Love Themes For Solo Piano
2019 / Daniel Chadburn
Review by Kathy Parsons
Love Themes For Solo Piano is the ninth solo piano album from Dan Chadburn, and although I think I’ve said this with each of Dan’s releases, this could be his best album yet. I was fortunate to be able to see and hear Dan perform several of the pieces from the album when he did a house concert here in August (a fund-raiser for our local Humane Society), so I knew the album was going to be something very special - and it is! I have been reviewing Dan’s music since his 1998 debut, Solo Piano, and he continues to be one of my favorite pianist/composers. His music is always eloquent, spiritual and deeply emotional, expressing what’s in his heart in a way that is easy to “get” yet reveals more of itself each time you listen. The title, Love Themes For Solo Piano, suggests romantic music like that often found in movie soundtracks, and there are pieces that are romantic in scope, but the themes reflect a variety of kinds of love that include family, friends, pets and places. The album is dedicated to Dan’s husband and musical partner, Tom Nichols.
The thirteen tracks on Love Themes For Solo Piano were created in a variety of ways. Six were improvised in the studio, four were born as improvisations and were then transcribed into sheet music and “learned” before going to the studio, and three were composed using a pencil and paper before the recording sessions. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered at Piano Haven Studio in Sedona, AZ, and I don’t think Joe Bongiorno’s Shigeru Kawai piano has ever sounded better.
All of the pieces on the album are special in their own way, but I’ll tell you about a few. The opening track, “Starlit Waltz,” is one of the pieces created spontaneously in the studio. Warm, graceful and overflowing with tenderness, it’s a wonderful beginning. The delicate and almost fragile “Gentle Touch” is one of those pieces you hope will never end. “Stillness” is so peaceful that I think my blood pressure dropped about ten points. It feels like those perfect moments when everything seems calm and relaxed, whether it’s being outside when there is no wind, snuggled under a cozy quilt, or just feeling very serene within. “Newborn Joy” was created in my living room during a house concert about ten minutes after the birth of Dan’s and Tom’s great nephew was born. Delicate yet joyful, it is truly a celebration of a family event! “Timeless” has an interesting story. The first of two parts was composed on 3/21/98. The second section was composed on 3/21/17, but Dan didn’t know that until he saw the dates on the transcription. Passionate and very beautiful, it’s a favorite. “Stars Above Sedona” is tranquility set to music. “Unconditional” was inspired while watching Molly, Dan and Tom’s dog, sleeping on the couch. Relaxed and utterly peaceful, it beautifully expresses that special love we feel for our pets. “Grateful” was also created during a house concert here and feels like a warm, lingering hug. The closing track, “Shalom,” is an improvisation created in memory of Dan’s mother, who passed away earlier this year - a loving tribute to a woman who gave so much and a lovely close to a truly great album!
Love Themes For Solo Piano is definitely a Favorite Album of 2019 and is available from Amazon, iTunes/Apple Music, CD Baby and many streaming sites.
October 29, 2019