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Album Review: Through It All
Lisa Swerdlow
Cover image of the album Through It All by Lisa Swerdlow
Through It All
Lisa Swerdlow
2023 / Lisa Swerdlow
32 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
I need to begin this review by saying that Lisa Swerdlow has created an incredibly personal musical masterpiece with Through It All. The eight original tracks were composed as a loving tribute to Lisa's wife and life-partner of almost twenty-seven years, Lucie Tetrault, who passed away in March 2023 from a very rare and aggressive form of cancer. Some of the pieces were composed after Lucie's diagnosis and during her treatments, and others were composed after her passing, as Lisa adjusted to the changes in her life. The album was recorded at Piano Haven Studios in Sedona, AZ on Joe Bongiorno's impeccable Shigeru Kawai grand piano, and the sound quality is perfect. Although the music on this album was inspired by loss and grief, it was also inspired by a longtime loving relationship and a love that will never die. Sadness does run through much of the music, but so does hope, healing and acceptance.

Through It All begins with a solo piano version of "A Rhapsody Lives In You." This wonderful piece was released in September 2022 as a single for piano with orchestration by Doug Hammer. When I reviewed that single, I used this quote, which I feel says so much about the album as well as the piece:

"We all have a song that is uniquely ours that resonates out into the universe, and this unique song dwells in our hearts and energy field and comes through in our laughter and our tears. It gives us our connection to the cosmic universe. I was inspired to compose this piece when my wife of nearly 27 years became ill with a very rare and aggressive cancer. Whenever I'd hear her laugh I could hear her life force in music. It's the harmony of the cosmos that connects us all. We are a song!"

As much as I love the orchestrated version, I love this piano solo even more. "Song For Lucie" is very simple and gentle, yet expresses powerful emotion - I can't imagine anyone not being deeply moved by this incredible piece of music. The title track is reflective as it looks back on the highs and lows of a longterm relationship - and especially the love it was built on. "Till We Meet Again" is a graceful and tender promise to find each other again. Bittersweet yet full of hope, it touches very poignantly. I really hope that composing "Goodbye" was as healing for Lisa as it is and will be for so many others dealing with similar losses. The emotions are so personal and yet universal - a piece that could become a true classic in piano literature. "Finding My Way" poignantly expresses the adjustments that come from a tragic loss and the bewilderment of trying to rebuild a life alone. Most of us experience something similar at some point in our lives, but it's different for everyone. Lisa's powerful expression of her own experience is deeply personal yet communicates freely through her music. "November Moon" seems to express feelings of calm and peace - perhaps a moonlit walk or maybe time spent watching an especially beautiful moonrise on a fall evening - gorgeous! The album comes to a close with "Spring Equinox - Persephone Returns," another stirring, hope-filled piece of music that expresses (to me) the sense of moving forward when the clouds of sorrow have started to part and a sense of direction begins to return. Wow! What an amazing album!

Again, Through It All is a musical masterpiece. It is available from Lisa's website as well as Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp and others. I give it my highest recommendation.
August 13, 2023