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Album Review: Momentum
David Hicken
Cover image of the album Momentum by David Hicken
Momentum
David Hicken
2017 / Enchanting Music
46 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Momentum is David Hicken’s ninth solo piano album and his second release of 2017. He describes the album this way: “Momentum is a fusion of genres in unique, moving, exciting and intricate compositions that represent the evolvement of music and its continuum.” There is a very nice balance of slower lyrical pieces and the epic uptempo compositions that Hicken’s arrangement of “The Bell Carol” launched several years ago. With the option of downloadable individual tracks, if you have a strong preference for one style or the other, you can pick and choose, but the complete album is a wonderful demonstration of what an incredible and versatile pianist and composer Hicken is - and why he is one of my very favorites. There is a companion sheet music book (and individual downloads) available exclusively from www.DavidHicken.com.

Momentum opens with “Tempus Fugit,” a Latin phrase that usually translates into English as "time flies.” Fast, intricate, and strongly influenced by the Baroque style of music, it’s a very joyful and dynamic beginning. “Alicen’s Nocturne” is much slower, simpler and gentler with a sweet melody and relaxed tempo. “My Sojourn” was inspired by a recent vacation in the tropics. Upbeat and full of energy, it overflows with the spirit of a happy adventure. “Excelsis” is a solo piano version of a choral piece Hicken composed several years ago. Beautiful with a swirling intensity, it would easily lift anyone’s mood! “Sanctuary Of Truth” is a haunting piece inspired by a hand-carved wooden temple in Thailand. A sense of wonder and awe runs through the music, giving the listener an aural tour of the temple (Hicken’s video for this piece includes footage of him walking through the temple - check it out here!). “Silhouettes” tells a story through the expressive melody and graceful tempo. And then there is “Incantation 2.0,” the sequel to Hicken’s enormously popular “Incantation” from a few years ago. “2.0” is even more playful and buoyant, dancing all over the piano keyboard with joyous passion - one of my favorite Hicken pieces ever. What a compelling contrast it is to go from that piece to “Lacrimosa” (“Weeping”), a very classical heartbreaker that could melt rocks - gorgeous! “Vanquished” is also very classical, but on a grander, more epic scale. “Mon Coeur” is the most romantic piece on the album, expressing love and tenderness with an elegant melody and flowing tempo. My other favorite is the duet, “Gemini.” I have been able to work on this exciting piece with a couple of my more advanced piano students and had a real blast with it. We didn’t get it as fast as Hicken plays it, but what an inspiring piece for students and other duo pianists to learn and play! Some passages are in a more Baroque style, but the energy level never falters - pure joy set to music! The album doesn’t say specifically that “Gemini” is a duet, but if it sounds like Hicken is playing with four hands, he is! “The Valiant” returns to a more epic style that brings this outstanding album to an exciting close.

I don’t usually name an “Album of the Year,” but if I do for 2017, Momentum is definitely in the running! I think it’s David Hicken’s best album yet and give it my highest recommendation. It is available from www.DavidHicken.com, Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.
September 23, 2017
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