyes Can’t See, reflects my faith that our physical manifestation on this Earth is merely a chapter in our spiritual journey. In life, if you pay attention, the many coincidences that seem to occur, are messages from God, from loved ones having crossed over: The Universe is talking, one just needs to listen and realize these, so-called coincidences, are full of meaning!
While Covid-19 ravaged the world, I continued to compose. There is something in this album that feels different, something in my writing that I haven’t felt for some time. I have lived through some extremely difficult and trying times in my years, emotionally, physically and psychologically. Through my music, I have sought to heal myself and in doing so, have found that I am healing others, which again gives me certainty about my mission in earthly garb.
Yet this album, Change is in the Wind, is just that, change. This time, and not for a long time, my music is coming from a place of Peace. It’s been kind of surreal actually, as if the heartaches of the past have been freed and I am floating in an aura of completeness, of understanding and release, Turning the Page, as it were.
During the pandemic, we had an April Snow, not entirely impossible for New England, yet significantly unusual, which brought forth What Blooms Beneath the Snow. So many, many people around the world succumbed to this staggering disease and yet, I was able to find a Silver Lining; something my Mother always encouraged me to look for when the Clouds were darkest.
For many, during the Lockdown and the stay-at-home mandates, with no work or school schedules, any sense of routine began to disappear, and one day seemed to bleed into the next, life slowed, and it became
Forever Sunday. It’s not a bad thing that life slowed down. The Human race goes about at a torrid pace – this is bound to bring about pain: so perhaps a lesson learned in the ‘silver lining’.
As I wrote these notes, sitting in my garden amidst Nature’s beauty, a Monarch Butterfly and a Hummingbird chose to visit: magnificent creatures of God’s amazing artistry and I felt blessed; they , too, are messengers of all that ‘my eyes can’t see’. My album, Change is in the Wind, represents a glance in the rearview mirror of my life, but, with an Emergence into the light and peace of the Present. If it be only fleeting, I embrace it wholeheartedly – the “Now” – for that is what we have and we must live it to the fullest.
In Order of Appearance
Steinway Baby Grand, Model B
What My Eyes Can’t See
One Last October
May 24, 42 Years Ago
What Blooms Beneath the Snow
What My Eyes Can’t See
One Last October
Change is in the Wind
Composed and performed by Ann Sweeten
All tracks produced by Ann Sweeten except as noted below:
Piano tracks produced by Ann Sweeten, Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton
Charlie Bisharat’s Violin tracks produced by Will Ackerman, Ann Sweeten and Tom Eaton
All performances engineered by Tom Eaton except as noted below in parentheses:
Piano performances by Ann Sweeten recorded at Imaginary Road Studios, Windham County, VT
Performances by Eugene Friesen recorded at Imaginary Road Studios, Windham County, VT
Performances by Nancy Rumbel recorded at Water Garden Studios, Bellevue, WA (Nancy Rumbel)
Performances by Charlie Bisharat recorded at Sanubar Studios, Los Angeles, CA (Charlie Bisharat)
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Tom Eaton at Imaginary Road Studios
Visual Artistic Direction and Photography by Randy Yoder
RBY Photography, Salem, MA
Piano Technician: Crystal Fielding
“Ann Sweeten takes us all on another instrumental new age journey on Change Is in the Wind. This is the fourth release I have covered in her catalog.
“Ann has defeated breast cancer twice and is now battling leukemia. It makes me wonder why so many people have to go through so much suffering in their lives. It is for a reason, that is what many people will say, and even those going through it. It is about acceptance, healing, and moving to the next phase of your spiritual development, here on earth or another level of existence.
“With that thought in mind, I think artists such as Ann Sweeten come from a place not all of us can understand. Although there are physical issues, we all deal with, some are more serious and life-threatening than others. In that very moment of realizing your life is once again being threatened, the enlightened will look at it as another opportunity to grow and get stronger. That is exactly the choice that Ann made recording this album.
“While reading all of her notes in the CD pamphlet I realized that there were so many things I could relate to. She mentioned sitting in her garden and a butterfly and hummingbird came to visit. She immediately looked at it as one of nature’s gifts and god’s messengers. I have always felt that way about wildlife I “coincidentally” came across, and no I do not believe in coincidence, I see these beautiful creatures as a reminder of the beauty and life that surrounds me.
“This has everything to do with the music of Ann Sweeten. The appreciation, connection, and the awesome beauty of god’s gifts that are given to us while we are here. It is important to me to know about the artist and their music, what drives them, where their energy is coming from, and what is the process that gets them to the end of an entire recording. I find out a lot of this on my Podcast’s however just by listening to the music, reading a bio on a website, or the liner notes, I have a lot to think about before I listen, and then it changes my entire experience.
“Ann and her Steinway Baby Grand Model B will sweep you away into another time and place, the mists of time melt away, and your feelings are engaged and pictures will enter your mind. This music moves me in a way no other genre can. It takes away any preconceptions of what I will hear and allows me to flow with the music and feelings that are happening. And yes, it is meditative and healing, her music has always had that effect on me.
“What My Eyes Can’t See is one of the most prolific tracks she has ever created. And interestingly enough it connects to What Blooms Beneath The Snow. It is untouched beauty yet to blossom as we wait for the snow to melt and the sun’s rays to provide the warmth to initiate the growth. Life is like that in many ways. In some ways perhaps the disease that this amazing woman is currently dealing with has brought about something she now can see, and the growth is beginning because another part of her physical being is going through yet another change. I can see how she weaved all of these titles with meaning into her gorgeous representation of instrumental piano work. The spiritual essence of this individual is alive and well in this music and as she created it, presents it to us all, she is healing as well. This is her gift to the world and with that, we all must appreciate what is before us and take advantage of the beautiful sound and expressions being delivered through those ivory keys.
“I think there has been Change Is in the Wind for several years now. The awareness is getting stronger with each passing day on a global level. For me, I count my blessings every day. When I realized what was going on with Ann it changed my entire perspective on my own life. Even though there is gratitude present, I believe there could be more. We all need to give each other as much understanding and opportunity to express our true feelings and love for each other. Music like this gets me into the right space where all of these thoughts come to me one at a time for yet another moment of consideration. Music without words can be more powerful than heartfelt lyrics. Ann Sweeten has mastered that artistry and Change Is in the Wind is another documentary of her amazing life and talent.”
“When I first listened to pianist Ann Sweeten’s latest album, Change Is in the Wind, I heard something slightly different. This is important as Sweeten has one of the most recognizable styles to her composing and performing, that being a flowing melodicism, laced with gentle melancholy, contemplative reflection, and a genuinely sweet romanticism colored by amber-tinted regret and sadness. Change Is in the Wind introduces a new flavor of subtle optimism and sense of contentment as if Sweeten has released a deep breath, exhaling out some of her past tragedies, and embracing where they have taken her. Reading the liner notes (copious and personal, as always), it appears my perceptions were, as they say, “spot on”. While her usual musical motifs flow through the album’s ten tracks like a gently coursing stream, there are moments of lightness and even subtle happiness. Sweeten is joined by stellar guest artists (Nancy Rumbel, Eugene Friesen, Charlie Bisharat) and once more she recorded her piano tracks at Imaginary Road. Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton helped helm this release, along with Ann herself (all three share some of the production credits). Throw in a gorgeous cover photo and you have another great album from this prolific and talented artist. It’s winner in every regard.”
“Sweeten’s brilliant compositions are enhanced via meticulous performances. Her smooth melodies flow nicely as she delivers tasty instrumental efforts that take New Age music to a new level. Opening with the flow of “Arctic Dance,” yet exploring with “What Blooms Beneath the Snow,” the significance of “May 24, 42 Years Ago,” and hits the halfway mark searching for “What My Eyes Can’t See.” Second side gems shine via the haunting “One Last October,” trailed by the memory of “Forever Sunday,” the ivory-tickling beauty of the title track “Change Is in the Wind,” and ends appropriately with the strains of “Silver Lining.”
Brilliant piano performances – Ann Sweeten – Change Is in the Wind
“It’s been a couple of years since I reviewed Ann’s “Before Today, Beyond Tomorrow” album, but on her new release, she (as always) turns in totally brilliant piano performances…”
“Change Is in the Wind is an album of original, instrumental music by pianist and composer Ann Sweeten. Guest contributions from musicians Nancy Rumbel (English Horn), Eugene Friesen (Cello), and Charlie Bisharat (Violin) enhance the extraordinary soundscape, created out of the drive to share light and hope. Soul-stirringly beautiful, Change Is in the Wind is a treasure for both personal and public library instrumental music collections.”
“The ‘neo-classical’ and ‘instrumental’ categories are incredibly broad. The character of the music, the instrumentation, the proficiency of the performers… you really get all kinds. Getting the attention of the listening public, breaking out from the pack, may be a difficult proposition, but *standing* out once observed is inevitable if you’ve got the goods. Ann Sweeten has got the goods. She has more than a dozen albums to her credit, and on September 3rd, 2021 she will release her latest, the lovely Change is In the Wind.
Ms. Sweeten, a Steinway Artist, does not just perform piano on her albums, she also scores and arranges for a variety of instrumentation, and she clearly has a knack for it. She has an assurance that comes from an intersection of talent and experience; in May 24, 42 Years Ago, for example, she collaborates with cellist Eugene Friesen, but she resists the rookie mistake of feeling the need to lather the entire piece with his presence out of some sense of “making it worth his time” or somesuch. Instead, she adorns the piece with beautiful grace notes from the cello that add depth and warmth to the lower register of her piano. Likewise, in What My Eyes Can’t See it is almost a shock when Nancy Rumbel’s English horn and Charlie Bisharat’s violin join her, punching up the emotion like the exact right pinch of salt in your favorite stew.
“When you commit to reviewing music (or anything else I suppose) you quickly learn that not everything is going to be your cup of tea. You do your best to provide fair and honest analysis despite whatever bias you might have. It is, therefore, an unexpected pleasure when you are given a treat to spend an hour with, and the upcoming Change is in the Wind by Ann Sweeten is exactly that. Whatever your genre preferences usually are, the overwhelming truth is that this album is *good*, and all else is secondary.”
“The material on the release Change Is in the Wind transcends categorization in blending chamber classical and New Age into music of beguiling beauty. ”
“There can be no doubt that Ann Sweeten is one of the most artistic performers of her day… one of the most emotive and descriptive pianists of her age. Change Is In the Wind is a ground breaking and heart-warming release, a game changer of an album.. from the very thoughts and meditations of the creative mind of Ann Sweeten, comes her best work so far, and through that work we can all take note of our own journeys, and allow that change to take place.”