All about the original solo piano music of Diane Stillman in her album entitled stilling
stilling - 1. invoking stillness via music; 2. quieting, resting, breathing, releasing; 3. a play on the name Stillman; 4. music by which to heal a head injury; 5. beautiful yet simple music; 6. facilitating rampantly running innate creative flow; 7. an opportunity to come from deep within and create something completely new and original.
...audio clips for each piece coming soon...
1 Travel Dreams
Composed while daydreaming about the exciting adventures I had started into motion by purchasing a round trip ticket for a month in Europe.
2 Hello God, are you there?
Craving connection to a part of me that, at the time, seemed to be unavailable, I watch myself reach out through this piece.
Written upon returning from five weeks on the Big Island of Hawaii. Oceanspan captured the mixed emotions of being glad to be home in Colorado while at the same time noticing my energy was still spanning the ocean all the way back to Hawaii. Oceanspan is dedicated to Geoffrey, a wonderful friend, musician, and inspiration.
One of my many little musical 'ditties'. Looking out the window on a cold Winter's day, seeing the wind gently come and whirl around a flurrie of glorious snowflakes sparkling in the sun, only to gently deposit them back to the ground and pass on by.
5 Spark of Greeting
Perhaps you've had the joyfully knowing experience of recognizing someone that you've known for eons even though you've 'just met'. Spark of Greeting is for my dear friend Derek, with whom I shared such an experience.
Another Winter afternoon composition. Programmatic in the sense of what it might be like to be a Marmot up in the mountains, waking up on a cold, crisp morning with the sun shining brightly, catching the ice crystals, sprinkling rainbow light upon the new day.
I had the pleasure of traveling several hours of a day-long train journey from Germany to Switzerland with a upbeat German college student named Flo (short for Florian). I enjoyed his enthusiasm for life, as it echoed and amplified mine, all the while gently opening my heart.
8 Unnamed Time
Witnessing one's child traverse through life's difficult challenges is not always easy. Through the marking of the passage of unnamed time, patience brings healing which gradually makes room for grace.
Dedicated to Luca Julius Kersting, March 30, 2004 - Jan 4, 2005. This piece was written hours before I received the news that Luca, the son of my German brother, Ralf and his wife Dani, had died of SIDS. The recording of this piece on this CD was done in one take.
You can't push it faster than it can go, you can't slow it down once momentum takes over. Healing takes time. Wait. Wait. Wait.
11 Alabaster Look
Pale and white, like an alabaster sculpture. The shock of trauma creates the scene of the alabaster look, staring off into space, blankly, nothing showing on the surface, yet, somehow knowing that underneath, mountains are moving.
12 Pineapple Chickering
Written in California on my former husband's Chickering piano, this piece has always reminded me of the texture of pineapple juice.
13 I’m Ready
Feeling limited by the reverberations of a brain injury, yet yearning to move forward, this piece is a prayer announcing I'm Ready to do whatever it takes to heal completely into all that I am.
14 Vanishing Twin
This programmatic piece, dedicated to Karin, depicts the experience of being left behind by a vanishing twin.
15 Courage to Love
This piece was aptly named by a fellow who deeply touched my life for just a few weeks before suddenly declaring to me that he knew I was totally messed up and that he no longer wanted anything to do with me. It indeed took courage for me to deepen my love for myself after experiencing such complete rejection by another person.
16 Soaked Sunflower Seeds
It takes a lot of sunflower seeds, soaked or not, to make a mouthful. It also takes a lot of little steps to add up to big steps. Soaked sunflower seeds make for slightly bigger mouthfuls than dry sunflower seeds.
17 Autumn Delight
Dedicated to my dear Swiss friend, Thomas, who witnessed the entire creative process of this piece while visiting me in Colorado. Thomas chose the name for his part of this co-creation.
18 Afternoon Tea
This piece is dedicated to George M. Clark, the delightful then 83-year-old man who was the previous owner of the 1917 Steinway Grand Piano that graced my living room when this piece was composed. This piano was George’s prize possession of a lifetime, and it meant and represented a lot to him. Though he knew it was time to let it go, it was apparent was still a difficult decision for him. This was the first piece I composed with the Steinway. I often imagine George coming and visiting me for afternoon tea while we share music with this beautiful instrument.
duration 60' 50"
Eleven days before my helmeted head hit the ice during an ice hockey game, I purchased a beautiful 1917 Steinway 'O' Grand Piano. At the time, I had no idea what a big part this new addition to my living room would play in the healing of my closed head injury.
As a classically trained musician, performing music had been a integral part of my life since I was a teenager. As a freshly head injured person, I found all music, even the simplest early Mozart, to be too complicated and complex to follow. I craved simple, beautiful music that would touch my heart, yet nothing in my entire music library came close to what I wanted to hear. I began to pick out simple little melodies as I sat daily at my new piano. The creative progression of notes made me smile, and often they also soothed a deeper part of me. Over time, I started writing them down. These simple musical compositions regularly gave me goose bumps, often made me cry, and definitely challenged me to focus.
stilling was completed on the fourth anniversary of my head injury. This CD represents a musical documentary of my healing process, speaking in sound and melody what I was unable to express in any other way. Deliberately composed to induce a light alpha state by flowing with an underlying rhythm of one beat per second, this music calms, breaths, and creates a sense of still-ing, ie, becoming still. It has become much more than just music by which to heal a head injury. It has become first and foremost my gift to me. And then, from the place of personal fullness, I release it now as my gift to all others.
In a time when our daily lives can seem so hectic, toxic, and filled with ever-present movement, stilling represents an opportunity to step away from the momentum of daily life, to rest in the quiet rhythm and gentle beauty of these simple yet beautiful, stilling sounds.
It is my great honor, desire, and passion to make these healing compositions available to others. As my own healing journey continues, my life continues to be enrichened by this music. May these original compositions gently nourish and enrichen your life as they have mine.
- in the car. When the chaos of crazy driving and fossil-fuel fumes start to get to me, I can rest assured that within the time of listening to two to three pieces of stilling, I'll be calm and relaxed again, and can sit back and just enjoy the drive. So far, it's worked every time!
- quietly in the background while I'm studying, reading, or doing a creative project. My son has said it helps him do his homework to have this music playing softly in the background.
- receiving body work. (of course it's all I can do to not sing along with it, I am originally a woodwind player after all)
- while I'm preparing food. Being in a calm, relaxed place while creating my meals definitely makes them taste better!
- just for the fun of it. Winding down and getting ready for bed, or on a Sunday morning while I sit in gratitude and enjoy the beauty all around me.
All original musical compositions and editing by Diane Stillman.
Recording and mastering by Coupe Studios in Boulder, Colorado.
stilling cover photo by Diane Stillman on a sunny Fall day in Colorado.
Diane's photo by Carolyn Stillman in Sedona, Arizona.
All artwork created by Diane Stillman.
CD Replication by Command Productions in Sausalito, California.
With special appreciation and gratitude for Ed & Carolyn Stillman,
Geoffrey C. Sweeney, and
Technical notes regarding the creation of the stilling CD:
stilling was originally recorded live by Diane Stillman on a Yamaha Disklavier MX100B. The resulting MIDI files were then gently edited by Diane using a Macintosh PowerBook G4 and Logic Express 7. In the recording studio, the PowerBook was hooked up via a USB/MIDI cable to Coupe Studio's Yamaha Disklavier C7 Grand Piano and the piano was recorded live playing Diane's edited MIDI files with Diane sitting at the keyboard.
To purchase mp3 tracks or download the entire CD, please visit stilling on cdbaby. Please purchase physical CDs using the PayPal link above.
Please contact Hello Rose Wellness Center for larger quantity pricing at music[at]helloRose.com.
"When I first heard Stilling by Diane Stillman I was unprepared for such simple and sublime interpretation of the titles. One of my favorites is "Oceanspan". Closing my eyes this piece so clearly sings of the vastness of the ocean and nearby, the hesitation before the waves roll over and crash onto the shore. Another is "Hello God, are you there?" wherein a communication is heard and one can almost hear the plaintive questions and wonder if there are answers. "Flo" provides a most beautiful progression in the grand piano bass notes. Ms. Stillman uses simple and enchanting rhythms, chords and original melodies that provide a thoughtful musical collection of personal observations on life, love and nature." - S.J., Longmont, Colorado
"I'm a college student and I love to listen to stilling when I'm studying. Somehow this music helps me study more deeply and recall the information I've studied more easily when I take an exam. My study partner said the same thing." - K.M., Sacramento, California
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