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This is another commercially viable but artistically unambitious album from the pianist of the flowing mane

If I Could Tell You
Rs 125

Yanni is the showman whose flowing mane obscured the Taj Mahal. The elite audience sat on the chilly banks of the Yamuna and clapped politely at the end of every piece, or when the lights picked out the enviromentally endangered monument. Yanni has also played at the Acropolis.

This recording boasts of no such spectacular background. But Yanni is still the same intelligent musician who brings his Greek native music on to internationally saleable pop beats and synths. It's pleasant and polished music all right, but nothing that comes with raw energy and inspiration.

There's a bit of Richard Clayderman in almost all the pieces Yanni plays. To that popular appeal, he adds some curiosity value with titles like The November sky and The flame within.

On sacred ground , the opening track, uses Gregorian chants with a flute floating in and out. The flame within is a more romantic number with some great Greek music parts played on odd beats.

Midnight hymn goes pop, a soprano humming on the synth piano. But the structure does not offer much variation. November sky is a breezy piece on the piano. The beat, with its bossa nova accent, is a relief after the boringly straight beats of the earlier compositions. A piccolo strays in and out to remind you of the sky above. With an orchid fuses the Western classical piano style with the Chinese scale played on a flute.

Wishing well uses African folk chants and creates a disco rhythm for it. Neither A walk in the rain , full of piano sounds and an instrument with a bender on it, nor Highland, a fastpaced essay, attract much attention.

If I could tell you is whisper-soft but does not stick in the mind like Wishing well.

In your eyes shows Beethoven, Liszt and Chopin influences. But again a pop beat robs it of its classical dignity. Reason for rainbows sounds like a serious theological statement.

So there's folk, Greek, Chinese and pop. Sorry, no Indian music. All instruments are played by Yanni. He manages to keep away hard synth sounds, thanks either to his expertise or the tonal quality of his keyboards -- a Yamaha CF111 S.9 Concert Grand and a Yamaha DC 7 Disclavier Pro.

With little layering or classical rigour, If I Could Tell You shows a very accomplished musician attempting a commercially viable but artistically unambitious album.

S Suchitra Lata

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