Simon Reich is a multi award winning musician and his music is heard all over the world. Based in Australia his output of compositions, particulary piano, is prolific and he has reached well over a million listeners on his soundcloud profile alone. Simon's more recent study of music production and engineering has led to the creation of some very refined and beautifully constructed recordings.
Simon's two compositions 'New Again' and 'Clear Skies' make a worthy appearance in the SoundCloud Top 20 Piano Solo Playlist.
I can't imagine my world without music
I asked Simon what drives him to compose.
My inspiration often comes from how I feel.
I may be happy & create tunes in an upbeat vein, but other times I am sad or melancholy & that helps me write other types of music.
Nature is a great inspiration as well. How can one not look at a sunset, or waves on the sea & not feel something?
His compositions 'New Again' and 'Clear Skies' will take you on a journey, away from the stress of everyday life and I get the sense of someone who is really at peace or has made peace with themselves and the world around them. 'Clear Skies' has a particularly joyous feel with a momentum and rhythm about it that feels easy and natural but is anything but to construct.
I asked Simon to take me through his thought processes when writing these two pieces in particular, here is what he had to say:
This piece was composed like I do with most of my music, via improvisation. I sat down at the keyboard and meandered around for a while until this melody popped up. I then hit record on Pro Tools and began, not really knowing where each of the verses, choruses or break downs would happen. My favourite type of piano music, are these very understated, introspective pieces. They really tug at your emotions and are incredibly soothing to listeners off my music.
This is one of my favourite tracks, as it has a way of making you feel happy, even if your day is heading on a downward slope. I also bring in strong left hand octaves with beefy chords to push some dynamic into the piece. The comparison of light and shade is often a great way of keeping interest in a piece of music.
joy, happiness, a way to express myself
We talked about the importance of improvisation in music making and Simon pretty much sums up how I and many others approach composition. Some composers will improvise and let the mind wonder whilst others will develop ideas away from their instrument. As a classical musician myself, improvisation is not always seen as a priority as we often train ourselves to play other peoples music, but it is worth noting that great composers of the past such as Bach, Mozart, Clemmenti, Chopin and many many more had exceptional improvising skills. Indeed many of the composers in the Soundcloud Top 20 Playlist rely on their experience of improvisation and knowledge of harmony and rhythm.
Improvisation is pretty much the only way I compose nowadays. I sit down at the piano & grab a few notes & pretty much each time, something comes to me & I'm off. If I have my microphones handy, or are using my Midi weighted keyboard, I press record & capture the moment as it happens. Often, I have to play back the session, to hear what I actually played. I don't know what is about to transpire, before a session, so no planning goes into this at all. Once I find a theme, I'm off and running. The whole improvisation experience is very satisfying. Where there was nothing, something has been created. At times it's hard to explain the process, as it sometimes doesn't feel like it was you playing, but the tune came through you.
Simon Reich‘s music will bring you hours of inspirational listening and will be sure to soothe your soul, his awards are many and he has been featured on the piano day playlists. You can read more and listen to Simon's other music on his website https://simonreichmusic.com/#
Both of Simon's compositions can be heard on the Soundcloud Top 20 Piano Solo Playlist and you will also find other beautiful and significant piano pieces by 10 insiprational composers.
Marcel is a prizewinning composer and author of Hey Presto! Piano Method for Adults and Beginners aged 11 and over.