Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: Whispers the Falling Snow
Dan Chadburn
Cover image of the album Whispers the Falling Snow by Dan Chadburn
Whispers the Falling Snow
Dan Chadburn
2013 / Daniel Chadburn
41 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Whispers the Falling Snow is an outstanding collection of seven solo piano improvisations on traditional holiday carols and three original compositions by pianist/composer Dan Chadburn. Dedicated to the memory of Chadburn’s piano teachers, the music is soothing yet substantial, accessible yet very worthy of many listens, and just plain beautiful! I’ve loved Dan’s music since I first heard it in 1998 and am excited that he has released two new albums in two years after a long hiatus from recording. Chadburn’s improvised carols are all very recognizable with freely improvised passages that really enhance these beloved but well-worn songs. Making them sound fresh and new is a challenge, and Chadburn succeeds beautifully!

Whispers the Falling Snow begins with “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” one of the oldest Christmas carols. Arrangements of this song can vary from pitch black to rather light and jazzy, but this one falls somewhere in the middle with a very graceful treatment of the melody and a beautifully-flowing accompaniment. Gorgeous! I don’t remember hearing “Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella” much as a kid, but it has become a very popular instrumental piece with its gentle melody and sweet sentiment. Chadburn brings out the best of both while adding his original touches. “Returning Home” is the first of the three original pieces. Light and a little bit wistful, there is reflection as well as anticipation expressed in the music - love it! Chadburn gives “Silent Night” a new sound by changing it to a haunting minor key for the first half and then coming back to the more familiar major mode for the second half - so peaceful that you can easily imagine the silence of falling snow glistening in the moonlight. “What Child Is This” is another very old song renewed with Chadburn’s piano magic. Delicate yet powerful, this is a favorite! “Winter Waltz” is the second original piece. A light and swirling dance with feelings of romance in the air, it’s another beauty! “Away in a Manger” was my favorite Christmas song as a child, so it has a very special place in my heart. Chadburn applies just the right amount of sweetness and innocence to this tender lullaby - love it! The third original piece is the title track and closes this wonderful CD with a perfect antidote to the hustle of the holiday rush. Chadburn has obviously spent a lot of time watching the snow fall, capturing its silent magic and profound peace with his ten fingers and the piano.

Whispers the Falling Snow is one of my favorite Christmas albums this year, and there have been some excellent releases so far! It is available from www.danchadburn.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
November 26, 2013
This review has been tagged as:
Holiday Albums
More reviews of Dan Chadburn albums