Rarely will you
find such a personal, heart-felt CD as Paul
Cardall's stunning album 'New Life'. And you would
be hard-pressed to find one as good as it.
It is fair to
say that Paul has had a number of challenges he has
needed to overcome in his life, not least the need
for a complicated heart transplant a few years ago.
As Angela Yemtan MD (Director of the Adult
Congenital Heart Program) states, "Paul Cardall had
end-stage heart failure. We talked about options.
There were no easy options. He could choose to live
or choose to die. The latter would be easier. He
chose life, not passively, but vigorously, with the
kind of energy that left me asking what I had been
doing with my own life." In this album, Paul takes the opportunity to express his
gratitude for his 'new life' through the wonderful
music he creates.
opening notes of Steven Sharp Nelson's stirring
cello in 'The Traveller', it is clear that this is a
very special album indeed. The track, written by
Paul, is based on a
composition by his deceased brother Brian, who had
originally written the melody about their paternal
grandfather- a man who left home and never came
back. Paul writes: "I'm certain my deceased brother
has gone looking for him." This is one mournful and
very powerful piece, made even more so by viewing
the accompanying video Paul made on You Tube
featuring the poetic words of Rudyard Kipling's 'My
Boy Jack' (1915):
It also gives the reader an opportunity to hear the
piece of music in full for themselves.
'New Life' is
largely a piano album, and the instrument makes its
first of many appearances in the second track which
is entitled 'Letting Go'. Delicate piano opens this
beautiful piece, which is enhanced further with the
addition of strings. A delight to listen to from
start to finish, Paul says in the linear notes,
"There are things that we never want to let go of,
people we never want to leave behind. But keep in
mind that letting go isn't the end of the world;
it's the beginning of a new life." The final
part of the
track is more upbeat accordingly.
pedal steel guitar makes an appearance in Track 3,
'Delayed'. It's another lovely piece, with the
guitar taking the lead but with Paul's piano coming
along for the ride. Paul explains the story behind
the composition: "Inspired by those moments when a
social standstill or stalled circumstances finally
moves forward. I often feel like my appointed time
of death has been delayed."
I first heard
Michael Giacchino's 'Life and Death' whilst watching
an episode of the popular TV series 'Lost' and knew
straightaway I had to have the composition. At the
time, I was thrilled to discover that a collection
of Michael's music was available from the series.
Paul must also have been a follower of the programme
and the music, for here he does his own stunning
take of the piece, and the ensuing result is an
incredibly powerful piece combining piano with
strings. Very moving, and an absolute joy for the
listener. Paul has also made this piece available to
readers on his official You Tube page, in case those
perusing this are in any doubt whether or not to
purchase the album. It's quite an emotional video to
watch given what the reader has been told about
Paul's medical problems:
. Paul writes, "Each time I play this simple piece of
music, I am moved to tears because it represents to
me the sensitive nature of time. We grieve for those
who've gone beyond. Eventually our own time will run
its course. It's a depressing idea unless you have
faith in a greater plan and supreme being. I believe
that this life is not all there is. Our journey
continues beyond the grave. We will be reunited with
those we've lost and experience new life while we
wait for our loved ones left behind."
Theme' is another simply gorgeous piece beginning as
a piano solo, but then accompanied by strings.
Dedicated to Gracie, a youngster who died at a
tragically young age, this incredibly powerful piece
tugs at the heart-strings. "Inspired by the millions
of children who have gone home to God- I have known
too many. Gracie is one of these beautiful souls
whose brief life inspired thousands. Her spirit
continues to strengthen me from the other side,"
writes Paul. Again, there is an official You Tube
video to watch which some viewers might find a
or a slightly
less emotional version visually (performed live in
concert shortly after his successful transplant):
Both videos are powerful, and the ending to the
latter would warm even the coldest of hearts as Eden
Joy makes an appearance.
Within' opens with graceful strings before Paul's
exquisite piano playing joins in. Another lovely
track in an album which overflows with melodic
entitled 'Sign of Affection' certainly took me back.
I have long been a fan of Paul's, originally having
been highly impressed with his 1999 Narada offering,
'The Looking Glass'. This inspired me to buy his
earlier album released in 1996 entitled 'Sign of
Affection'. The title track from that album makes an
appearance on 'New Life'. I love both versions, but
the track's latest incarnation certainly
demonstrates evidence, as if any were needed, of
Paul's development and maturity as a composer not just for piano,
but for a full orchestra. A wonderful piece, and one
that Paul dedicates to his organ donor, whom he
thinks about every day.
is a short composition written by Paul's deceased
brother, Brian. Featuring Dylan Schorer's pedal
steel guitar, its inclusion on the album is a lovely
tribute to someone clearly so dear to Paul's heart.
is simply beautiful. Sounding similar to 'Letting
Go', I think this piece celebrates that magical day
when Paul was allowed home, and there is certainly
joy to be felt in this short composition. It is
touching that the track is dedicated to his wife,
Lynnette, and their daughter Eden Joy (pictured
Heaven' (Friedrich F. Flemming) and 'Sweet is the
Work' (John J. McClellan) are two lovely hymns very
much in keeping with the feel of the CD. Lovingly
played by Paul, these fit in perfectly with the
other pieces. Both are short and feature Paul on the
There is a very
moving story behind the CD's twelfth track, 'New
Life'. It was composed in hospital as Paul waited
for his heart-transplant. As Paul himself explains,
"I would go to the piano in the evening when all was
quiet. I sat there contemplating life and I wrote
this song. Music for me opens a conduit to heaven
and provides my soul with strength and peace." There
is a sense of optimism in the piece which shines
through clearly to this listener. Another delightful
composition from this master pianist.
track is entitled 'Gratitude', and guitar features
again. The piece is based on Paul's song 'Grateful'
from his 'Songs of Praise' album.
magnificent CD concludes with 'Come, Thou Fount of
Every Blessing', a beautiful and very gentle way to
bring the CD to a perfect close. The hymn was
written in the 18th. century by pastor and hymnist
Robert Robinson. Paul includes the lyrics to this
inspiring piece within his notes.
As if the music
on this CD was not a good enough reason to order
this album, there are two further incentives.
Firstly, the album comes with a moving DVD,
'Celebrate Life', recorded at the Abravanel Hall in
February 2010. What an ovation Paul receives, and
deservedly so. Secondly, the accompanying linear
notes are excellent- featuring comprehensive notes
about each track, thirty six family photographs,
other album information, and many words of wisdom
from this highly talented composer. The following, a
quote from his memoir, stands out to me: "I was born
with half a heart. God made up the difference."
I knew very
quickly when I heard this music that I wanted it to
appear on Piano-Heaven. It has taken some time for
me to do that, but good things come to those that
wait. This is an exceptional album, and one that
Piano-Heaven has no hesitation in recommending from
start to finish. Bravo, Paul, and may the gift of a
new heart allow you to share your gift of creating heavenly
music for your listeners for many years to come.