Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: Through the Darkness
Tijs Ven
Cover image of the album Through the Darkness by Tijs Ven
Through the Darkness
Tijs Ven
2020 / Tijs Ven
71 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Through The Darkness is the second solo piano album from Tijs Ven, a composer/ pianist/ writer/ artist (and more!) living in Hungary. His first album, A Dream In Paradise, was released in 2019 and was focused on the joyful side of life. In Tijs' own words, "Through The Darkness is where you go in times when you are not fully able to perceive the light. In these times of pain, fear, sorrow and loss, you will find that hope shines brighter than ever, even when it might be hard to find.  This is why you should surrender to your present feelings because when you let go things will start moving again and therefore, the darkness has a chance to pass." Even though much of the music was inspired by the difficult times of the past few years, none of the fifteen tracks are without hope. Fellow pianists will be happy to know that there is a companion sheet music collection of all of the music from Through The Darkness available to download from Tijs' website.

Through The Darkness begins with "Lonely Nights," a piece dedicated to everyone who was or is lonely during these difficult times. Those feelings as well as the endurance, hope and inner strength it takes to keep going during these times are beautifully expressed in this piece. "Barely There" is about the times when you are feeling hurt and down, and while you are present physically your emotional self is elsewhere. The music has the feeling of wandering aimlessly, in search of something without knowing what it is you're looking for. One of my favorite pieces on the album is "Desperate Times." The right hand plays an active and continuously flowing pattern as well as most of the melody while the left hand plays a less-complicated rhythmic pattern. Although the title is grim and dark, I find the piece melancholy yet optimistic. "Painful Memories" reflects on things that have happened in life that you might wish to forget. The message in the music is to instead examine those memories and change them to something constructive and positive. Simple and direct, it's a message well worth heeding! "Before the Storm" is another favorite and is about bracing for what is coming next, knowing there is nothing you can do about it. The melody is melancholy rather than fearful, and the chords played in the deep bass of the piano sound like thunder in the distance. "Through The Dark" reflects on being lost in the dark, not knowing where you are or where you're going, trying to find a way out. Occasional optimistic passages represents flashes of light that come and go much too soon. One of the more intense pieces, "Raining Down" is about weathering the storms in life and how sometimes we just have to wait until they pass. Dramatic and powerful, this piece is a lot of fun to play! I also really like "Alone In the End," a piece dedicated to an artist friend who passed away as Tijs was finishing up this album. A person who lived by his own rules, Tijs wondered in the music if his friend wanted to be "Alone In the End." Beautifully expressive with a lovely melody, it's a wonderful tribute to a lost friend. As he did with his first album, Tijs closes this one with a "sneak preview" of what's coming on his next album which he promises to be about love. "Longing For..." is that preview and offers a softer, smoother emotional message going forward. I can't wait to hear the rest of it!

Through the Darkness is available from www.tijsven.com, Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites such as Spotify.
February 16, 2022
More reviews of Tijs Ven albums