Liner notes from the original release of This Side of Forever
When I sit at the piano alone, and I close my eyes and I open my heart,
I find the entrance to eternity.
I am not capable of entering, for the body my soul dwells in
holds me bound to this earth.
I can however, sit at the entrance and pine, as I gaze into the beauty
that I long to one day disappear into.
...and the music I am hearing from beyond pours out through my hands and into the piano.
...and it fills the air with my tears of joy, my tears of longing, and the intermingled
reassuring whispers of those who have gone before me...
“Don’t give up. Do not be afraid. Persevere in love and hope.”
This life is short, and yet this life seems so long because I know that there is a love beyond the veil
which is far greater, and more profoundly real than any love to be found this side of forever.
Mark Christopher Brandt ©2009 All rights reserved.
Liner notes from the double CD release of This Side of Forever and Contemplation
On New Year’s Eve 1999, I performed, what I thought was the last time, at the prestigious Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. for the turn of the century and the start of the new millennium. That night I was with a smokin’ jazz quintet. Earlier that year, I recorded what I thought was to be my last CD, and I chose to make it a solo piano project which I called Contemplation.
There are a number of reasons why I stopped performing when I did, but the single most important reason and the one which to my dying day will last as the best reason for leaving the unrelenting pace of travel and late nights, was so that I could be home during the formative years of my children’s growth.
As it turns out, I enjoyed myself so much that I remained way past the formative years and ended up with something most successful, or should I say famous, musicians only dream of. I am speaking, of course, about a family and the certain knowledge that I am loved.
All great musicians know that their music must come first above everyone and everything. I was no different. I did not quit being an artist. That is impossible. I did, however, replace music as a priority with my family, and I have never regretted the choice. As my children began to find and follow their own paths as adults, I returned to mine and discovered that it was just as I left it on the first day of 2000.
Although I recorded Worth the Wait with my new jazz trio in 2010, the recording of This Side of Forever in 2011 was my way of announcing to myself that I had returned as a musician with something beautiful and valuable to share. With this solo piano recording, I stepped back onto the path of artistic growth with a depth of soul which could not have been possible had I not made the choices I made.
Contemplation and This Side of Forever function as two windows in my life. The first looks back at who I was becoming. The second looks forward as to where I am going. I am most grateful to Almighty God for the gift of music, and I am truly grateful beyond all telling to my family, and all my friends at Lionheart Music East for supporting me and helping me put this and all of my projects together.
Mark Christopher Brandt