All Through the Night
2019 / Optimistic Flamingo Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
All Through the Night is a collection of twelve relaxing piano solos composed, arranged and performed by Pam Asberry; it is Asberry’s fourth album to date. Although the album could easily be utilized to put small children and babies to sleep, this is warm and soothing music for any age group. I listened to the album a couple of times while driving a distance this week and had to glance at the speedometer more often because I kept driving under the speed limit! I think my blood pressure dropped at least ten points in those couple of hours behind the wheel - not something that happens very often!
Pam Asberry is a long-time piano performer and educator (among other things!) and has the playing chops to do whatever she wants at the keyboard, but her own compositions tend to be more simple (not overly flashy or embellished), emotionally direct, graceful and very melodic. The twelve tracks include four original compositions and eight of Asberry’s arrangements of classical and folk melodies - all very quiet and relaxing. The album was recorded at Piano Haven Studio in Sedona, Arizona on a Shigeru Kawai grand piano, and the piano sound is velvety-smooth.
All Through the Night begins with “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” a universally-known French melody that dates back to the 1700’s. Played mostly in the upper half of the piano keyboard, you can almost see the sparkle of the stars. “All Through the Night” also dates back to the 1700’s and is often heard at Christmas. Welsh in origin, the sweet melody is warm and cozy. “Siciliano” is one of my favorites from the Baroque era and is attributed to J.S. Bach. The second movement of the Sonata in Eb Major (BWV 1031) for flute or recorder and harpsichord, Asberry’s solo piano arrangement is gorgeous. Is there a lullaby anywhere that is better-known than Brahms’? It has been arranged for just about any solo instrument, voice and ensemble, and yet Asberry has freshened it up and made it her own. “All the Pretty Little Horses” is a traditional American lullaby with an unknown origin, thought to date back to the days of slavery. Slow and melancholy, Asberry’s arrangement is simple, straightforward and heartfelt. “Sleepy Tide” is an Asberry original that she describes as “a lullaby of ocean sounds.” In this case, the ocean is at its calmest and most hypnotic, easing the tension right out of you! “Bedtime Story,” also an original composition, is a gentle musical fairy tale and there is nothing scary about this one! “Evening Prayer” comes from the 19th century opera, Hansel and Gretel by Englebert Humperdinck, and occurs as the lost children remember to say their evening prayers before they fall asleep on the forest floor. “The Sandman” is a new one for me and comes from a German folk tune that Brahms arranged for the children of Robert and Clara Schumann. The peaceful rocking rhythm blends beautifully with the gentle flow of the melody. “Lullaby for Mackenzie” was composed in loving memory of Pam’s infant daughter who lived only a few days. Sad, yet overflowing with love and hope, it’s a wonderful memory that will now live forever. “Abiyoyo” is a Bantu lullaby based on a South African tale about a monster who eats naughty children - a surprisingly sweet and soothing piece! “Reverie,” another original, expresses the state of being lost in pleasant thoughts and brings this wonderful album to a blissful close.
Although Pam Asberry has been composing and recording for a relatively short period of time, she has produced an exceptional body of work! May those floodgates remain open! All Through the Night is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby as well as various streaming sites. Brava, Pam!
October 11, 2019