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Album Review: Solitary Treasures
Darlene Koldenhoven
Cover image of the album Solitary Treasures by Darlene Koldenhoven
Solitary Treasures
Darlene Koldenhoven
2011 / TimeArt Recordings
46 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Solitary Treasures is a very eclectic collection of eleven vocals and one instrumental piece from such diverse musical genres as opera, classical crossover, pop, traditional folk, and world. Darlene Koldenhoven’s five-octave vocal range is astounding, as is her versatility. She is a Grammy Award winner and has received three other nominations. In addition to singing on this album, Koldenhoven did the arrangements and orchestrations, composed two of the songs, played keyboards and piano, produced the recording, and also sang some of the back-up vocals. Her resume is all over the map - literally and figuratively. In addition to performing and composing, Koldenhoven has created a comprehensive music education book with seven instructional CDs to train the mind’s “musical ear” and teach people how to sing, entitled Tune Your Voice. She was also one of the two singers in Yanni’s Live From the Acropolis video performing his exhilarating “Aria.” While I truly appreciate Koldenhoven’s goal of demonstrating to her audience that classical and pop music can “live together and thrive,” for my ears, it’s a dizzying mix. But that’s just me, and I have a tremendous respect for artists of this calibre who seek to introduce all kinds of music to their listeners.

The first of the “Solitary Treasures” is “Nessun Dorma” from the opera Turandot. Usually performed by a tenor voice, this is the song that brought Paul Potts international recognition on Britain’s Got Talent a few years ago. Koldenhoven sings it an octave higher than the tenor range to suit her own voice, and creates goose bumps with her passionate performance. Koldenhoven plays an excerpt from “Clair De Lune” as an intro to “Bella’s Lullaby” from Twilight. In this song, she performs vocalise (without lyrics) over a lovely piano and orchestration accompaniment. From those more formal classical pieces, the album goes to Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose.” It’s fascinating how Koldenhoven changes her voice to suit a pop style of music. That style carries into “All I Am,” a deeply emotional love ballad that I really like. “A Celtic American Treasury” is a medley of “Down By the Salley Gardens,” “Shenandoah,” and “The Water Is Wide,” sung with sweet, clear innocence. “Lucid See” is a beautiful original instrumental track that has Koldenhoven performing on piano with glittering keyboard and guitar accompaniment. “Remember Me,” the second original song, is a stirring tribute to heroes and includes powerful guitar playing by Mike Miller in addition to the vocals. The closing song is the popular “The Prayer” by David Foster and Carol Bayer-Sager, and Koldenhoven’s version is lovely.

Solitary Treasures is available from darlenekoldenhoven.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. If you are a fan of fine vocal music, be sure to check it out!
February 7, 2012
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