Seth Weinstein‘s Conversations with Chagall consists of nearly original compositions (I will clarify on this later) that, according to this link, interprets Marc Chagall’s body of work. If you click on the link above this paragraph, the song list has summaries placed next to them. Having looked through Chagall‘s work, it was fairly easy to connect the paintings with Weinstein’s songs.
The first song entitled Conversations combines piano playing with a medley of songs made famous by Elvis Presley. As the title implies, Weinstein constructs the song similar to a conversation by going from soft but grand tunes of his own to Elvis songs. Songs such as Hound Dog and All Shook Up make their presence known. I know, sounds out there. How does one connect Chagall with the King? However, Weinstein makes it work in this eleven minute and thirty-five second piece. Playful and fun, I love it.
After that long and ambitious preview, Weinstein performs the Chagall Suite. Nearly all the songs in the Suite have the same format. That’s not a bad thing, for even Weinstein’s website acknowledges one similarity. The songs are usually long and run the gamut from delicate and spritely to a grand and uptempo melody. When a song reaches the end, it finishes with a quiet flourish. However, there are tinges of contemplative, somber, and melancholic atmospheres. One song I found perfectly captures this sense of frustration. Another has this sense of desperation. Similar to the Elvis medley, there are songs that incorporates recognizable riffs that a music lover can recognize.
As I listened to the songs and looked at Chagall’s paintings, I noticed that, similar to Weinstein’s music, his work too has the same emotional turmoil.
All in all, I enjoyed it and I recommend this album.