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Album Review: Piano and Night
Brian Crain
Cover image of the album Piano and Night by Brian Crain
Piano and Night
Brian Crain
2018 / Crain Records, Inc.
42 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
I have been reviewing Brian Crain’s music off and on since 1999, but Piano and Night is the first of his albums that I’ve heard since his 2006 release, Piano and Cello Duet, which I loved - a happy reunion! One of the most successful composer/pianists in the world, Brian started releasing albums of his own music on his own Crain Records label in 1995. He has always been an independent musician and sold his first 100,000 CDs at art shows across the US. A self-taught pianist, several of Crain’s pieces are used as theme music and background music for TV dramas and commercials in Asia, making him very popular in that part of the world as well. Piano and Night is Brian’s seventeenth album, and with this music, he seeks to connect with the relaxed mind on a deeper level. The album was recorded on Brian’s Steinway B grand piano and all eleven tracks are solo piano. All of the pieces are calm and soothing and the closing track is a poignant arrangement of the Charlie Chaplin classic, “Smile.”

Piano and Night begins with “Dreamsong,” a gently flowing bit of musical magic that feels like floating on a fluffy cloud. “Starry Night” casts a peaceful spell with its freely repeating left hand and simple, sincere melody. “Paper Lantern Sky” has the graceful sparkling quality of those fanciful lanterns as they float freely, lighting up the night sky. “Sleep Nocturne” is a soothing lullaby for sleepy people of any age. Slow, serene and very relaxed, it’s a beauty! “Moonlight Waltz” has an elegant simplicity that makes it all the more magical - a favorite. “Time Lapse” is a little different. With five beats to the measure, it feels just a little “off” (as it is supposed to!). That and the minor-key chord changes give the piece a slight edge that I really like - very haunting and mysterious! Starting off quietly and simply, “Forest of the Night” gradually picks up the tempo as it develops, maintaining its gentle demeanor as it gathers momentum, and tapering off at the end. “Dream of Wild Horses” is my favorite piece on the album. The hypnotic rolling chords on the left hand gently support the sparse and very mournful melody. Wild horses are often used as a symbol for freedom, and I hear this extremely emotional piece as a prayer for survival. “Lullaby Sonata” has more open space than musical notes and is about as ambient as you can get on the piano! Between that and the quiet “whoosh” of the damper pedal, this seems like it could be an instant cure for insomnia! As much as I’ve always loved the song “Smile,” I’ve always found it ironic that such a sad song has such a cheerful title. Brian seems to have unlocked that duality in his solo piano arrangement - a great finish to a beautiful album!

Piano and Night is available from www.BrianCrain.com, Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.
October 24, 2018
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