Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: Divine Passage
Marshall Barnhouse
Cover image of the album Divine Passage by Marshall Barnhouse
Divine Passage
Marshall Barnhouse
2019 / Marshall Barnhouse
57 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Divine Passage is the third album from pianist/composer Marshall Barnhouse and is a reflection on the beginning of his own life through his eventual departure. “These pieces are mostly based on experiences on my journey and each hold a special place in my heart.” The thirteen original pieces are varied, expressing different “passages” in life that most of us experience at one time or another. A retired public school music teacher, Barnhouse holds a Masters of Arts in Piano Performance from Marshall University. He has composed music for piano, band, choir, handbells and orchestra. He was awarded “Best New Artist” at the 2017 Enlightened Piano Radio Awards and was nominated for “Best Christian Album” in 2016 by SoloPiano.com and for “Best Solo Album” by EPR in 2019. Barnhouse became his church’s pianist at the age of ten, so music has been a driving force in his life from a very young age and it shows in his mastery of the instrument as well as in the amazing expressive quality of his music. The album was recorded at Piano Haven Studio in Sedona, AZ on Joe Bongiorno’s wonderful Shigeru Kawai SK7L piano.

My favorite piece on the album is the last one, “What We Leave Behind,” a piece that grabbed me the first time I heard it and hasn’t let go. Extraordinary in its beauty and emotional depth, it brings to mind some of Chopin’s most evocative music. Although it is very sad, it is so much more than that. I really hope the sheet music will become available at some time! The album begins with the title track, a piece that is both mysterious and full of promise. More ambient than melodic, it suggests feelings of wonder and the miracle of a new life that enters the world at a “divinely appointed time.” Life is, indeed, a journey, and “The Traveler” encounters many lessons and experiences along the way, hopefully growing and learning from each one - my interpretation of the piece that bears that name. Who doesn’t remember their “First Love”? This gentle piece beautifully expresses the tender sweetness of that first experience as well as the memories that linger throughout our lives - another favorite. “A New Beginning” has a lighthearted spirit that is refreshing in its warmth and promise. “All Joy” feels like a swirling, effusive happy dance - a real day brightener! Reflective and dreamy, “As Time Goes By” seems to be looking back with a mix of emotions that feel very real. Light with a fluid motion, “Was It a Dream?” has a slightly-otherworldly feeling, as dreams often do - another favorite. I also love “By the River,” an utterly peaceful bit of musical tranquility that suggests the easy movement of water as light dances on its surface. Soothing comfort and warmth flow from each note of “Home Again,” reassuring that we are in the place where we truly belong.

Divine Passage is a very special album that will likely bring Marshall Barnhouse more awards and nominations! It is available from www.MarshallBarnhouse.com, Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby and many streaming sites. Don’t miss it!
February 7, 2020
This review has been tagged as:
Kathy's Picks
More reviews of Marshall Barnhouse albums