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These diversions help bring more definition to each song, allowing plaintive ballads like "Shine" and "Homecoming (Walter's Song)" to be more memorable and affective than if they were sequenced together.
Although Teng's piano still drives most of the songs, the accompanying arrangements are inventive yet unobtrusive.
It was easy to heap accolades on Vienna Teng's debut recording, Waking Hour, and its impeccable set of songs that overflowed with intelligence and sensitivity.
Coming out at a time when plucky, piano-banging youngsters like Vanessa Carlton were upstaging their more reflective predecessors like Sarah Mc Lachlan, Teng's songs kicked up a little wind for all sensitive singer/songwriters.
These qualities do create a dream-like effect, allowing the listener to commingle with Teng's moods and float along with her songs.
There's also a tendency, thanks to the soft arrangements and production, for the material to meld together as though the songs were mini-suites inside a bigger work.
She took her stage name “Vienna” from the Austrian city famous for its musical history, and “Teng” from the surname of famous Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng.
Teng’s musical style incorporates folk, pop, classical piano, and a cappella influences.
Simple enhancements like the solo trumpet in "Mission Street," or the strummed piano strings in the disc's majestic centerpiece, "My Medea," keep the songs moving forward without distracting from Teng's vocal and instrumental proficiency.
The disc starts to meander in the second half, but there are enough interesting moments to keep it from wandering too far off-track, such as the ghostly, a cappella "Passage," in which Teng embodies the spirit of a car accident victim who observes the grieving loved ones she left behind.Vienna Teng / 史逸欣 (born Cynthia Yih Shih on October 3, 1978) is a Taiwanese American pianist and singer-songwriter based in New York City.