2022 / Rada Neal
Review by Kathy Parsons
10th Transcendence is the eleventh album from pianist/composer Rada Neal and consists of twelve original piano solos performed with grace and soulful expression on Joe Bongiorno's amazing Shigeru Kawai grand piano. Joe engineered and mastered the album at Piano Haven Studio in Sedona, AZ - always a guarantee of the best piano sound possible! A graduate of The School of Music at Indiana University, Rada has been playing the piano since childhood. Her music is lyrical, often elegant, and always heartfelt. I think the quote in the liner notes of the album from the legendary dancer, Martha Graham (1894-1991), describes the inspiration for the music well:
"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open."
10th Transcendence begins with "Beautiful Old Rhyme," which was released as a single earlier this year. Sweetly romantic and nostalgic, it's a lovely start! The gracefully expressive "Scattered Time" feels a bit like a happy daydream - relaxed and moving at its own pace. A poignant and sentimental waltz, "Long Ago" is a favorite. I can almost see a couple dancing in the moonlight, blissfully lost in their own music. The sweet and innocent "Music Box" was composed for Rada's grand-niece who was born earlier this year. What a lovely gift this little girl can treasure for her whole life! "Woodland Paths" beautifully describes the peace and wonder that being in nature can bring, soothing the soul and making the world right again - at least for a while! Inspired by a piece by Erik Satie, "Central Park Stroll" has the easy, unhurried tempo of a leisurely walk in the park, enjoying the sights and sounds all around. "Breeze at Dawn" was also released as a single earlier this year and is gently refreshing - much like its namesake. I love "Lasting Impressions" with its fluid, expressive flow and bittersweet melody lines - also a favorite. "Song of Thanksgiving" feels very hymn-like to me although Rada says she thinks she was imagining a theme for a western! You can decide for yourself! Either way, it's a beautiful piece! "Unspoken" is another wonderful minor-key waltz - a style I really love in both classical and contemporary music. The melancholy emotions in the music and the feeling of gracefully moving through time really grab me. Rada composed "Everlasting Love" for a grand-nephew who wasn't yet born. Warmth and tenderness flow throughout this special piece and could serve as gentle lullaby - always!
10th Transcendence is available from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites including Spotify. Highly recommended!
November 4, 2022