is a wonderfully rich and deeply personal collection of original piano solos by Rebecca Kragnes. The pieces are varied in mood and style, but each illustrates a life experience, exploring a range of emotions. Both Rebecca and her husband, Phil, are blind and both are very involved with their guide dogs, so some of the songs are about them. Rebecca lost her beloved Tanner to illness awhile back, and worked with Shelly for about nine months.She loved that dog very much, but it just wasn’t working out, creating another loss and sadness at having to give her up, but knowing that it was the best thing for herself as well as the good-hearted dog. After another difficult period, along came Wynell, and the two clicked and have been a team ever since. “Wanetta’s Gift” is a loving tribute to Phil’s dog for trying to fill the gap that was left during the time when Rebecca was without a dog. Lively and upbeat, this song dances with life and joy. “Second Chance” is Shelly’s song, and is bittersweet but full of love. Elegant and graceful with its gentle rubato, this one tugs at the heartstrings. “Sunlight Dance” is Wynell’s song, full of energy and life. From the liner notes: ”After a period of darkness, in walked happiness and love on four paws.” My favorite track is “Silver Lining,” a piece that is paradoxically both light and haunting. One can feel a sense of contentment, but also a longing. I also really like “Laughter,” a light and sprightly “ode to joy.” “Wander-Ring” is also especially beautiful. The piece “wanders” in a circular form - introspective and a little dark. The title song is about “surrendering” to grief and letting yourself heal by experiencing the pain rather than avoiding it. Deeply emotional, but not wrenching, this piece explores the rebuilding process of coming out of a period of deep loss and sadness. Kragnes opens the CD with “Love Is Blue,” the only cover tune on the album. That song was the theme of my junior prom in high school, so it was a happy surprise to find it included in this excellent collection. Surrender
is available from rebeccak.com
. Very highly recommended!