Uwe Gronau, Midsummer Reviews

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Written on: 14/03/2011 by eugena (23 reviews written)

Uwe Gronau (pronounced you-we grow-now) is a pianist and keyboardist from Germany, who, after ten CDs released in Europe, is now reaching out to the rest of the world with his new one, Midsummer. This is a double-CD with 35 tracks (all but two are instrumental). The music is top-flight, high-class new age with a lot of variety. You will hear at least eight solo piano numbers, about 13 that have drumming, a half-dozen with guitars, and the occasional sound of English horn, flute and organ. Most of the compositions have pretty melodies, but for those ambient and space music lovers, there are a handful of relaxing, dream-state tracks.

Perhaps that is the only drawback here. With so much different music in this package, will Gronau have trouble finding a specific audience? For instrumental music lovers who like a wide variety, this album will be very appealing.

Gronau's biography says the music was inspired by Austrian/German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), who inspired two of the century's principal philosophical movements ("Logical Positivism" and "Ordinary Language Philosophy") even though he only published about 25,000 words of philosophical writing when he was alive (his career soared after death with some three-million more words coming to light). These tracts are enough to make your head hurt as much as it did on Monday mornings in college. But it is true that Wittgenstein had a love for music and wrote about it. He even delivered a paper (on the role of rhythm in the appreciation of music) to the British Psychological Association in 1912. Wittgenstein also grew up in a musical home where regular guests included Brahms, Schumann, Mahler, Strauss and Pablo Casals. So it makes a sort of sense that a German musician like Gronau would come along and pick up on some of Wittgenstein's ideas and incorporate them into modern instrumental music. But one might argue that making music about philosophy is like dancing to architecture, to steal a popular metaphor. However, let's give Gronau the benefit of the doubt. What difference does it really make regarding what inspired or influenced this music. The bottom-line is that Uwe Gronau found inspiration and created some very beautiful music. So let's leave the philosophical discourses in the classroom and take this music on a portable player to a park somewhere and listen to the lovely sounds on this Midsummer CD which watching the children play, the dogs frolic, the ducks paddle in the pond and the wind riffling the tree-leaves. That should be enough for anyone.

But did this reviewer like the music? The answer is "yes." Recommended. More information is available at myspace.com/uwegronaumusic. Or instead of writing this review I could simply have quoted Wittgenstein's most-famous statement and said, "What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence."

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