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Classical Music For A Prayerful Mood 
Artist: John Tesh 
Label: Faith MD Music

John Tesh has spent the last decade providing music that's the soundtrack to our lives, although we may not even know it. I'd venture to guess his New Age-styled piano arrangements have been played over just about every department store speaker in America, in countless elevator shafts, and in most major law firms and dentist offices. Within the last few years, his background music has branched out even more, including Christian book stores as the accompaniment to your shopping experience. It was Tesh who tried to compete with genre-mate Yanni in the mid-90's by staging a big budget concert spectacle at Red Rocks, similar to his competitor's Acropolis performance. Tesh was also the pleasant voice that greeted you on Entertainment Tonight for several seasons.

But with his departure from that television show and allowance of Yanni to conquer the Great Wall of China and Taj Mahal, it seems as though Tesh has become more spiritual with his public demeanor and music.

His message may not be as overt as an artist that has vocals in their songs, but nonetheless Tesh is starting to find his niche in Christian circles as his mainstream popularity wanes. In this regard, Tesh is being marketed along the lines of fellow secular star-turned-Christian-industry-marketing plan Jim Brickman. As a result, Tesh's latest collection of gentle classical pieces is tailored to hopefully induce a prayerful attitude for listeners. The songs are not traditional church hymns or worship songs arranged from a classical perspective like one may expect. Instead they're interpretations of classical pieces from the past, including "January; By the earth," "Prelude Op. 24 No. 1 in E Major" and "Nocturne." Although all 13 tracks are very soothing and contemplative, they have no specific relationship to Christianity whatsoever. In fact, if this disc's title was Classical Music for a Peaceful Mood, I could picture the pop up counter display at my local Hallmark retailer. And that's what I deduce this disc to be -- mere product. In fact it's the sixth of its kind released by Tesh thus far in 2001. Other similar titles include two volumes of Classical Music for Babies (and Their Moms) and Classical Music for an Intimate Mood, released by secular counterpart Garden City Music.

I'm not trying to discount Tesh's talents in any way, nor am I denying the fact that his renditions of "Musical Moment Op. 16 No. 5 in D Flat Major" and "Intermezzo" are beautiful. I just think that the word "prayerful" was thrown into the title so it could be better tailored to Christian consumers. For some, this disc may leave them in a prayerful state. Although my tensions were eased throughout its duration, I struggled with staying awake the entire time and couldn't quite shake the demographic capitalization out of my head.

Andy Argyrakis

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