Honor and Grace
2008 / Noteworthy Therapeutics
Review by Kathy Parsons
Honor and Grace is pianist/composer Reneé Michele’s third album to date, and what a beauty it is! The eight original piano solos range from very introspective to dancing and carefree, but most of the album is quiet and deeply emotional. The pieces range from just under four minutes to almost seven, so the music is leisurely and has time to evolve and develop. The music is melodic and very easy to listen to, and its classical roots offer substance as well as gentle beauty. A bonus is that the CD recorded on a wonderful piano that has a very rich and expressive sound. What more could a piano lover ask for?
The CD begins with “Grace,” an elegant and passionate piece that is tinged with melancholy - a lovely and heartfelt start! “Angel’s Kiss” continues in a quiet voice that conveys deep emotion. “Shadow’s Light” goes farther inward and is more reflective, bordering on sad, while remaining hopeful and effectively illustrating the contrast between the shadow and light of the title. This is my favorite piece on the album. “The Knight” changes moods altogether, entering at a moderate gallop and becoming more dance-like and energetic - a bit of fun between the more “serious” pieces. “Remembrance” is nostalgic and full of longing, conveying a sense of loss - exceptionally personal and intimate. “Ame Perdue” (“Lost Soul”) conveys more empathy than sorrow. Again coming from a very emotional place, hope and solace are offered rather than darkness and loss. “Soliloquy” is another favorite. The title refers to a moment of aloneness when the truth is spoken, and that is just what this piece sounds like - total openness and clarity. Its gentle rolling rhythm carries the emotion and understanding that emanate from the melody. “My Prayer” is also emotionally candid and hopeful, trusting that grace will handle life’s ups and downs.
Despite its quiet tone, Honor and Grace is full of deeply emotional music that comes from the composer’s heart and goes straight to the listener’s heart. Reneé Michele has made very dramatic strides with each album, and this one definitely needs to be heard! Very highly recommended!
April 28, 2008