is the most recent solo piano release from Alaskan pianist/composer/songwriter/artist/teacher/gardener Victoria Salmon (whew!). Salmon resides just inside the Arctic Circle in a remote area with long, cold winters and short, intense summers. Mixing improvisation with composition, Salmon’s music is colorful, spontaneous, and spirited. A few of the pieces on Joyful
were inspired by other music, but most came from experiences in nature, her faith, and from just being human. Recorded at Steinway Piano Gallery of Alaska, the sound is rich, bright, and inviting. Victoria Salmon’s playing is very impressive and expressive, with strong roots in classical music, making this album more neo-classical than new age per se
begins with “Shadow of Your Wings,” a freely flowing piece with subtle energy that keeps it moving all over the piano from the first note to the last - an exciting start! “Seal Upon My Heart” is a bit more introspective and meditative, and is also one of my favorites. The title track was inspired by Beethoven’s melody for the hymn, “Joyful, Joyful
, We Adore Thee.” Various themes from that piece are woven into the original interpretations and variations, creating a fascinating new piece. “Still Waters” is another favorite, painting a tranquil musical picture of a quiet body of water with light dancing on the surface. “Garden” is vibrant and alive as it dazzles the senses with brilliant colors and a multitude of sounds and scents. “Softly” is based on the hymn, “Softly and Tenderly,” and again weaves strains of the familiar song with Salmon’s interpretive original music. “Living Water” is my favorite track. There is the feeling of constant motion - sometimes slow and sometimes rapid - as well as the flashes of sparkling light reflected on the water; a very visual piece for me! I also really like “Open My Eyes,” which I interpret to be a fervent and passionate prayer - very deeply felt and sincere. “Soon Breaks the Dawn” closes the set with a bold grace and shimmering beauty. I hate for the CD to end!
has been my first experience with Victoria Salmon’s music, and I will be looking forward to much more! Joyful
will become available in early January 2010 from victoriasalmon.net
and CD Baby. Recommended!