2022 / Key Image Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Reminiscent is the nineteenth full-length album from pianist/composer Christine Brown, an artist whose music I've loved since her debut album, Winter Tapestry (1997). Christine's graceful, elegant touch on the piano keyboard always comes straight from the heart whether she is playing her own compositions or her arrangements and medleys of popular and classical music. Reminiscent is a collection of ten original piano solos that reflect on the past few years and emerging from the pandemic. Quoting Christine: "I tried to create some simple, melodic phrases that might be memorable, hoping the music would offer a soothing escape. .... The intention was to set a peaceful, healing tone, with the comfort of memories." To my ears, Christine did that amazingly well!
Reminiscent begins with "Dance With Me," a slow, melancholy waltz that expresses feelings of isolation and longing to be with loved ones. It's an amazing opener that lets you know right away that this album is something very special! The title track tells "the story of the many emotions experienced, reflecting on memories that remind us of our past." The music is fluid and moves at its own pace, much like the emotions and memories it reflects on. "Wind on the Water" does an incredible job of capturing the invigorating feeling of a chilly wind blowing in from the ocean or a large lake. For me, it also expresses the unbridled freedom of the wind itself. "Amidst a Dream" beautifully describes the fluidity of a dream as well as being in that place where you can't tell the difference between dreaming and reality. "Between" goes somewhat darker and more poignant, perhaps expressing frustration and loss at the restrictions that kept us away from friends and family. I think all of us wondered at some time during the lockdowns whether we'd ever get back to "normal," and "Yesterday's Song" does a lovely job of expressing those thoughts and emotions. Christine uses the idea of a "Voyage" to represent moving forward, and you can really feel the movement in the music. It isn't a big, bold surge ahead, but moving slowly and steadily with determination and hope. "Glimmer" begins in the upper octaves of the piano - much like the flickering of a candle - with hope almost out of reach. The piece gradually moves down to the "normal" range of the piano keyboard and I hear that as hope becoming more tangible again. As its title suggests, "Adore" is a love song that expresses longing and the strong desire to be together again - gorgeous and deeply emotional. "Moonrise" sparkles like the hope of a new day and brings this outstanding album to a peaceful close.
I have loved all of Christine Brown's music, but she has really outdone herself with Reminiscent. Christine tells me that sheet music is in the works, and I'll be reviewing that, too, as soon as it's available. Reminiscent is available as a CD or download from Christine's website. It is also available from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and many streaming sites including Spotify. Very highly recommended!
February 25, 2023