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Album Review: Emerge
Kirsten Liana
Cover image of the album Emerge by Kirsten Liana
Kirsten Liana
2020 / KLS Music, Inc.
42 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Emerge is the very impressive debut album from pianist/composer Kirsten Liana. The eleven original piano solos were recorded at Piano Haven in Sedona, AZ and the combination of Joe Bongiorno’s impeccable Shigeru Kawai concert grand and Kirsten’s soulful, velvet touch on the piano keys creates a wonderful kind of piano magic. The album is a collection of pieces Kirsten has composed over the span of her adult life, and each piece tells a story that reflects on a different time and place on her journey. Overall, the music is gentle yet very expressive - soothing and melodic, but complex enough to reveal new things each time you listen.

Kirsten started studying the piano at the age of seven and began composing a year or so later. When she moved to Southwest Florida sometime after college, she started her own piano studio and has taught there for the past twenty years. She has composed music throughout her life, but didn’t share her music beyond close friends and family. That changed when Kirsten was asked to compose music to accompany poetry readings and people asked her after performances if she had any recordings to sell. “I have always turned to music and composition as a creative outlet and means of expression. Only recently have I found the courage to share my music with others. Something has finally shifted and now it feels essential that I share my musical journey in order to feel complete in my life and within myself.” Lucky us!

Emerge begins with “We Are One,” a beautiful piece that begins quietly and becomes more passionate as it evolves. For me, the piece is more of an entreaty to come together rather than a statement of unity - so important on many fronts at this time and a lovely way to start! “Lullaby Waltz” expresses heartfelt love and tenderness. It begins at the upper end of the piano and works its way into the mid-range, often returning to the higher octaves of the piano, expressing sweetness and innocence. The title track is reflective, graceful and somewhat mysterious - a compelling combination! As its title suggests, “Butterfly’s Sojourn” is very light and free, drifting on the breezes and gliding in the sunlight. “Awakening to Love” expresses the warmth and soul-stirring of new love. Deep emotions run through the piece and make it one of my favorites. “Los Dorados (The Golden Ones)” is quite different from the other tracks in that it is dark, mysterious and has a distinctive Latino rhythm. “Once Upon a Time” tells a magical story of grace and beauty - one that might include a beautiful princess and a handsome prince - and even a frog or two. Love it and the happy innocence it conveys. “Shimmering Tears” seems to come from a much more fragile place and is another favorite. “Love’s Hope” is as passionately uplifting as it is beautiful, and comes from a place deep within - a perfect closing to a wonderful debut album!

Emerge is available from Amazon, iTunes/Apple Music and many streaming sites. Don’t miss it!
March 20, 2020
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Debut AlbumsKathy's Picks