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Reviews

Touched by the Sea:

"Touched By the Sea” is Silvard’s second collection of solo piano “freeflow”  compositions, which is music that is composed and recorded on the spot. A professor of biology and a lifelong collector of sea shells, Silvard combined his passions by spontaneously composing the fourteen pieces, most of which have titles related to the ocean and sea life. Many albums that are recorded as the music is improvised seem disorganized and can be difficult to listen to several times as there can be too many unrelated themes. Silvard’s music holds together unusually well, and is actually delightful to listen to repeatedly.

There are no real musical surprises, but the pieces are low-key and relaxing, and beautifully played on three different acoustic grand pianos. The CD holds a fairly consistent reflective mood throughout, making this a very easy recording for background music or daydreaming. With careful listening, the left hand patterns can be very repetitive, but this wasn’t nearly as obvious when I wasn’t giving the music my undivided attention (listening with my eyes closed). “Lured By the Ocean” is a very flowing, peaceful piece that I strongly relate to, with my own love for the ocean. I also really like Life’s Treasures,” which while still very calm and soothing, has a special energy and optimism. “Beachcombing” describes the serenity of walking along the shore and looking at the life all around you and under your feet. It is so easy to let go of life’s cares at the ocean, and this song captures that feeling of peace and connectedness. My other favorite tracks are “Seashell Splendor,” a happy, contented piece, and “Soulmates,” which is warm and loving, but also a little melancholy.

Silvard has toured and performed with Danny Wright, and I think his style is closer to Wright’s than, say Wayne Gratz’s or Michael Jones’ (two artists who also do a lot of improvising on their recordings). There are pop as well as classical influences in his music, and it is very easy to listen to.

Kathy Parsons, Solo Piano Publications, November, 2003



Calling Upon Angels:

“Calling Upon Angels” is a rather unusual collection of Christmas pieces in that the songs are all interpreted in Silvard’s “freeflow” (spontaneous) method of composing and arranging in the recording studio, making most of the songs almost unrecognizable except for some well-chosen phrases here and there to show which song he is recreating. All of the pieces are solo piano, and the album is really very beautiful. I enjoy hearing unusual arrangements of Christmas music since I hear so much of it both in reviewing CDs and in teaching piano. I found it very interesting that even though the familiar melodies don’t always appear until the middle or even later in the songs, I could usually tell by tone and, I suppose, chord changes and rhythms which songs I was hearing. When the melodies revealed themselves, it often made me smile to find out I was right.

The tone of the album is very peaceful and optimistic, and the songs all have a beautiful flow to them. A few of the titles are “The First Noel,” “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” “Silver Bells,” and an especially lovely “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.” I had never heard “The Simple Birth” or “Mary's Little Boy Child,” so those two kept me guessing. Also included is Silvard’s own “Calling Upon Angels,” which is elegant and warm. I’m sure that there will be folks who don’t like that they can’t sing along with this album, but that’s a lot of what made it so charming for me. The songs are familiar enough to be cozy and traditional, but different enough to stand up to many listens even when you’re getting tired of Christmas music. I really like this one!

Kathy Parsons, Solo Piano Publications, December, 2003



Postcard From Cape Cod:

For his fourth album, pianist Silvard chooses the natural beauty and marine environment of Cape Cod, Mass., to sketch his memories with the keyboard.  Using a free-flow process, he opens his mind to the inspiration that comes to him. "It is as if the music is being played through me, he says. "I become the instrument, whereby the piano is merely an extension of my own body.This results in impromptu compositions that I have never played or heard before.  Akin to the music of George Winston and David Lanz, Silvard offers tributes to sparkling waters with "Nantucket Sound" and "Ocean Spirits."  Under lots of sustain pedal, the notes join in flowing harmony on "Nap in the Dunes" and the tender "Lullaby."  As a Boston marine biology professor and resident hotel and restaurant entertainer, Silvard combines his love of the ocean and music on

Ted Cox, New Age Retailer, September, 2000

This newest release from Silvard consists of eleven romantic piano compositions dedicated to Cape Cod, her ocean, and to all the life forms that make this special place their home.  Silvard declares that we must do everything necessary to preserve the natural beauty of the Cape and its marine environment for future generations to behold and treasure.  Gentle ocean sounds occasionally can be heard on this series of impromptu freeflow tracks.  As the tape rolls, Silvard begins playing what he feels flowing through him.  Without consciously controlling form or duration, the resulting melodies are deeply spiritual and moving.  Not only a musical postcard from the Cape but a relaxing meditational journey to a land of lapping waves, summer rain, ocean spirits and a cozy nap in the dunes after an intriguing whale watch, this is collection of "notes" to enjoy over and over.

Ming Yuan, Spirit Of Change, Sept/Oct, 2000



Transcendent Voyage:

Pianist and composer Silvard P. Kool has woven a beautiful tapestry of music on the eleven lusciously appealing piano solos of Transcendent Voyage.  Following his first popular release, Picture of Time, Kool has created relaxing and uplifting songs, from the romantic selection "Candlelight Fantasy" to the upbeat "Irish Sailor" and the stunning ode to mother nature "Forest Echoes."  Most of the songs were inspired by the musician's many travels and each reflect their own individual spiritual path.  These original and heartfelt songs will resonate in the listener's soul long after they're heard.

Music Design, In Review

Silvard's melodies are full of heart and soul, reflecting his love of travel and the people whose lives he shares on those travels.  His music is joyful, playful, reflective, sensitive and sensual.  My phones light up with each track I play.  It's a reaction I haven't seen much since the early days of Narada and Windham Hill.

Anne Williams, Nightscapes, WPLM Radio, and WGBH TV, Boston



Picture of Time:

“Picture of Time” is one of Silvard’s earlier recordings, and is a beauty. All but one of the nine tracks are original, and are orchestrated with live musicians and keyboards in addition to Silvard on grand piano. The overall mood of the album is warm and optimistic, but a few of the pieces are a bit more haunting. One of those is “Voices in the Wind,” which features Sophia Roberts’ wordless vocals and Mary Alice McCann on cello. This piece is stunning, it’s so beautiful! The piano carries most of the flowing melody, with voice and cello doing counter melodies and harmony. “Rainstorm” is also exceptional. Fully orchestrated with strings, percussion, and piano, the piece is full of passion and energy and yet is reflective and bittersweet. I really love this one!

“Ecstasy” was composed in honor of Silvard’s brother’s wedding. Elegant and sweet without being cloying, this is a really nice opening piece. “Resolution” has the triumphant quality of a happy ending. “Honshu Sunrise” is a pleasant surprise with a Japanese spirit in the music. I also really like “Romanza,” which is the one piece that Silvard didn’t compose (composer anonymous). It has an Italian flavor, and features acoustic guitar and cello along with piano. The cover artwork for “Picture of Time” is a real bonus. It comes from a painting by John Stephens, and Silvard felt it captured different phases and aspects of his own life - the harbor of his birthplace, shells (he is also a marine biology professor), the harpsichord, etc. The painting is fascinating - a bit like Salvador Dali’s work, with crystal-clear images and the juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated objects in places you wouldn’t normally find them. “Picture of Time” is a great album, and a very satisfying musical experience. It is available from www.silvard.com and amazon.com. Recommended!

Kathy Parsons,Solo Piano Publications, March, 2004

If sublime easy-listening New Age instrumental music is your thing, then Dutch-born / Boston-based keyboardist Silvard has your musical solution.  A noted marine biologist and professor at Boston College, Silvard recently recorded his second album... Even more refined than his first album, Heartfelt, Silvard's classically-inspired, romantic excursions on grand piano and synth-strings receive some elegant support on drums, bass, guitar, cello, as well as vocals from songstress, Sophia Roberts on the cut, Voices In The Wind. Perfect listening as dinner music or just to unwind to, graceful musical vibrations pour from Silvard's fingers like a fine wine.  The intricate cover art made me yearn for the old days of the larger album jackets.

Time and a Word, 1996

Silvard's gorgeous compositions could be described as contemporary, yet classical, because of his extraordinarily gifted piano wizardry.  Though the underlying theme of Silvard's piano is evident throughout, the tracks on Picture of Time have great variety in their execution.  Silvard combines synthesizers (most discreetly) with a host of musicians:  cello, guitar, bass, drums, percussion, and on the delightfully romantic Voices in the Wind, he adds a lovely vocalization by Sophia.  'Honshu Sunrise' evokes ancient Japanese temples rising out of the dawn mists . . . 'Rainstorm' begins with solo piano, then builds with synthesizers, cello, and percussion into a passionate call to release the storms of our soul to the rhythms of nature.  The wonderful cover, from a painting by John Stephens, is a colorful, neo-classical visionary art piece. In-store play should generate strong sales.

Steve "Edge" Ryals, New Age Retailer, 1996

With its lush and tasteful synth and live orchestrations,  Picture of Time is not a solo album, but Silvard's piano definitely takes the romantic lead.  Whether lively, sensual or tender, Silvard's themes are romantically engaging, especially when they lovingly tangle in duet, as with Mary Alice McCann's cello.  'Honshu Sunrise' took me into a Japanese woodcut; the music portrayed a cool morning stillness and a village beginning to stretch awake.  'Romanza' is a familiar piece for classical guitar, lovingly arranged for cello, piano, and Tom Young's guitar.  Enchanting!  The title of this album should be "Swept Away".  I was!

Carol Wright, NAPRA Review, 1996

Through his wonderfully romantic melodies, Silvard touches the listener's soul with his new album . . . Picture of Time.  Each of the original pieces is beautifully arranged with the orchestral sounds of cello and strings.  Drums, acoustic bass and occasional guitar, flute and vocal harmonies are the final ingredients added to this gourmet orchestrated album.  The music is uplifting and spiritually energizing, yet soothing and relaxing.  Although influenced by artists as Enya, George Winston, and David Lanz, Silvard has a unique and highly innovative style never molded by formal training.

NAIRD, 1996

Picture of Time by Silvard has soft, dreamy quality fueled by the piano and orchestra.  His compositions have dramatic sweeps and crescendoes which the listener can easily picture being used in movie soundtracks.  His style is similar to David Lanz, and in fact on a few cuts, I thought it was, until I looked at the liner notes again.  He has an appealing style which enhances relaxation and could easily be used as background music for a social evening where you want to be able to converse with your friends over dinner.

Dan Lis, New Age Voice, April 1996



Heartfelt:


Composer, arranger and master pianist, Kool created this album as a way to say thanks to all he has met and have supported him throughout the years since arriving in America.  This doctor of zoology from the Netherlands wrote half of these compositions, performing all but two on keyboard.

Silvard can make his instrument sound like two pianos, with the bass parts played as clearly, if not more so, than the right hand parts.  Ocean Voyage, one of his own compositions, performed on grand piano, is intricate and upbeat, with good body.  he has his own style and way of embellishing a melody.  Bass and drums do much to give support to this piece.  Music Box Dancer is bright and happy.  Here he shows his style at its best, with crispness that is a joy to listen to.  Ballade pour Adeline is lively and pretty.  This piece has lots of arpeggios and lifts the heart.  Speak Softly Love, from The Godfather, is strong and beautifully done.  His bold style of ornamentation fits this song perfectly.

Written during a period of personal hardship, Heartfelt is truly from the heart.  Nice for driving and working around the house.

Mia Posner & Jennifer, Heartsong Review

Although I do enjoy this type of music, I seldom go out of my way to listen to piano music - but I have fallen in love with "Heartfelt".

DeeAnn Morgan-Holt, The Light Connection

It would take either a great deal of wine or this recording of piano music to turn my funky little cabin in the woods into a sophisticated New York supper club.  Fortunately, I had the recording, so for a while, my surroundings were transformed.   His selections include classical pieces, show tunes, and his own compositions, which I thought lovely.  It must be noted that "Heartfelt" is the title song, but it also refers to the feeling Mr. Kool puts into each song.  It is evident that he loves his music, which is the best gift any musician can offer.

Sandy Anderson, NAPRA Review



Life is Grand...:


“Life Is Grand...” is Silvard’s fifth album of original compositions, and the first since 2003’s chart-topping “Touched By the Sea.” As the title implies, the music reflects the joys and pleasures of life (along with the obvious reference to Silvard’s grand piano), bringing the listener a bright and optimistic respite from the cares and worries of everyday life. Two of Silvard’s previous albums were comprised of music composed in the studio in what Silvard calls his “free-flow” style. This is his third album of more traditionally “composed” pieces. He also has six CDs of cover material that he has very successfully performed and sold on QVC. A marine biologist, college professor, and avid traveler, Silvard brings a wealth of experience to his music as well as an unmistakable joy for playing and performing.

“Life Is Grand...” begins with “Forever Yours,” an unabashedly romantic piece that wears its love and adoration on its sleeve - a charming opening. My favorite track is “Rain,” a lively and slightly melancholy piece that dances all over the piano with an infectious energy and spirit. This one makes my fingers itch - sheet music??? The title track is full of optimism and contentment as it tells of life’s many wonders. “Tropical Breezes” has an easy Latin rhythm and exudes a lazy and totally relaxed mood. “Collage” is also a favorite, combining the unlikely duo of “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppets and JS Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” Sounds impossible? It’s a seamless pairing that works wonderfully well and makes me smile each time I hear it. ”Casco Viejo” was inspired by the historical section of Panama City, the oldest European settlement in the Americas. Poignant and bittersweet, it’s another beauty. “Zenshine” has a gorgeous, haunting quality with feelings of longing and reflection - I like this one a lot, too! “Flight” was inspired by a bumble bee. Lively and energetic with the exhilaration of total freedom, it swoops and soars in a sky full of sunshine. What fun!

“Life Is Grand...” was worth the wait between albums, and is sure to give just about anyone a mood-lift. Samples are available at www.silvard.com, and the music can be purchased there and from iTunes. Highly recommended!

Kathy Parsons
11/14/07

 

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