Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: Dreaming
David Isaac and Raymond T. Ryder
Cover image of the album Dreaming by David Isaac and Raymond T. Ryder
David Isaac and Raymond T. Ryder
2010 / David Isaac
39 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Dreaming is the debut solo piano release by David Isaac (composer) and Raymond T. Ryder (pianist). Combining modern classical and new age stylings, Isaac has created a distinctive sound that is both accessible and very sophisticated. The fifteen tracks on Dreaming were inspired by “timeless poetry” that is intended to be read before the live performance of each piece or by the listener while savoring the music (the poems are included in the liner notes). David Isaac composes music for all instrument combinations in the classical music world; he also writes music for film and for large orchestra. Raymond T. Ryder earned his doctorate in piano at the University of Arizona and has a teaching studio in Tucson, AZ; he is also a member of the American Guild of Organists. His pianistic work on Dreaming is passionate, eloquent, and flawless. While some of the music on Dreaming is somewhat more cerebral than a lot of the music I review, it has a warmth and depth of emotion that is absent in many “modern classical” works.

The album begins with Song of Songs, a group of three pieces that are longer and more developed than the 12 Preludes that follow. The first piece, “A Glance of Your Eyes,” is a deeply-felt love song that expresses its message with grace and tenderness. “Discovery” is a more complex tapestry of several themes woven together into a radiant whole. Some of those themes are slower and more melodic while others sparkle and dance with excitement. “Delicate Moments” is an exquisite work that clocks in at just under ten minutes. As the title suggests, the music is understated, but it also conveys powerful emotions that simmer just below the surface.

Dreaming: 12 Preludes is a group of much shorter pieces that express a range of emotions and experiences. The first prelude is “Skylark,” an effervescent piece that dances all over the piano while expressing joy and complete freedom. “Memory and Me” is one of my favorites. Almost mournful, it gently tells the story of lost love and feelings of emptiness. “Moonbeam” has a minimum of notes and many open spaces between them, describing the magic light of the moon. “Sleeping Swans” is a perfect impression expressed in less than a minute. I also really like the delicate loveliness of “The Faint First Star,” and the Chopinesque “Hope.” “Autumn Leaves” is mysterious and melancholy. “Dreaming” concludes this excellent album very gently and gracefully.

Dreaming is a remarkable debut that leaves me looking forward to more music by David Isaac. It is available from davidimusic.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Bravo!
August 2, 2010
This review has been tagged as:
Debut Albums