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Album Review: When Evening Falls
Tom Salvatori and Iris Litchfield
Cover image of the album When Evening Falls by Tom Salvatori and Iris Litchfield
When Evening Falls
Tom Salvatori and Iris Litchfield
2007 / Salvatori Productions
52 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
When Evening Falls is an utterly charming collection of original solos, duets, and other ensemble works by pianist Iris Litchfield and guitarist Tom Salvatori, often accompanied by cellist John Catchings. The cover artwork gives you a clue that you are beholding something exceptional, and you are. Iris Litchfield is a classically-trained pianist who recently began composing for the piano after retiring from teaching math in England. It is interesting to note that the demo tape she sent to Salvatori Productions was recorded on an upright piano with a squeaky pedal and a ceiling fan humming overhead. Tom heard something special in the music and worked hard to find a studio in England with a good grand piano (a 1934 Steinway D) for Litchfield’s first studio recording. The final take of her music brought the grown men in the studio to tears, and it’s easy to hear why. The music is not overly complex, but is honest and heartfelt, with a slight touch of innocence - truly a fresh voice on the music scene. Litchfield has released CDs in Europe, but“When Evening Falls is her first release in the US. Tom Salvatori is also classically-trained, and his guitar pieces are equally moving, with their gentle, straightforward messages. Catchings adds just the right contrast to the piano and guitar, and brings a soulful quality that only comes from a masterfully-played cello. When Evening Falls will definitely be on my list of favorite CD’s for 2007!

A haunting piano solo called “Autumn Colors” opens the CD. Fall often evokes feelings of melancholy as nature prepares the world for winter. Those feelings are captured perfectly in this piece, and it wonderfully sets the tone for the album. Next is the first duet, “Sleepy Eyes Lullaby,” a soothing, caressing piece for guitar and cello. “Breath of Spring” is a quiet duet for piano and cello, full of hope and optimism. “Guitar Lament” is a gorgeous guitar solo that seems to tell a story. “Nature’s Serenade” is a sweet and graceful piece for all three musicians. Very simple and uncomplicated, it suggests warm sunshine and a gentle breeze - lovely! “Reflecting Absence” is a stunningly beautiful piece for guitar and cello. Comprised of several movements that range from slow and reflective to more impassioned and emotional, this seven-minute masterpiece is worth the price of the CD alone. (I can’t imagine that the studio guys didn’t need their hankies for this one, too!) “Carousel” is mostly a piano solo, but Salvatori comes in for two of the verses, bringing additional charm to this warm, happy little piece. “Labyrinth 2” contrasts the smooth, deep cello with the bright finger picking on guitar, creating an aura of intriguing mystery. The piece ends rather abruptly, intensifying the mystery. “Come Stay a While” is like a hug from a long-lost friend. Violin and viola are added to the piano and cello, making this a chamber piece that overflows with emotion and love.

I can’t sing the praises of When Evening Falls enough. It is simply one of the most beautiful CDs I’ve heard in a year of unusually good instrumental CDs. Sure to be a favorite for a long time to come! It is available from cdbaby.com and amazon.com. Samples of the music are also available at salvatoriproductions.com. I give When Evening Falls my highest recommendation!
October 4, 2007
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Kathy's Favorites: 2007
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