The Sunflower Waltz
2015 / Shadetree Productions
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Sunflower Waltz is the fourth album by pianist/composer Anne Trenning, and the first since her 2009 Watching For Rain. Her previous albums contained a number of ensemble works, but this time Anne has gifted us with sixteen original piano solos. A few of the tracks are solo arrangements of pieces from earlier albums while others appear here for the first time. A classically-trained pianist and organist from an early age, Trenning continued her music studies through college, although she didn’t start composing until after graduation. Drawing on life experiences as the inspiration for her music, Trenning’s compositions carry a wide range of emotions, but on her latest, the pieces are mostly warm and happy. For me, sunflowers have always been symbolic of simplicity, innocence, and joy, and that’s a pretty decent description of this album overall. Played with confidence and an expressive touch, the music is strong yet gentle, simple yet complex, sometimes with Celtic influences and sometimes pure Americana. Recorded and engineered at Joe Bongiorno’s Piano Haven Studio in Sedona, AZ, the sound of Joe’s Shigeru Kawai grand is clear, clean, and warm.
The Sunflower Waltz begins with “Max’s Birthday,” a sweet and gentle piece that expresses love as well as happiness - a great start! The title track swirls and dances around the piano keyboard with a light touch and joyful abandon. “Fade to Blue” is quite a bit more subdued, but in a dreamy, reflective sense rather than sad or “blue.” I really like the soft, misty feeling of this piece and the graceful way that Trenning expresses herself. “Cowgirl Daydream” has a nostalgic and old-fashioned feeling as if it came from a Western movie from decades ago. Wistful with a sense of innocence and simpler times, it’s a charmer! “In the Gloaming Light” is also nostalgic, but for a time long ago in faraway places. If you need an antidote to all of the stresses of your day, look no further than “Backyard Dreamer.” Relaxed yet structured and melodic, the warmth and simplicity of this piece is like a mental massage. One of my favorites is “Where Rivers Run,” a graceful, gently-flowing piece that expresses peace and serenity - beautiful! “The Welcome Song” has a hymn-like quality that is melodic and really needs no words to express its meaning. “A Prayer For the World” closes the album with a heartfelt message of hope and healing.
The Sunflower Waltz is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. I highly recommend it!
September 11, 2015
Review by Kathy Parsons
Review by Michael Debbage