11 Songs, 38 Minutes


Ratings and Reviews

One of 2018’s finest New Age music releases

BT Fasmer

Anne Trenning’s new release «Beautiful Song» is a heart-warming album in every sense of the word. Anne and her talented friends welcome us into their world of music. Here the atmosphere is loving, playful and warm. There’s so much love in a beautiful song; love for music, creativity and friendship. What a wonderful message! It is only March, but Anne Trenning has given us one of 2018’s finest New Age music releases.

«Beautiful Song» is Anne Trenning’s fifth album. It was produced and arranged by Rick Dior and Anne at Acoustic Barn Studios in Charlotte, NC. Her previous album is the solo piano collection titled «The Sunflower Waltz». She debuted with «Suite Tea» in 1997. Her song «You and Me» from «Watching for Rain» (2009) is one of the most popular songs on New Age Stars Radio’s The Definitive New Age Music playlist.

Beautiful Song
There’s something very impressive with albums that have a well-made «in medias res» effect. As listeners we are immediately drawn into the music. No further introduction is necessary. Usually an artist needs 3 to 4 songs to build an atmosphere, but with «Beautiful Song» Anne accomplishes this in 30 seconds or less. Old fans will feel right at home, while new will be amazed. This is indeed a beautiful song, no doubt about that. Anne and her friends Jane Brendle (violin), David Meyer (cello) and Bill Leslie (Celtic flute) make this into something inspired, even magical.

Neil Young’s classic «Helpless» is the foundation and inspiration for the next song. That said, this arrangement has a life of its own – and you will probably not miss Neil’s voice. It follows in the same harmonious path as «Beautiful Song», and it adds some nice colors and atmospheres as well. The neo classical sound is amazing, underlined by a touch of Pachelbel’s classic «Canon in D». It is a highly original mix of classical, rock and New Age music.

You Will Know My Love
The song «You Will Know My Love» is about unselfish love, a love that keeps on giving – year after year, decade after decade. Anne dedicates the song to her children and her mother. It has a gentle sound. Harmony and melancholy are perfectly balanced. This is a love that you will know, right into the center of your soul. Here we get to hear David Meyer and James Todd on cello.

With «El Farol» the album shifts gear, and new layers of colors and expressions are added. This is a rendition of Carlos Santana’s song by the same name. Yet again I’m amazed by how Anne and her friends make a classic song their own. I would never have guessed that Santana’s «El Farol» would fit here, but it does. Could Peter Kater & friends, if they had decided to have a go at this song, have done it better? I doubt it.

It’s a great day to be alive
Christmas is about family and friendship. «Do I hear Christmas?» is a slow and contemplative song, perhaps reflecting on love and time gone by. It is not overly Christmassy, so it will not ruin a playlist strictly without Holiday music. Jeff Oster plays flugelhorn. He is, as always, magnificent. It is actually quite interesting. One of last year’s most important and successful New Age music releases was «FLOW». This is also the name of the group behind the release, where Oster is a member. It is easy to compare Anne Trenning’s and friends to them, and in terms of quality Anne is on par with FLOW. «Beautiful Song» is acoustic, genuine and 100 % heartfelt, and will appeal to FLOW’s many fans. If this was 1989, both albums could have been released by Windham Hill Records.

The next song is dedicated to a place in Avery County called Miller’s Gap. The song’s carefree vibe makes you think that anything is possible and that there’s not a single cloud in the sky. The song features Bill Leslie and Jane Brendle. The positive and upbeat atmosphere continues on «It’s a great day to be alive», which is based on Darrell Scott’s classic. It is impossible to feel down while listening to these songs.

A journey in music
Each track on «Beautiful Song» may be enjoyed as a single (listeners on New Age Stars Radio have already experienced this), but listening to it from start to finish makes you appreciate the great album design; here we’re really taken on a journey in sound. The classic «Hard times come no more» (Stephen Foster) and «Building the Barn» (Maurice Jarre’s song from the movie «Witness») are given a new life. Anne and her friends capture the spirit of each song beautifully, and they fit perfectly on the album.

The story behind «If I could be with you» deserves to be told. Anne writes: «I collect old sheet music, mainly compositions published between 1900 and 1920, for the wonderful artwork and graphics found on the cover pages. One piece I came across was titled «If I Could Be With You». I framed the sheets prior to checking over the content, and later wondered what the song might sound like. I wrote this composition imagining what the music might say.» I don’t know the original song, but Anne’s composition is magnificent, balancing the feeling of love, longing and loss.

«Go Light Your World» by Chris Rice is a wonderful conclusion to the album. Fred Hiscock’s tenor saxophone is amazing here. The song is only a minute long, but no more time is needed. Nothing remains unsaid, the album is complete.

In conclusion: The playwright Henrik Ibsen once said that «to write is to sit in judgment on oneself». Indeed, we are used to the notion that creation of great art (or should I say beautiful art) is about struggles and hardships. I think that «Beautiful Song» by Anne Trenning and her friends is a contrast to this. Here we have a piece of art that is about friendship and a deep love for music and performing. Under such condition, creation comes easily and naturally. The joy the album contains is infectious. Sample it for 15 seconds and you will be hooked too! That’s the power of a beautiful song.

From MainlyPiano


"Beautiful Song" by Anne Trenning and Friends is Trenning’s fifth album to date and features a very impressive group of guest artists that includes Bill Leslie (Celtic flute), Jane Brendle (violin), James Todd (cello), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn) and Ciro Hurtado (guitar). The eleven tracks are comprised of five original compositions by Trenning and six curated cover songs by Carlos Santana, Maurice Jarre, Neil Young and others. The album is a musical box of chocolates in that each piece is different from the others. Instrumentation and genre vary from piece to piece, but the title really does say it all and could easily be “Beautiful Songs.” The CD includes a twelve-page booklet with beautiful photography and notes about each of the pieces. I have reviewed three of Trenning’s previous releases and this is my favorite (so far)!

"Beautiful Song" begins with the title track, a piece about “the generational ties that bind us as family, and the love that intertwines through the years.” The poignant melody is uncomplicated and heartfelt, performed by Trenning (piano), Leslie (Celtic flute), Brendle (violin) and cellist David Meyer. “Helpless” is an instrumental version of Neil Young’s classic song arranged by Rick Dior. The piece includes a snippet of Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and features piano, strings and accordion (John Magnie). “You Will Know My Love” is a lovely trio for piano and two cellos (Todd and Meyer) and expresses the joy of sharing boundless love with those we are the closest to. “El Farol” originally appeared on Carlos Santana’s 1999 album, Supernatural. This new arrangement is for piano, guitar (Ciro Hurtado) and cello (Meyer) and is one of my favorite tracks on the album. “Do I Hear Christmas?” refers to the intertwining nature of Christmas and love and is a quartet for piano, flugelhorn (Oster), flute (Jennifer Dior) and cello (Meyer). Slow, graceful and very dreamy, I really like this one, too! “Miller Gap” picks up the tempo and was inspired by an area in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. This lively, joyful dance features the artistry of Trenning, Leslie and Brendle. “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” begins with a piano and mandolin (Mark Schimick) excerpt of The Moody Blues’ “Tuesday Afternoon” and then flows into a sweet “ode to joy” by Darrell Scott. Also featuring Josh Daniel (guitar) and Brandon Bush (accordion), it’s a carefree bit of Americana that lifts the spirits and brings a smile. “Hard Times Come No More” is a song by American composer Stephen Foster (1826-1864), arranged for piano and two accordions (Magnie and Bush). I love the story behind “If I Could Be With You”! Trenning collects old sheet music for the artwork on the cover pages and framed a piece that bears the same name as this one before playing the actual music. Left wondering what the original piece sounded like, she wrote a new one in as she imagined the old one, and this is it! Todd, Brendle, Meyer and Jennifer Dior contributed to this elegant creation.

"Beautiful Song" is an album that just makes you feel good with gentle melodies and an uplifting spirit. Recommended!

Charmingly elegant piano ensemble music


Beautiful Song is the fifth album by instrumental pianist and composer Anne Trenning. Comprised of eleven piano ensemble pieces spanning approximately thirty-nine minutes, the album highlights a talented team of musicians along the way who variably contribute instruments such as violin, flute, accordion, cello, flugelhorn, saxophone, guitar, mandolin and percussion – with familiar artist names including Bill Leslie, Jeff Oster and Ciro Hurtado. Six of the compositions are originals written by Anne Trenning while the other five are renditions of classic tunes by artists such as Neil Young, Maurice Jarre and others.

The album opens on a welcoming bright note with the title piece, “Beautiful Song”, which features a sweetly melodic ensemble led by a duet of piano and violin. Perfectly capturing the radiant warmth of a noonday sun, romantic and classical elements are laced with Celtic overtones, as the lovely composition waltzingly graces along to a gentle sway.

My favorite song on the album is the Santana cover, “El Farol”, which possesses a Mediterranean-style elegance. This romantic piece immediately stands out with its pristine infusion of Spanish guitar and flowing piano, of which aptly conveys a low-key lounge feel – like that of experiencing a nocturnal breeze on the seashore. I’m also particularly fond of the more reflectively tender “Do I Hear Christmas?” – an original composition which features accompanying cello and flugelhorn that appropriately lend the piece a subtly forlorn touch. Also noteworthy is “Miller Gap”, which showcases both Celtic and renaissance musical elements. It's of the cheeriest songs on the album, featuring a festively classical assortment of piano, strings and Celtic flute. Likewise intriguing is the Darrell Scott cover, “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive”, which feels evocative of an old-west saloon with its characteristically country and western style piano-to-rhythm motif.

Closing out the album on an inspirational note is the minute-long Chris Rice cover, “Go Light Your World”, which features a sentimental blend of piano, strings and saxophone.

A most charmingly elegant album comprised of classical-infused contemporary instrumental music, Beautiful Song seemingly takes its listener on a quaintly scenic tour across both European and American countryside. I especially enjoyed the colorfully instrumental variety among the compositions that each guest musician contributed along the way, as well as the album’s balanced offering of both sunnily uplifting melodies and peaceful moonlight serenades!

About Anne Trenning

Instrumental pianist Anne Trenning grew up in Barrington, IL, and began taking organ lessons at seven. She turned to the piano at 12 and studied privately. She attended Converse College on a music scholarship and earned her B.A. in music and history. After college, she moved to Charlotte, NC, in 1987 and was not involved with music professionally. But after her mother gave her the family piano, she returned to performing and began composing. She made a demo tape that was heard by David Lanz, which helped lead to her first album, Suite Tea (1997). She became the artist-in-residence at the Morehead Inn, a historical landmark. She released her second album, All One World, on October 19, 2004. ~ William Ruhlmann