Dave Eggar

Domo Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It's one thing to create an instrumental album - especially an album that features only one instrument - that is pretty. I've listened to dozens, if not hundreds, of albums in my time that featured some music that was beautiful.

But how do you create an instrumental album of pretty music that isn't boring? This is the trick - and Dave Eggar, while an incredible pianist, appears to still be learning how to hone his craft on his debut release Serenity. It's an album of some wonderful piano work - but it occasionally seems like too much of a good thing.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

One of America's up-and-coming youngsters in the world of fine arts, he has cut his teeth not only in the neo-classical world, but also with - gasp! - the rock world (Alice Cooper, John Denver). So Eggar has won the first battle: musically, he is well-rounded. He also wins the second battle in the arena of songwriting: his compositions are aesthetically pleasing. There is a natural rise and ebb to his playing that you can feel on songs like "Sorrow's Call" and "A Western Wind". As a listener, you actually feel like you're a part in the wordless story that Eggar is telling.

But Serenity slips in the fact that many of the compositions sound too much like each other. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: sometimes, if you're not paying attention to the track listing, it's easy to lose track of what song you're listening to. I happen to be someone who likes to follow an album's progress, but as songs continued to blend into each other, I found it far too easy to be distracted by the real world around me - for just enough time to lose my place musically.

Of course, some fans of Eggar's style of modern classical meets new age might say that you're supposed to just let yourself fall into the music and have it carry you to wherever the moment wills. Hey, man, whatever sails your boat - but the fact that Eggar's compositions all have a homogeneous quality to them still remains a difficulty. Unfortunately, I can't put my finger on where the bandage needs to be applied.

And it's not the all-piano style of Serenity that is a problem. I've listened to enough albums of piano-only music, and I've heard many that kept me glued to each note. Eggar's compositions just don't do that for me - and I honestly can't figure out why.

Oh, don't read too much into the criticisms. Serenity is still a very gentle album that is nice background music for a spring day (something that seems to be light-years away right now in Chicago), but methinks Eggar needs to gain a few road scars before he achieves oneness between his music and his target audience.

Rating: B-

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