Review Summary: Yanni's finest and most personal work.
I remember when I was taking piano lessons during elementary, middle, and high school and one of my favorite instructors gave me the complete songbook to In My Time
by Yanni. It was the book that sparked my love for new age music, as well as my true love of playing this instrument that was still relatively new to me. What was it that caused this powerful reaction to occur? Well, the answer is simple: this was the first collection of pieces that made me feel like I was entering a new world entirely. Some albums and pieces can try to draw an individual into a certain atmosphere or sound, but it can be supremely difficult to fully immerse one into a complete world in which you can envision all that surrounds you. It may sound corny as I'm describing the feeling now, but this immersion can really leave a lasting impact and affect the work's replay value. However, even aside from the quality of a beautiful atmosphere, I can honestly deem In My Time
a classic that's worthy of any fan of piano-driven music.
In my Time
signals a unique departure from Yanni's usual sound, in that it featured a much more stripped-down musical style that's almost entirely driven by a piano and violin. The synthesizers are heavily scaled back to focus on a more intimate and romantic vibe, one that Yanni described as "clear and honest." One might suspect that an album completely brimming with elegant piano ballads would get boring or tiring, but what works here is that every track exhibits a different mood or dynamic range to consistently shake things up. While new age influences are clearly present here, In My Time
exhibits just as many influences from romantic-era composers such as the Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn as well as Claude Debussy. The balance between complexity and elegance in the compositions is perfect, especially in moments like the nostalgic mood swings of "The End of August" or the gradual dynamic buildups of faster-paced album highlight "One Man's Dream." The latter track, as well as "Enchantment," definitely lean more on the classical side than the "new age" side of things at times; the increased rigidity in the piano playing of these songs is a wonderful contrast to their spacious atmospheres, offering music that's both quick and still laid back.
Throughout the entire record, Yanni constantly demonstrates why he's one of the most celebrated modern composers and pianists around the world. Not only is his writing at its finest here, but the stripped-down sound allows his work to be heard in a completely new light. There are no frills, no unnecessary instruments, no gimmicks, nothing of that sort. It's just a man at his piano. Yanni doesn't deem it necessary to throw you through any loops and switch back to the elements of his older albums either; those beautiful A-major-based chords and swift runs that kick off "In the Morning Light" are a perfect indicator of what's to come, and right up until the final string flourishes that close the appropriately-titled "Until the Last Moment," everything stays consistent with this style. It's all very fascinating, because albums this consistently mellow and elegant sometimes tend to wear on the attention span due to being considered unengaging and boring. But the way In My Time
flows from one song to the next almost makes it seem like one continuous piece. The songs aren't actually bridged together, but they'd might as well be.
In My Time
is just as good today as it was when I first heard in elementary and middle school. The minimalist instrumentation and intimate vibe are incredibly unique when compared to the rest of Yanni's career, and the strictly piano-centered approach is incredibly refreshing in the midst of the bombastic string-oriented scores we may hear in numerous big-budget Hollywood films. This is not only a beautiful listen, but one that's timeless in every sense of the word; between the classically-driven composing and lush musical world it places the listener in, this deserves to be picked up by anyone and everyone who enjoys music... especially any pianist out there.