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Album Review: Songs of the Sun
David Ross Lawn
Cover image of the album Songs of the Sun by David Ross Lawn
Songs of the Sun
David Ross Lawn
2017 / David Ross Lawn
13 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Songs of the Sun is the debut EP by Scottish-born pianist/composer David Ross Lawn. Lawn graduated with honors from the University of Aberdeen with a dual degree in Oboe and Piano Performance and recently earned his Master’s Degree in Theory and Composition from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. Lawn is a commissioned composer and performer of contemporary vocal and instrumental music and and has performed with various symphony orchestras, concert bands, choirs and opera companies around Scotland and beyond. Songs of the Sun consists of four original piano solos “marking various landscapes of perspective via a minimalist, cinematic sound aesthetic. My main inspiration and keyword for this album is interaction: how the human condition interacts (or doesn’t) with the clarity of nature: how two people can stare through each other in a coffee shop as if they don’t exist together; how the moment of clarity can be archived. I feel there is an architecture to a moment, and this project is my way of portraying interactions that I have either encountered with the world, or interactions that I have witnessed happening in-front of my eyes.” (quoted from an introductory email from David Ross Lawn). The album was recorded in one afternoon on a Steinway grand piano in a theater in New Jersey.

The four pieces are different from each other, but work beautifully as a unit. Like the interactions that inspired the music, the piano has its flaws - just slightly out of tune with some clicks and pedal noise (a bit like breathing), but very real and very expressive. “Rising” begins quietly - almost shimmering - and gradually builds as the colors of the sunrise intensify, and then softening as the day begins. “Flying, Floating, Falling” also begins very softly with a feeling of moving effortlessly through the air - or of dreaming. It gradually builds to a passionate middle section that then gently returns to a soft landing. “Sanctuary” has a darker and more mysterious tone, but is very peaceful and meditative. “A Conversation Between Lovers” is by far the longest of the four tracks at a little more than 5 1/2 minutes. Making great use of the piano’s dampers to create an ethereal atmosphere, the piece is very spare, quiet, and expressive. The various internal piano sounds were not edited out and add an interesting nakedness and honesty to the piece.

I think we have a very promising artist to discover in David Ross Lawn! Check out his music at Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
October 10, 2017
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