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Album Review: Piano Improvisations 1: Light Shining Through
Suzanne Grosvenor
Cover image of the album Piano Improvisations 1: Light Shining Through by Suzanne Grosvenor
Piano Improvisations 1: Light Shining Through
Suzanne Grosvenor
2012 / Strolling Minstrel Music
59 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Piano Improvisations 1: Light Shining Through is not a new album (original release date is 2012), but it is by Suzanne Grosvenor, a pianist/composer I recently discovered and who is very deserving of a reintroduction to the music world. This album is a collection of eleven “Portraits in Sound,” spontaneous creations of music that Suzanne “hears” from the people that she works with as well as from various life events. These portraits are created when individuals and families reach out to her to participate in “stimulating musical explorations.” Suzanne was classically-trained from a young age, but as an adult, developed tendonitis in her wrists from practicing for eight hours a day. It is both amazing and fascinating that she found that she could still play improvisationally, so she continued to create the Sound Portraits (and has done more than two hundred of them) and teach while she waited for her wrists to heal. Recently, Suzanne has been releasing singles, but also wants her earlier recordings to reach new ears and work their magic. This quotation sums up the motivation well: “Spontaneous recovery from long held emotional conundrums and physical breakthroughs from chronic physical problems, these are things music has brought to light and woven the happy magic that only music can bring. Without stress or strain, music, the earliest reported human therapy, is undoubtedly a premiere healing modality to be explored and understood.”

The album begins with “Morning,” a quiet, peaceful piece that is both relaxed and full of possibilities - a lovely start! “Joy” overflows with warmth and the glow that happens when something brings us true joy and happiness. It’s almost impossible to not smile while listening to this piece - a favorite! “Majestic” is a piece Suzanne improvised in memory of her cousin, a blues musician. His piece is slow, delicate and graceful to reflect his “playful and thoughtful” spirit. (There is a beautiful YouTube video for this piece.) I love the peacefully hypnotic “Child of God” and its jazzy middle section! “Celestial Nocturne” is my favorite piece on the album. At almost 8 1/2 minutes, it has plenty of time to evolve organically. Many themes are seamlessly woven into this piece, expressing many of the different tones and moods of nighttime. Magical! (There is a YouTube video for a section of this piece, too.) Poignant and deeply heartfelt, “Rhapsody” also really speaks to me. Gorgeous! The third piece from this album with a YouTube video is “For Corinne,” a peaceful and soothing bit of piano serenity that feels like stretching out on a lawn (or on the beach or in a meadow) on a warm spring afternoon, soaking up the sunshine. Where many of the pieces on the album feel somewhat structured even though they are improvisations, “Susurrus” feels completely spontaneous and in the moment with a stronger jazz influence - I really like this one, too!

Piano Improvisations 1: Light Shining Through is excellent from the first note to the last and is available from www.SuzanneGrosvenor.com, Amazon, iTunes/Apple Music and CD Baby.
February 26, 2020
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