STYLE: Hymnody RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 82399-15788 LABEL: Spring Hill CMD1137 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2009-08-31 RRP: £9.99
Reviewed by Ian Hayter
For some time now I have sat through several school concerts each year, listening to talented young musicians playing all kinds of amazing solos culled from the Grade 8 syllabus and wondering to myself why they can't just play the tune rather than all the variations which seem designed only to demonstrate their virtuosity. Three years after Anthony Burger's death, Gaither Gospel are still putting out the back catalogue of recordings by this much-loved star of their Homecoming Friends gatherings and I find myself asking the same question. The late Mr Burger's skill on the piano is in no doubt at all and this offering showcases his amazing virtuosity with a series of medleys of well known hymns, from "Tell Me The Story Of Jesus" to "Amazing Grace" (of course). But most of the time it is very difficult to identify the melody amidst the dazzling arpeggios, soaring glissandi and mind-blowing finger work on this solo piano album. The result is certainly not a traditional interpretation of the hymn tunes, but it's not really jazz either. It is pleasant enough background music, but once you start to concentrate on what's going on, you wonder what actually is going on! If you really want to marvel at the great man's ability, get hold of one of the DVDs on which he makes an appearance and watch astounded at the blur of his fingers across the keys. But the audio CD is probably best kept for ambient music in the church foyer.
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Anthony Burger was a piano virtuoso with an incomparable style of playing, who commanded a stage with his keyboard acrobatics. A much beloved member of the Gaither Homecoming Family for more than a decade, Anthony Burger was also a celebrated solo performer and recording artist. His untimely death in 2006 left a profound void. This new CD, The Hymns Collection, features the renowned keyboardist playing such timeless classics as “Old Rugged Cross,” “What A Friend We Have in Jesus,” and more. Anthony Burger may no longer be thrilling Homecoming audiences, but his legacy lives on through his astounding talent for playing music.