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Album Review: Winterlüde
David Arkenstone
Cover image of the album Winterlüde by David Arkenstone
David Arkenstone
2023 / QDV Music
41 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
A new release from David Arkenstone is always an event, and Winterlüde is no exception. The ten original compositions are a celebration of the season of winter (rather than a holiday album) and features Carlyn Kessler on cello. While the overall feeling of the album is one of peaceful quiet, the music is varied in both mood and instrumentation. Some tracks are very spare and ambient and some are more orchestrated and melodic. It's a beautiful album for any time of year, but is especially well-suited for the winter months. Quoting David Arkenstone:

"With this recording I set out to capture the feelings I get when winter comes around. It's an idealized winter to be sure, but I wanted to illustrate some of the moods that come over me during this unique time. It seems the earth is more quiet and there's more time for reflection and contemplation. The songs are like little chapters in a book, with each sound painting embodying a characteristic or mood that is meaningful to me during this magical season."

David Arkenstone released his first album, Valley in the Clouds, in 1987, has been nominated for Grammy awards five times, and has well over a hundred album credits as a solo artist as well as in collaborative projects and compilations.

Winterlüde begins with "Warm Lights Flicker Across the Lake," a quiet piece that shimmers like lights dancing on the surface of still water. Beautifully orchestrated with strings, flutes, bells and chimes, it's a great opener and sets the tone of the album. "The Icy Brook Finds Its Way" picks up the tempo some, but is still very peaceful. Performed with keyboard, cello, acoustic guitar and background strings, it's a favorite! Keyboard and cello interact gracefully as they paint a picture of the softness and gentleness of falling snow - a magical picture, for sure! "The World Sleeps" is one of the more ambient tracks, expressing stillness and a blissful sense of peace. Who hasn't watched the sky darken and wondered what was coming next? "Darkening Skies" is slightly ominous but also expresses a sense of adventure - big storms can be very exciting! One of the more symphonic pieces, I really like this one, too! "The Return of Jack Frost" is very chill - in the original sense of the word - and brings images of dazzling icy whiteness. There is a special kind of silence that comes with falling snow, and "Surrounded By Silence" expresses that profound quiet with keyboard, cello, strings and choral voices. "Whispers of the Winter Wind," an ambient orchestral and choral piece, brings the album to a gentle but chilly close. Now that I think about it, this album would be great with a mug of hot chocolate or mulled wine! it's a beauty!

Winterlüde is available as a CD and on vinyl from David Arkenstone's website. On Amazon, it is available as a CD, on vinyl and as a download. It can be streamed or downloaded from Apple Music/iTunes, and is also available to stream on the many streaming platforms. Highly recommended!
December 5, 2023
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