When you’re in love, music seems to speak directly to your heart. Stephen Peppos’ “And Then Came Love” is a collection of 14 original pieces that describe different stages of love. Avoiding clichés and stereotypes, Peppos captures the “spark of love” in a way that we all can relate to. “And Then Came Love” is an honest and personal new direction in Stephen Peppos’ music with high replay value.
At the age of 5, Stephen had two passions; baseball and the desire to play drums. His mom Anna decided to purchase him a spinet piano instead of the drum set he really wanted. And today, he is grateful to his mom for that decision (which is why you can see a “Thank You Mom” on the piano in the above cover artwork). In 2008, Stephen’s debut album “Vertigo” debuted at #3 on the World New Age Top 100 Chart, and his next release, “Follow The Mist” was a 1st round Grammy ballot choice for Best New Age Album in 2009. Stephen has released eight albums (the last being “Deep Listen” in 2019) and is today one of popular and beloved New Age music stars.
“And Then Came Love” is not a chronological story about love. It is a collection of moments, big and small, with no particular order.
The album opener is called “Love You”. It starts gently, describing an everyday moment. Suddenly something happens; It is as if we are being reminded of why we love someone. The melody is beautiful beyond words, a musical bouquet of roses. “Meant to Be” is a colorful piece. I think it is fabulous how Peppos describes different emotions. “Meant to Be” is almost like a novel, where we follow the ups and downs in a relationship. Spoiler alert; I’m happy to report that it ends on a high note.
A Love so True
The gentle and tender “A Love so True” is one of the finest pieces on the album. You can feel it right into the core of your being. It touches something genuinely human. This is not just about romantic love, but about that invisible bond that binds us all together. I find myself listening at the edge of my seat; the open ending is magnificent! “A Love so True” is art in its purest form. Honest, delicate, and totally unpretentious.
“Love & Affection” is a nice contrast. If this piece had a color, it would be burgundy red. It captures the magic of devotion and desire. “For a Lifetime” is yet another contrast, contemplative and not strictly solo piano with its fascinating background textures. It makes us reflect; what is the cost of lifelong love? The piece “Everlasting Love”, track 7, answers this question brilliantly.
The Spark of Love
The dreamy atmosphere continues. “The Spark of Love” is a neoclassical jewel, with a gentle touch of masters such as Debussy or Ravel. I like how it almost stops then continues.
The next part of the album is less about love in a general sense, more personal and bare. The pieces are dedicated to a you. “In Your Eyes” has a lovely melody, on the brink of melancholy. I like how close the microphone is on the piano and how it makes the piece more intimate and alive. It is as if we can hear the piano’s beating heart (or many hearts, as seen on the cover artwork). “A Playful Glance” takes us right into the very beginning of love, before “Since I Found You” and “My Sweet Love” put us in a more reflective mood.
When We First Met
The ending is fabulous! The short but triumphant “When We First Met” gives a glimpse into the very first moment of a relationship, that first happy meeting when time seemed to stand still. “Forever in My Heart” is another winner, perhaps the most elegant piece of all. I always find myself looking for the replay button when I get to this part. From the deep, slow notes in the intro rises a remarkable melody that captures the miracle of everlasting love – before the title track rounds off the album splendidly. It is a gentle piece, the very opposite of Beatles’ “She Loves You” (and the following “yeah, yeah, yeah” refrain). “And Then Came Love” seems to confirm that real and lasting love is quiet and without grand gestures.
In conclusion: Even though the cover artwork is filled with hearts, and the word love is in almost every title, Stephen Peppos’ “And Then Came Love” is a surprisingly down-to-earth release. There is little “walking on clouds” here. No, the love Peppos describes is mature, genuine, and long-lasting. This, and the fact that each of the 14 pieces is a small, well-polished solo piano jewel, is a winning combination. But don’t take my word for it. Check out the album for yourself, and I bet your experience will have similarities to mine:
After the first listen, I knew that Peppos had created something special. So I returned to it a few times more, enjoying every moment. Then, all of a sudden, came love.
Score: 96/100 – See our scoring policy
For more information and music samples, visit stephenpeppos.com