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Album Review: Angel Above My Piano
Fiona Joy Hawkins
Cover image of the album Angel Above My Piano by Fiona Joy Hawkins
Angel Above My Piano
Fiona Joy Hawkins
2006 / Little Hartley Music
55 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Angel Above My Piano is Australian pianist Fiona Joy Hawkins’ follow-up to her 2005 chart-topping “Portrait of a Waterfall,” a finalist for the “best piano album” in the New Age Reporter’s 2005 Lifestyle Music Awards. Inspired by a cruise to Antarctica, love, and a drawing of an angel, the music is very visual and evocative. Hawkins is a visual artist as well as a composer/pianist, and her music is as colorful as her paintings. Most of the thirteen tracks are lightly orchestrated with keyboards, guitar, strings, and flute, creating a lovely, tranquil mood and “music to dream to.”

The CD opens with Antarctic Interludes, a group of three pieces inspired by an expedition cruise on the Orion. Both majestic and fragile, the music brings the wilderness and wildlife of the area to life. “Crystal Desert” utilizes minimal sound effects to enhance the feeling of a frozen wind and the stark, sparkling whiteness of the landscape. “Dance of the Penguins” has a constantly shifting rhythm that suggests a lack of grace and a playful demeanor - totally charming! “Flight of the Albatross” is one of my favorites. It describes the graceful flight of a bird gliding across the tips of the waves outside her window. Utterly peaceful and carefree, and utterly beautiful. The title track was inspired by a charcoal drawing that was done by a friend who was diagnosed with cancer. The drawing is of an angel that came to him in a dream, “who looks like someone you know but no-one you have ever met.” Opus for Love is a three-movement work created from the emotion Hawkins felt when her grandmother died. “Love In Winter” is about the journey that spans the winter of life. Poignant and reflective, it’s a very effective piece. “Love Forever” brings in graceful strings to convey the sadness of losing someone dear. “Love In Spring” is very interesting because the piano part is mostly sprightly and joyful while the strings are sad, demonstrating the mix of emotions that take over at a loved-ones passing. “Thinking of You (Australian Lullaby)” pairs a song composed by Hawkins’ father, Garry Heaney, with a melody she wrote about lost love, creating a tender and beautiful lullaby. The closing track is a reprise of “Love Forever” as a piano solo - a sweet farewell.

Angel Above My Piano is available from fionajoy.com, cdbaby.com, and amazon.com.
December 11, 2006
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