The Fall of a Sparrow
2017 / Timothy Crane
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Fall of a Sparrow is the fourth album from Timothy Crane and my favorite of the four. Crane composed, arranged and orchestrated all of the music, produced and engineered the recording, and did most of the performing as well. Additional musicians are Jason Rowsell on bass, Tom Melaragno on drums, Joe Fluken on acoustic guitar, and Daniel Coffey on viola; Crane performs on a Kurzweil PC3x keyboard/synth. A variety of musical influences can be heard in the music from classical to pop to new age, and the overall feeling of the album is vibrant and very alive. Some of the pieces are more on the somber side, but there is a real vitality to all of the music. I have really enjoyed Crane’s previous albums, but there is something very special about this one. I even love the album cover artwork, which is very dramatic in its simplicity. The fifteen tracks on the album include twelve new compositions and “new and improved” arrangements of three pieces that were on previous albums. All of Timothy Crane’s albums have landed in the top 5 of the ZMR charts, but I fully expect The Fall of a Sparrow to go all the way to the top.
The album begins with “Albion,” a lively prelude with the piano dancing for joy and buoyant strings that make it soar. “Come Holy Spirit” is an exhilarating anthem for piano, strings, and wind instruments that lifts the spirit with gratitude and thanksgiving. As its title suggests, “The Sound of Snow” is quietly magical with a graceful, calming sparkle. “Alone” sounds like it could be a piece about isolation and loneliness, but this one is very peaceful. Performed on piano/keyboard with acoustic guitar and string washes, the piece gradually builds, adding more instruments and color as warmth flows from every note. “Star Cross Moon” first appeared on Crane’s 2010 release, Dragonfly. I really liked the first version, but the interaction between piano and viola on this version is exceptional. “The First Day” is bold and dramatic with full orchestration along with the piano. I really like the rhythmic feel of this one! “Slowly Awaken the Dawn” is a new version of the piece from Crane’s 2012 Pianoforte. The first version was fully orchestrated, and this one is a piano/keyboard solo. The title track is a gorgeous ballad that is both uplifting and poignant with a combination of electronic instruments and acoustic guitar. I love “Daniel’s Dream,” an expressive and powerful piano/keyboard solo (mostly - there is some light orchestration near the end) that was performed live (there is applause at the end - and very deservedly so!). “Chansonnette” was on Crane’s 2004 debut album, The Other Life I Dream. Fully orchestrated and passionate, it’s another beauty! I can really relate to “At Home in the Garden,” one of my favorite places to be! Piano and strings create a peaceful atmosphere, and some of the other sounds are similar to listening to birds calling and insects buzzing, focusing on one sound at a time while enjoying the interplay. What a beautiful way to end this excellent album!
The Fall of a Sparrow is available from CDBaby.com and is a likely candidate for one of my Favorites of the year. Very highly recommended!
April 29, 2017