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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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Other reviews from The Sounding Board by R J Lannan:
  22 Piano Tales by Galya, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 6/26/2015
  Another Time, Another Place by Robin Spielberg, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 6/26/2015
  Hvel by Arstiidir, reviewed by RJ Lanna on 6/26/2015
<<-later reviews | earlier reviews->>   <<- all reviews ->>
22 Piano Tales
By Galya
Label: Self Released
Released 11/28/2014
 
Not As Simple As It Seems
I first learned of French pianist Galya from a music video. It was fascinating and I wanted to hear more. Galya graciously sent me her latest work, 22 Piano Tales and she has caught my attention once more. These warm, inviting songs, some pleasantly familiar to me, are mini vignettes. Her stories are played like a memory recalled on a calm mind. There is a lot of emotion present in this solo piano music, some happy, some sad, but they balance out in the end. Galya's compositions are simple on the surface, but a few listens reveals the sentiment contained inside them. You can hear the whispers of classical training in the music, but the feel is quite contemporary and pleasing.

The album opens with the poignant tune, Fragile. I could hear the pain and the empathy in the sweet tune. The story tell of a heart that is broken, a life shattered, but still hopeful. All she asks it that you be careful. Tread lightly.

Most of the cuts are around two minutes in length, but there is room for expansion on all of them. Take for instance the song My Angel. The gentle tune is a dual-purpose tune as it a stand-alone work, but it would be a wonderful intro to a suite. Sometimes the angels in your life do not have wings and halos, but they can been seen and heard and felt. These are the angels of joy and of love.

Now and Forever lives up to its name as a timeless memory, flowing along like a river of memories. Summer Dream has a glittering quality to it like sun on a rippling pond. Lots of time to make daydreams here. Galya's strong classical influences are evident in the tune Prelude. Still, there is a softness in the music that drifts into the mind and gives it a sense of calmness.

The tune Promise is one of the best on the album and I wish it were considerably longer. The theme is sweet and endearing. I keep playing it over and over to hear the nuances of a vow of returning souls. We do not know when a reunion will take place, but it will if only in our hearts.

Oddly, there is a rendition of the most widely sung song in the world, Happy Birthday and a cover of Brother John or Frere Jacque. I wondered as I listened if this was a deliberate sample for commercial purposes or a young woman visiting with old friends. I decided the latter.

One of the more melancholy pieces on 22 Piano Tales is called Broken. I could almost feel the gray skies outside the window, the rain falling down in rivulets on the glass and the tears falling just as heavily. The music did not make me sad, but it allowed feeling the sadness.

Frozen Flowers is another favorite, the theme strong as it suggests an early snowfall that covers the garden. The yellows and reds take on an icy cloak and sparkle as the morning begins. It tells me that beauty is found in lots of places if only we take a close look.

I could feel the warm breeze in the tune Legende de Vent Doux (Story of the Gentle Wind). Galya's composition has a lot of musical movement in it. It is gentle and persuasive, like a friend tugging at my hand, promising to take me somewhere special. I knew I was in for a surprise. This is another that I would have wanted to hear a longer version.

Good Evening to You is more of a blessing that a goodbye. The song has an old world charm to it suggesting a time of strolls after dinner, gleaming gaslights and cobblestone streets that echo with every footstep. It is a gentler time than we know now.

Galya has certainly offered up some memory making music here. The music wavers among happy and sad, warm and cool and every one is full of the passion of the composer. The album is perfect for any interlude, either a single companion or the company of friends. Enjoy.
Rating: Good +   Good +
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 6/26/2015
 
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