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Album Review: The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy
Darlene Koldenhoven
Cover image of the album The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy by Darlene Koldenhoven
The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy
Darlene Koldenhoven
2021 / TimeArt Recordings
45 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy is the follow-up to Darlene Koldenhoven's 2021 solo piano debut, The Grand Piano Spa, and her eleventh album to date. The ten original piano solos are warm, soothing and optimistic, bringing messages of hope and healing. Themes of nature, love, and beauty flow from Darlene's heart to her fingers on the piano keys, communicating directly to our own hearts and imaginations with peaceful images and gentle sounds. This music is even better than a massage!

With three Grammy nominations and one win (to name but a few of her many awards), Darlene Koldenhoven has perhaps been best-known for her soaring vocals with Yanni on his "Live At the Acropolis" concert tour and best-selling video of the same name as well as her role as a singing nun in the two Sister Act movies. I wouldn't be at all surprised if her vocal and multi-instrumental artistry is soon eclipsed by the grace and expressive quality of her solo piano performances and recordings. Both Grand Piano Spa albums are stellar! Fellow pianists will enjoy knowing that sheet music for all ten of the piano solos on the Legacy recording will also be available on the album's release date.

The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy begins with "Radiance," a joyfully exuberant opener that sets the tone for what's to come. Dreamier and more calming, "Lucidity" moves at the easy pace of clouds or fog rolling across the sky, enjoying the journey and in no hurry to get anywhere. "Migration" is one of my favorites with its gentle energy and graceful flow. "Sweet Conversations" beautifully expresses the warm glow of shared emotions and experiences that lift us up in the best as well as the toughest of times. "Glaciers" is a really interesting and effective piece. Moving very, very slowly, the echo/reverb makes it sound icy cold and isolated. (The sheet music is only two pages, and the piece is almost five minutes, so that gives you an idea of how slow the tempo is.) My other favorite track on the album is the graceful "Black Swan." Images of these big, elegant birds floating on water - moving freely and in no particular hurry - soothe the soul. Like a puffy cloud on a bright blue sky, "Cumulus" moves gently and peacefully, capturing the imagination and creating a blissful daydream. The closing track, "Ancient Forest," carries an air of majesty and wisdom as well as grace and a stately beauty - a gorgeous ending to an excellent album!

The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy will be released on October 22, 2021. Pre-release orders will begin on August 22, 2021 on Amazon and Apple/iTunes. There is also a $5 special on CDs available only at darlenekoldenhoven.bandcamp.com (limit 4 per customer). Links will be added as they become available. Don't miss it!!!
August 23, 2021
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