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Mystic Heart by Clifford White

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Certainly one of the most unique albums in composer Clifford White's Heaven Sent album series (and indeed, in his entire musical repertoire), Mystic Heart sounds like it could have been written by a classical composer who lived hundreds of years ago. That in itself might be unusual, but what is doubly rare are the moods of the pieces themselves, which seems to explore a bittersweet, melancholy reverie that exists somewhere between joy and sorrow; between light and dark, between happiness and sadness. Often a largely unexplored territory, the opening piece Solemn Sonata is a perfect example of this, traversing this aural landscape with expertise and beauty. With gentle piano, cello and voices, the haunting melody evolves into a full orchestral piece; first strings take the lead, later joined by oboe, bassoon and other instruments, as each section deftly explores these motifs, flitting from beauty and joy to loss and sorrow as if they were simply pebble steps in a pond. Exquisite and timeless music.

Delving even deeper, Daydream takes us into a classical somnolence, an exquisitely soporific atmosphere, with a diaphanous flute melody weaving a mysterious melody accompanied by harp and strings. This music seems to almost enhance the experience of silence, as if you were to catch the faint music of a distant dream, just before you awaken.

Rather than contrast the previous tracks with something more upbeat, Clifford decided to continue exploring this unusual mood with Reverie, an almost waltz-like piece with haunting voice and a processional piano motif. Gossamer-like strings wreath Clifford's ghostly piano melodies in a warm cocoon of sound, and the reemergence of classical harp, oboe and flute passages combine to create a reverie of mood and emotion, until the distant sounds of thunder and rain bring the piece to it's final conclusion.

Whilst the general mood of quiet solitude continues, in The Wave, Clifford introduces a slightly more jazz-influenced, rhythmic feel, with double bass and gentle percussion underpinning an echoed piano motif that speaks of some distant shore just beyond the periphery of our vision, where the waves are infinite and the sea eternal.

Sombre cello and voices herald the opening of Elegy, an elegant and ethereal piece, again with an obviously strong classical influence. Cascading piano motifs and rich string melodies entwine in a gently valiant and courageous theme that seems to speak of quiet resolve and heroic endeavour.

Perhaps the only true 'light' piece on the album, Springtime Return is an almost child-like view of an emerging springtime, with gentle birdsong and flutes introducing a joyous melody full of hope and wonder. This is followed by Plaintive, another wonderfully bittersweet piece suffused with mystery and hope.

As if the previous eight tracks were not enough to satisfy even the most demanding spiritual traveller, in the final and title track Mystic Heart, Clifford brings it all together in this haunting and elegant 'symphony of the soul'. Balletic in mood, with an almost waltz-like tempo, this mysterious music weaves itself in and out of a variety of different musical motifs, both light and dark, before ending in a crescendo of joy and elation. Pure bliss.

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The Spiritual Arts Foundation is dedicated to promoting arts related projects that specifically demonstrate a vision of spirituality at their core. We represent all positive and life-affirming spiritual and religious beliefs.
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