Some people impart a spiritual component to their enjoyment of music. For Jonn Serrie, this component is a well-established fact. Serrie, who many consider to be the premier composer of planetarium music, is also the producer of albums reflecting this underlying spiritual nature.
Ephiphany, subtitled "Meditations on Sacred Hymns" is Serrie's third album of overtly spiritual-themed music, the first two being Christmas/holiday releases, Upon a Midnight Clear (1997) and Yuletides (2002). However, with the possible exception of the Johann Sebastian Bach piece, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, it is not likely that the cuts on this album have been heard on more traditional holiday offerings.
Two of the cuts, in fact, are modern-day pieces: O Magnum Mysterium, which is a 1995 work by Morton Lauridsen, and Serrie's own composition, Light Of Thy Countenance. The other pieces are all infused with Serrie's signature "breathy" synthesizers and long, spacy phrases. Amazing Grace in Serrie's hands becomes four minutes of deep, resonant bass notes intertwined with tinkling bells and whispered choral passages. It is unmistakably Amazing Grace, but it is so languid that it is simply transformed by Serrie's touch.
Nearer My God To Thee features waves breaking against the shore in the intro, cascading into a light, but still fluid, lilting paeon. The remainder of the album (ten tracks in all) are typical Serrie. It has been said that Serrie's strength lies in his space music rather than in his attempts at pop. With Epiphany, Serrie manages to blend the two. I confess that And the Stars Go With You remains one of my all-time favorite space music albums (followed closely by Plantary Chronicles, volumes I & II), but I think Serrie's attempts to redefine himself outside the space music genre bear some consideration. Epiphany is a fine example of crossing boundaries as only someone with the talent and taste of Jonn Serrie could do.