Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: Sienna
Brian Crain
Cover image of the album Sienna by Brian Crain
Brian Crain
2003 / Crain Records
45 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Brian Crain’s latest release, Sienna, is his most beautiful and impressive album yet. Named for and dedicated to his daughter, Reagan Sienna Crain, the music is flowing, melodic piano with synth accompaniment. Inspired by the simple things in life, Crain also found inspiration for this new music during a recent trip to Italy. He sought to capture the simple warmth and beauty of that country, and did a very elegant job of it. The melodies themselves are not complicated, but the strength of the emotion and sincerity in the music communicates so well, taking the listener to a peaceful place for renewal and spiritual refreshment. All of the tracks on Sienna are quiet and introspective, giving a consistent mood for background music, but each selection is individual enough to keep the active listener engaged and intrigued. This would be a wonderful album to go to sleep to, but I cannot recommend it for a wake-up alarm - you’ll never make it!

“Song for Sienna” opens the CD with a lovely little waltz full of contentment and innocence. Starting as a simple piano melody, the piece evolves with each repeat until it becomes fully orchestrated. There are shades of some of Yanni’s piano pieces here, but I mention that only for reference. “Lavender Hills” is gentle and delicate - mostly piano and synth strings. Normally, synth strings drive me up the wall, but they don’t on Crain’s recordings. I don’t know if it’s his technique or his equipment, but they add a subtle warmth to Crain’s music that is very agreeable. “Crimson Sky” is a beauty with an arpeggiated left hand and a bittersweet melody in the right. Very visual and evocative, this would easily lend itself to a movie soundtrack. “Eclipse of the Moon” is my favorite track. It is very gentle with a rolling left hand and a melody that is profound in its simplicity. The orchestration adds power, but never detracts from the gentleness of the theme. I have to get the sheet music for this one! “Midnight Blue” is an introspective piece that could be a late-night soliloquy - a bit somber and questioning. “Tears in the Fountain” seems inspired by a Chopin Prelude with its deep sadness and and uncluttered lines. There isn’t a weak track on this CD. The pieces are at once very polished and yet seem spontaneous in their openness and honesty.

Sienna is currently available only from www.briancrain.com. Samples are also available on his site, as are free sheet music downloads. Very highly recommended!
January 1, 2003
More reviews of Brian Crain albums