2016 / Piano Haven
Review by Kathy Parsons
Love’s Light is pianist/composer Joe Bongiorno’s tenth album (not counting compilations), and I think it’s his most beautiful work to date. With a theme of the many different forms of love and the people he has shared it with, the music overflows with warm contentment and a peaceful ease. Inspired at least in part by his recent marriage and the birth of his son, Bongiorno’s music has never sounded happier. The closing track is an orchestrated version of the title track, arranged by Doug Hammer and performed by The Dreamworld Symphony. The other twelve tracks are all solo piano, performed on Bongiorno’s magnificent Shigeru Kawai grand and engineered and mastered at his Piano Haven Recording Studio in Sedona, AZ.
Love’s Light begins with the solo piano version of the title tune. Blissful and completely at peace, I really think this is one of Bongiorno’s best pieces to date. (The orchestrated version also appeared on last year’s Synfonia.) Gently-flowing and dreamy, I love the contrast of the deep bass chords in the bridge. A great piece! “Call of the Canyon” tells of a different kind of love - a love for the outdoors and nature. Living in Sedona seems to inspire frequent hikes and a need to be in the vast openness and beauty of the place. I really love this piece, too. “Fly For Her” is a tender love song - pure, honest and deeply emotional. A gentle warmth runs through “Pure Spirit,” perfect in its directness and simplicity. “Genesis” is quite different from the other pieces in that it uses tremolo and rolling broken chords throughout rather than a straight melody line. (Tremolo is accomplished by rapidly repeating notes or chords on the piano, creating a shimmering effect when it’s done in the upper half of the piano.) More ambient than melodic, it’s a very effective technique. “Forever My Angel” has the sweetness of a lullaby for a small child or infant. “Giuseppe” is a wonderful love song for a very special little boy who came into the world less than a year ago and already lights up the world with his bright blue eyes and big smile - also a favorite track. Light-hearted and upbeat, “Just Meant to Be” is a few minutes of musical sunshine. As its title suggests, “By Candlelight” has the quiet intimacy of sharing an evening by the light of one or more candles, softening all of the edges of life and feeling like the only two people in the world. “Love’s Light” is the orchestrated reprise of the title track and brings this wonderful album to a serene close.
It’s been three years since Joe Bongiorno released an album of new material, but Love’s Light was well worth the wait! It is available from www.solopianomusic.com, Amazon, and iTunes. Very highly recommended!
October 31, 2016