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Album Review: The Darkness and The Light
Arthur Dobrucki
Cover image of the album The Darkness and The Light by Arthur Dobrucki
The Darkness and The Light
Arthur Dobrucki
2004 / Azure Hills Music
65 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Darkness and The Light is pianist/composer Arthur Dobrucki’s debut album. Classically-trained from an early age, and active in the Southern California music community for more than twenty years, Dobrucki incorporates classical and contemporary stylings along with improvisation, keeping the general tone of the album classical. Of the sixteen piano solos, seven are preludes in various keys, two are minuets, and one is a waltz. The music is complex and very interesting, and there is quite a variety in the pieces, allowing us to experience several aspects of this composer’s style and sensibility.

The CD opens with “Prelude in C-sharp minor,” a gentle piece with a beautiful flowing quality. Some of the preludes have an updated Baroque feeling, as do the minuets, while others are more contemporary - “Prelude in C minor” has a bit of both, but is mostly a lovely, somewhat introspective piece. “Prelude in D major” is a 59-second bit of carefree sunshine. “Prelude in D minor” is one of my favorites. Full of longing, the melody is melancholy and wistful, and the flowing left hand enhances the mood. As usual, I seem to prefer the minor key pieces, and that includes “Prelude in G-sharp minor,” which is dark and brooding. One hand is arpeggiated in the treble clef while the melody travels from treble to bass clef and back - very effective. “Waltz #2 in G major” is light and joyful, almost dancing out of the CD player. And then we’re plunged into fourteen minutes of “Darkness,” an improvisation that took shape as it was being recorded. Much of this piece is played in the lower registers of the piano with occasional sparks of light in the high end. Some sections have an agitated energy, while others are more placid. Abstract and spontaneous, this is a very intense piece that is quite different from the other selections on the CD. I hear new things each time I listen to it. “Hymn For a New Day” has more of an upbeat gospel feel. “Ever After” and “Window” are also studio improvisations, and are much calmer and more peaceful than “Darkness.”

The Darkness and The Light is a fascinating first-album, and is a great choice for those who prefer their piano music on the classical side. It is available from cdbaby.com, and samples of several of the pieces are available there as well.
January 4, 2005
This review has been tagged as:
Debut Albums
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