In his fourth album, Heartmony, Bulgarian-born guitarist and composer Hristo Vitchev teams with his pianist doppelganger, Weber Iago, for a melodious exploration of "the endless array of emotions," the composer explains in the liner notes, he feels "every single day." This is harmony from the heart as the album title, perhaps too cleverly for the sincerity it means to indicate, suggests. "The eleven compositions presented here," Vitchev says, "are the most honest and direct message[s] I have ever let out of my heart."
Vitchev and Iago play together with the assurance born of long and fruitful collaboration. They know each other well, and it shows in the skillful way they complement each other. Iago says, "I have come to expect nothing but excellence from Vitchev's pen." He talks about how "pleased and fulfilled" he is "with each new idea, sound and concept." The title, he adds, is "much more than a clever play on words." It is "the very definition of harmonious sounds from the heart healing energy that will embrace you long after you listen to it." Discounting some for hyperbole, these are the words of one artist who buys into another artist's vision.
Now, though it might be churlish, one could argue that while heartfelt sincerity is nice and all that, it doesn't always produce great art. Art is, after all, artifice. Great art gets the audience to believe that it's sincere even when it is blatantly not. Putting aside the commentary, then, the music on Heartmony, whether heartfelt or manipulative, fairly reeks with the feeling of sincerity. Still one would hope that musicians with their talent would have been able to play with excellence even if they didn't feel quite so emotionally attached to the material.