Josefine Opsahl and Trine Opsahl
2015 / Heart to Heart Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
Unbroken Dreams is the second release from the Danish duo, Celtic harpist Trine Opsahl and her cellist daughter, Josefine Opsahl. Hmmm - harp and cello? Sounds pretty mellow and relaxing, doesn’t it? It is, but the music is also complex enough to invite repeated listens while allowing your soul to be bathed in the warm, soothing qualities of the music. All thirteen pieces on the album are original compositions with strong classical influences, sometimes incorporating folk and new age stylings as well. The crisp, sparkling sound of the plucked harp strings is an amazingly effective pairing with the velvety-smooth bowed strings of the cello.
It is interesting to note that Trine Opsahl’s favorite work is time spent playing at the bedside of hospice patients in the Copenhagen area to facilitate peaceful transitions. She actively promotes the idea of harp therapy in palliative care and music therapy within Denmark’s health care system while playing to patients in hospitals, hospices and rest homes. I can easily see how this music could be healing at a very profound level as well as helping to ease away the stresses of daily life.
Josefine began improvising on the cello when she was 12 and is currently finishing her Masters Degree. She is a sought-after classical cellist, but is also attracted to contemporary classical music, avant-garde forms of expression, and the use of electronics and improvisation.
Many of the titles of the pieces have a nature theme and are quite descriptive of the music as well. “A Star in Heaven is Born Tonight” contrasts the dark cello (sky) and the bright, twinkling harp (stars) - peaceful with a quiet energy that soothes. “Dawn/The Light Dances My Love” is a bit more ambient and experimental, but captures perfectly the soft colors and promise of a new day. “A Fairytale” hints of a magical place where dreams come true. The cello provides the narrative of the story while the harp sprinkles fairy dust. I LOVE “Diving Into an Ocean of Love,” my favorite piece in the collection. The earthy yet passionate cello pours out a poignant and heartfelt melody as the harp provides a flowing background - gorgeous! “I Am Your Moon and Your Moonlight Too” is another exceptional beauty - quiet but very powerful. “Somewhere In a Hidden Memory” is the title track from Trine’s previous solo album, this time a soulful duet. The lovely “Rosebed Garden” somehow casts the same kind of intoxicating spell as being in the midst of a rose garden, drinking in the beauty of the colors as well as the aroma of the blossoms. I can almost smell the roses now! The closing “Ladybirds and Butterflies” has a gentle melody that seems to be telling a story, much like a folk ballad, ending the album with a contented sigh.
Unbroken Dreams is a beautiful masterpiece for the music alone. Relaxation, healing, and stress relief are bonuses for listeners. This music is perfect for so many situations, but be sure to really listen to it to hear the full yet subtle impact of the music. It is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
February 13, 2016