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Album Review: A Delicate Balance
Lisa Downing
Cover image of the album A Delicate Balance by Lisa Downing
A Delicate Balance
Lisa Downing
2009 / Vision Quest Entertainment
41 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
A Delicate Balance is the third solo piano release from Colorado pianist/composer Lisa Downing, and what a gem it is! A longtime piano teacher with an impressive training of her own, Downing brings a flawless technique to her playing that allows her to express whatever she chooses in her music. The twelve original pieces on this album are truly slices of her life, told with passion and grace through the language of the piano. Downing also explains the inspiration for each piece in the liner notes, offering insight and a very personal touch. I’m reminded of the wonderful musical storytelling of favorite artists like Robin Spielberg, David Lanz, and Spencer Brewer. I expect that A Delicate Balance will be one of my favorite albums of 2010.

“The Gift” is the opening piece, and is a composition that came to Downing all at once during a tumultuous time in her life. A graceful energy flows through the piece that is both thoughtful and life-affirming. The sweet and dreamy “The Bedtime Song” refers to a time when Downing and her young son made up original songs together at bedtime each night. This melody was a favorite, conveying love and innocence. “Make Believe” is one of my favorites. Composed while watching her son building things with his Legos and creating a fantasy world with his teddy bears, the piece is playful yet intense and slightly mysterious, winding down at the end like a music box. “Lost” goes to the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, expressing the emotions felt when her beloved teenage son ran away from home for three weeks. The piece ends with a major chord, indicating that story has a happy ending. “Indecision” expresses the frustration and confusion of trying to make life choices and decisions - an amazing portrait of those troubling feelings. “A Diaphanous Breeze” is another favorite. Inspired by a thick haze of cottonwood seeds drifting on the wind, the piece is dreamy, sensuous, and gorgeous. “Night Games” emerged while watching a group of neighbor kids playing in the cul-de-sac under the glow of a street lamp. Energetic and full of fun, it’s a delight! “Speaker/Listener” refers to a powerful tool for developing intimacy, where one person speaks his or her truth and then the listener speaks what he or she has heard. The piece elegantly conveys the message of several unique voices reaching out to each other.

A Delicate Balance is an incredible musical experience that shouldn’t be missed! It is available from LisaDowning.com, Amazon, CD Baby, and iTunes. Very highly recommended!
March 3, 2010
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Kathy's Favorites: 2010