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CD REVIEW: Richard Abel - Elegancia
By Francesco Emmanuel - 12/06/2005 - 11:53 AM EST

Artist: Richard Abel
Album: Elegancia
CD Review: Established pianist Richard Abel releases his 13th album Eleganicia. With his latest, Abel proves once more why his classic style of playing has kept him in the music business for well over 22 years. He displays great technique and knowledge of a timeless artform.

True to its title, this record is graceful, filled with soothing waltz numbers, cheerful and light-hearted in nature. As noted on the album sleeve, the waltz was born of folk. The origins maybe Viennese, Austrian, Bavarian or French, but as a friend of mine mentioned to me, it was the dance music of that time, very formulaic, derived to get people on the floor (so to speak).

This album was done in response to his fans, Richard clearly states on the album that he is following his career path, in whatever direction it may take him.

It is an instrumental masterpiece, where carefully orchestrated works are accompanied by viloin, flute, trombone, ocassional vocals and of course piano.

With Elegancia, Abel has taken some favourites that we all know, be it classical or contemporary, and arranged it with perfect finesse. Richard finishes his album with a medley of the Sound of Music, with light touches of vocal harmonies layered over his exquisite playing.

Abel also plays the part of co-arranger, carefully orchestrating the album alongside fellow musician Serge Essiambre.

He studied his artform with Armas Maiste of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He honed his craft through Maiste, but got his mind-set from show-legend, the late Liberace, who advised him that the key to everything was discipline. This advice worked, Richard has released a new album every two years, this in itself is a major accomplishment. To have an arsenal of work this huge requires utmost committment and dedication, a strong work ethic indeed.

It is this work ethic of his that has taken his career all over the world, including performances at prestigious events for many dignitaries. To date, he has sold over 1 million albums in Canada, making him the #1 best selling instrumental artist in his home country. He has received countless Juno Award nominations, and has been the recipient of three Felix awards for Instrumental Album of the year in 1992, 1997 and 2001.

It's no wonder that Richard has faith in his career, it has led his this far and from the sound of things, will continue to shine a light into the hearts of his listeners all over the world for many years to come.

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