What does Henning Schmiedt sound like?
European classical piano with added room ambience.
The review of Henning Schmiedt – Piano Miniatures
Usually, when I think of miniatures I think of small compositions. Tiny tracks that offer sketches of ideas that may not be fully formed. That isn’t the definition that Henning Schmeidt used when he titled his latest album ‘Piano Miniatures’. Instead, he likens each song to “small film scores, mini sonatas, songs, tiny symphonies” and I agree. I came into this album expecting lots of short two-minute pieces. Instead, there are 15 piano tracks that feel like they tell short stories.
The intimate, in room recording of the piano helps with the general mood of ‘Piano Miniatures’. There is a general piano board buzz to the room that gives extra warmth to the mix and tracks like ‘If’ come with glowing synth strings that evoke a reversed piano note. It all feels like the album is being played on a rainy day with a fireplace nearby.
The standout track is the absolutely gorgeous ‘Stille Nacht’ which features guest cello and doublebass. It has a very European tautness to its melody whilst feeling like an everyday maid song. Its main riff is one that can go on repeat unnoticed for ages too. Other tracks that really connected with me were the isolated coldness of ‘Since’, the flowing warmth of ‘Therefore’, the swaying drama infused into ‘Because’ and the unique sound design of ‘Close’. The latter track is a synth-driven sound wash and just adds a few piano note sprinkles like stars in a night sky.
There are no bad tracks here at all but the album’s direct and straightforward nature means it takes time to let each song develop its own personality. Henning Schmeidt has a very distinct playing style that reminds me of the 1930-50’s era of Europe. It has a reserved passion and a penchant for placing a raised note or two in a melody as if to signal a quirk in an emotion. I really enjoy Henning’s style and I appreciate the stripped-back approach this time around. This is definitely an album for listening to under a blanket for a hot drink. Oddly, I think this is a gardening or tidying-up album too. There is something pure and homely about it that gives a housekeeping vibe that I just couldn’t shake. That probably says more about me than the music though! FLAU continue to release beautiful classical albums though and this is another solid entry into their catalogue.
Recommended track: Therefore
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