Mirjam van den Bos
2017 / Mirjam van den Bos
Review by Kathy Parsons
Firemark is the debut album from Dutch pianist/composer Mirjam van den Bos. A classically-trained pianist, she completed her studies in Musicology, Ecology and Computer Science. At the University of Amsterdam, she also followed the course “Music, Thought, and Feeling: Understanding the Psychology of Music.” The album contains eleven original piano solos and was recorded on a Fazioli grand piano. The music expresses a variety of moods, activities and landscapes, embellished with a masterful touch and occasional pianistic fireworks. It is a beautiful introduction to a very promising new artist!
Firemark begins with the title track, my favorite piece on the album. The rolling left hand provides a strong supporting rhythm for the simple but heartfelt melody. Melancholy and poignant, I love playing pieces like this because they transport me to a whole different realm. “Blossom On the Rocks” is much lighter and dreamier, and Mirjam’s trills in the upper registers of the piano make me think of butterflies and hummingbirds. “Haunting Memories” is another favorite with its swirling energy and dramatic intensity - another fun one to play, I’m sure! “Sailing Out” expresses the peaceful feeling of gliding smoothly on the water in a sailboat, watching sunlight dancing on the surface of the water. “Echo” begins very quietly, gradually building and becoming a fast waltz that dances freely all over the piano keyboard - another favorite. “Still On My Mind” seems to express regret, loss, and deep soul-searching in the first half of the piece. The mood brightens in the middle, and then returns to the more pensive mood of the first part. “Cafe au Lait” has a subdued, introspective feeling that comes from deep inside - very honest and sincere. The last piece on the album is called “Loyalty,” a quality that doesn't seem to be the subject of many musical compositions. This piece is strong, graceful and very open and then builds to a powerful closing that includes wordless vocals.
Firemark is a very impressive debut and clearly demonstrates the versatility of Mirjam van den Bos’ composing as well as the beauty of her piano playing. I see a very bright career ahead for her! The album is available from Amazon and iTunes. Highly recommended!
June 2, 2017