2007 / / 1990 / Seven Mile Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Brenda Warren’s Childhood Dreams was originally released in 1990 and received worldwide airplay. She followed it up in 2003 with “As Years Go By,” which is still one of my favorite albums. I never heard Childhood Dreams in its first release, although I had heard a lot about it, so this is a real treat! Subtitled “A Solo Piano Experience,” the music is a combination of playful childhood innocence and more thoughtful, pensive reflections. Rather than looking at life through a child’s eyes, these pieces are more of an adult’s recollection of childhood experiences - not all sweetness and light. Primarily solo piano, some of the music has synth washes as well as a few sound effects, but those are very minimal. This is a fascinating album, and I’m really glad Brenda Warren decided to rerelease it for those of us who missed it the first time around as well as for people who are new to her music.
The title track opens the album. Energetic yet still wistful, it overflows with optimism. “Solitude” is much darker and quieter. Eloquently emotional and very poignant, this is a beauty! “Together Again” begins very tenderly and then picks up playful energy, returning to the first theme at the end. “Eden Lane” is a favorite. Starting slowly and reflectively, it becomes more rhythmic as some of the chords become dark and bluesy, creating a sense of mystery. “Merry Go Round” begins with piano and a toy piano along with the sound of children’s voices. Warren does a wonderful job of capturing the feeling of going around and around and up and down, as well as the feeling of freedom and the excitement of riding a wild animal (safely!). “Another Time” is also a favorite. Much more subdued and introspective, this piece conveys feelings of sadness and hurt, and perhaps a little anger - very emotional! “Sunday Afternoon” goes even darker and deeper. Very spare and quiet yet very powerful and incredibly personal. “Only Charlie Knows” is an intriguing title for a fascinating piece. Touches of percussion and the sound of thunder make it even more mysterious and inviting, as secrets often are. I’d love to know the story behind this one! “Peace of Mind” is actually rather agitated, looking for resolution, and finding it at the end - another great piece. “A Revelation” brings us back to a more optimistic mood, happily moving forward and enjoying the ride.
Childhood Dreams is a wonderful “solo piano experience” that I highly recommend to those who love solo piano with complexity and a wide range of emotions. It is available from cdbaby.com, iTunes, and amazon.com.
September 20, 2007