"Autumn Rains" is the second installment in a trio of neoclassical solo piano albums composed, performed, and produced by Andrew Souter. These projects have been two decades in the making and represent a return to traditional music composition, engaging song-writing, and the pure passion of emotional story-telling. This trio represents Andrew's most personal and intimate music. It is quite literally a love project. We hope it may help you on your journey, as it has us...
"Autumn Rains" is music inspired by the spirit of Agape. It is an album dedicated to the concept of spiritual love and universal compassion clothed in the metaphor of transcendental natural beauty. It is an album that simultaneously expresses deep love for both the creator as well as the creation. It is said God gave us music so that we could pray without words. It could be added that nature was provided as an example of exactly how to do this effectively. In this spirit, Autumn Rains is a prayer of gratitude for the opportunity to learn from the natural beauty of this world, and an expression of a sense of respect for the inescapable universal equality that nature imposes. It humbly attempts to capture deep feelings of awe, granduer, idealism, and a belief in the innate goodness of the world even when we all face exceptionally hard lessons.
The title is Biblical:
As they pass through the valley of weeping, they make it a place of springs. The Autumn Rains will clothe it with blessings.
Psalm 84:6, Psalms
Thematically this is an acknowledgement of the fact that pain and sacrifice is often a necessary part of growth. This is true in nature as well as humanity. To accept this fact, and to bleed willingly and joyfully for the universal good as Kahlil Gibran wrote - as nature does every day of her magnificent existence - is perhaps the highest form of love and compassion.
This is by no means an advocation of militant nationalism in any form. Quite the opposite. There are no states in nature, and all of creation is a unified church to which everyone belongs. The trees do not care much what religion you are; the rocks do not check your social status or what flag you fly. These are personal choices and all should be accepted and respected just as a forest accepts and respects oaks as well as pines as well as maples. Man versus man is the lowest possible form of human conflict. Man versus nature is slightly more elevated perhaps, but the only truly noble battle is man versus himself. Do not try to change the world, especially not by force. Try instead to change yourself. Learning humble self sacrifice is the hardest journey.
Give thanks for the opportunity to learn how to accomplish this skill set from the sublime example given to us in nature. Let it teach you how to think more in terms of union and less of opposition. Learn how to move away from man versus nature, and more towards man in harmony with nature. Let go of man versus man, and accept man in harmony with man. Accept whatever valley you have had to pass through personally, and take comfort and joy in knowing that your experience will be of benefit to others. Find true peace by resolving the final conflict of man versus himself and learn to live in harmony with yourself. When you love no longer say "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God." This is the spirit of agape.
September is always a magical month anywhere else in the northern hemisphere. It never ceases to present the perfect opportunity to go outside and enjoy the wonder of nature. It's the perfect moment to feel the warmth of the sun on your face as it pierces through the branches of trees whose leaves may have already begun to show small signs of color. Its a perfect time to be thankful for the fun of summer and to prepare us for the deeper seasons we are about to enter. It always feels strangely like a graduation ceremony as well as the start of the next level of our growth and understanding. It's a decidedly peaceful month. It's a time of year as well as state of mind. Perhaps the entire world could live in September for a while? It would be a good start...
Be careful to sow wisely the good seed, for one day you may have to eat its fruit. Perhaps grace is not demanding to receive everything that we think we are entitled to by our own merit or position, but rather to instead give thanks for not receiving everything we may deserve for our failures and folly. Let us be diligent year round to do the best we can to nurture our crop. Let us be humbly content to accept result of these efforts, whatever it may be, at the time of the harvest.
Waiting For December
December is a special time of year for most of the world. As children we look forward to it with eager anticipation of all of the shiny new toys and presets we will get this season. As adults our priorities hopefully shift some and we worry more about the gift of giving than the act of receiving. We imagine making friends and loved-ones, new ones as well as old, happy in some small way. We envision participating with them in their life for a moment or two and sharing some form of intimacy. We celebrate the opportunity to give love with the intention of building lasting relationships, and if we are wise enough, we let go of expectations of immediate reciprocation and realize the act of giving is itself its own reward...
Life is like a river flowing in reverse. We start off our lives in the ocean, and we are immediately confronted with an infinite number of choices: should we go up the Nile, or the Amazon, or the Mississippi? We choose one and we proceed down that path, and after a while we face another decision: should we go up the right tributary or the left tributary? Again we make a choice and proceed. Throughout life we go through this process over and over again and our life path evolves and takes from.
As we make these choices our future options become limited in a fashion by the choices we make today, for while we can certainly always go back down the river to test another path, it requires an increasingly greater effort to make these kind of changes once we are already far down one particular path. Eventually as our life nears competition we approach a tiny spring on a mountaintop and we have no more choices. The path is complete and the journey is over.
I believe that there is an ideal path for everyone as an individual, and that this path can perhaps be called fate or destiny. I believe that it likely preexists before and outside our lives and is perhaps created by God or the universe or whatever your particular persuasion would like to call it.
I believe that this ideal path is the one that will bring us the most completeness and satisfaction in our lives as individuals, and at the same time, this is the path that will greatest fulfill an even larger plan or path towards a universal fate or destiny for humanity. All of our individual paths function like threads in a cosmic tapestry which represents a larger, universal plan that unfolds upon itself over the sea of time.
The interesting thing however, is that it is up to us as individuals to earnestly seek out our own ideal path, and as a consequence, our contribution to the larger tapestry. It is not something we are forced into; it is an active decision we must make and it requires effort. We must have the strength to follow it. I do not believe in "apathetic fatalism", as I would call it - "if it is meant to be, it will be". I believe it is up to us to honestly and truthfully search our hearts for our own ideal path, and then diligently go after it with vigor and passion and make it happen.
Andrew Souter: composition, performance, mixing, mastering, words, and general obsessing
Andrei Zdetovetchi: photography
Daniel Souter: hiking companionship, mentorship in the appreciation of natural beauty, father
2CAudio: reverb and signal processing
Autumn Rains was composed, produced, and recorded in Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania USA, St. Petersburg Russia, Bucharest Romania, and Ljubljana Slovenia.
The next masterpiece! I am enjoying so much! Splendid!
Captivating from the start
amazing!! made me cry..
Great piano, great sensibility! I love it!!
it's just so amazing that I can't stop crying
Nope you definitely are the best I've ever heard, your stuff is amazing!
Another beautiful journey, wow this is just great to listen to your music Andrew
so beautiful Andrew. compliments my friend. glad so many persons are appreciating that composition.
I want to reminisce with this song.
I remember the joys, sorrows of the year, interesting views, very detached now
just listened by accident Andrew, when I suddenly thought..."what a beauty, who is the composer of it ?" .... should have known it was you
and now i've got tears... magic little moment! thanks!
this is so beautiful & romantic.<3 at the same time it is as fresh as new morning .. like dew drops on grass..
Fantastic, delicate, beautiful.
Lovely piece of music could listen to this all day !
Perfection on the keys...amazing work...loved from the intro
i think i found my new idol! wanna be just like u someday!
very very nice andrew... it's almost romantic and dreamy!! :)
so beautiful, both the music and the thoughts behind it. thanks for sharing.
Never thought I would find myself actively listening to piano pieces, but damn, I enjoy this!
Perfect music to write to.
Absolutely beautiful... thank you...
Oh that is again fantastic!!! You are a piano genius!
Love this piece. A beautiful composition - lovely themes developing wonderfully. Totally entranced!
Wonderful! Very good! In love!!!
It really speaks without words!!
i love you
again, a phenomenal piece you made, dreamy, smooth, takes your spirit away from your body :)
you are my piano hero everytime
really gorgeous - love this.
Its telling a story :) Very Spirited and Joyful melody!
Really really powerful! always great to hear your music, good sir!
Touched with such pensive moments, but with purposeful intent, engaging us to move through change. Open the mind, the soul will align. An emotive piece, indeed!
oooh, i love all your compositions.....can´t help it
Encore magnifique composition!!
So amazing, I love this to bits.
So beautiful, fantastic and splendid piano!!!
oh this is heavenly
Beautiful flow in this piece! Comes and goes, inflows and outflows.. beautiful runs on keys!
very nice melody -- it shows feelings of hope and strength:9
I am breathless Andrew, it's romantic, coherent, no defeats...
awwwww so beautiful :))
This is beautiful, the progression is so wonderfully done! Great work!
Each drop after each melody really matches the title, well played.
What a brilliant composition!
Just beautiful, and you're right, there's nothing more beautiful than the complexity of nature, not all people can feel it, but you are doign it with talent !
Such a nice touch on the keys!
you know how to play the music that dances with people's feelings.
great dynamics. You a truly amazing story teller.
Here it's autumn, the leaves are falling to the ground and I listen to your music ... The harmony is perfect ..... Thanks
Most evocative! This is pure beauty.
hold my hand, we'll run with the wind and come back with the dust
very inspirational, great played excellent track, fits so well with the title!
Winter is coming. Its cool air and strong winds always bring a refreshing purity that cleanses the mind, body and soul and encourages introspection. Its quiet solidtude and majestic beauty provides ample space for day-dreaming and imagination. Its peaceful slumber brings a chance for much needed rest and rejuvenation. Its relative lack of sunlight and the play things of summer may sometimes bring about a "dark night of the soul". This a magical time; embrace it. It is a time for taking a personal inventory and evaluating the progress that has been made in the prior year. It is a time to impart change. It is a time to define who you will become in the following months and years. Look North. Find your inner light. Cherish and nurture it. Give it what it needs to grow this season and prepare yourself in all ways for the future seasons to come.
I feel very thankful and fortunate to have had a truly amazing summer in 2014. I visited no fewer than seven counties between July and August. I witnessed so many amazing things in Romania, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Denmark, and Iceland. I spent quality time, working, playing, and planning for the future with close friends and colleagues. I met and befriended many new and truly wonderful people whom I now consider close friends.
I was asked many times both by friends and family in the US, as well as the local people in the various cities I was in, what I thought about all the various political instability in the world today. The questions invariably centered around something to the effect of "Aren't you worried/concerned/afraid to be traveling at the moment?"
My standard answer, which I became quite practiced in reciting, was: I think that if some alien species which did not speak any human language came to Earth and visited New York, Washington DC, Bucharest, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Tallinn, Copenhagen, and Reykjavik it would have a very hard time telling us all apart. Despite our small cultural differences, people everywhere generally want the same things. We all look quite similar when we smile and laugh as well as when we cry.
It is said, everybody loves something, is afraid of something, has lost something, and is looking to find something. Which will you focus on? Will you give love unconditionally, or will you help create fear in effort to mask your own? Will you help yourself and others get lost, or will you try your best to find something of true value and meaning? Will you focus on artificial divisions and all the reasons why you think you can not do something, or will you open the borders of your heart to new experiences and opportunities for growth? The choice is yours. It is all of ours.
A deep and humble thanks to everyone in Romania, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Denmark, and Iceland for sharing part of your lives and wonderful culture with me. The memories will last a lifetime and have already become a formative experience to my creative process. Thank you!
It's always pure magic when nature creates abstract art using only water, air, and sunlight. There is really some epic beauty to be found in nature, even in the simplest and most humble things. What a wonderful gift we have all been given to be a part of this world. I hope we all learn to value it as deeply as we should, and protect it for future generations...
This whole earth in which we inhabit is but a point is space.
Let me admonish you, first of all, to go alone; to refuse the good models, even those most sacred in the imagination of men, and dare to love God without mediator or veil.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Divinity School Address
The Wind Whispers To The Trees
It was seemingly a late Autumn season and the leaves held on to their branches a little longer than average this turn of the wheel. I watched as the final remaining members of the deciduous resistance proudly held their ground and clung to their branches, while the wind tried to seduce them to give up their futile attempt at immortality and surrender to the inevitable. In bold defiance they refused and proudly flew their colorful flags of deep crimson, rust orange, and a shade of yellow so ineffably deep it does not even bare a name. They danced gallantly and gracefully with the wind as they moved in asymmetrical rhythms and flowing tempos - the mathematics of which seemingly beyond human intelligence, boarding on the divine. The eb and flow of the motion together with the beams of sunlight that would burst through the branches and cast a glimmering shimmer onto everything was truly an epically cinematic sight to behold! If I were a cinematographer this is what I would film. As I am only a composer, I did the best I could with the tools available to my disposal... I hope you may enjoy it...
Reaching For Shadows
In existence there are ideal forms and there are imperfect manifestations of these forms. It is a matter of philosophy which is more real to us in our experience of the world: the perfect idealized form of an apple, or the imperfect manifestation of this form that is said to "participate in apple-ness". In fact we don't ever see the real idealized form of an object or an idea. It is as if, as Plato said, we are prisoners of a cave, where the objective form sits outside the cave and casts shadows on the interior wall of the cave. We see only these shadows that are subject to the limitations of our perception and influenced by the collection of our emotional beliefs and past experiences. More abstractly, these shadows may represet a potential relationship, any of our desires or goals, our self image, or a myriad of any possible other more mundane things. We reach towards these shadows trying to understand as best we can, trying to refine them to be one step closer to perfection. Sometimes magic happens here. Other times it does not. Sometimes we fail to realize when it has happened. Other times we fool ourselves into believing it has happened when it has not. The best we can hope for is to remain humble and patient, and continue to believe our perception will eventually converge with reality if we continue growing and reaching for shadows...