11 Songs, 54 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

From MainlyPiano

KathyPiano7

Still aglow from her Best Vocal Album of 2017 award (Zone Music Reporter) for "Color Me Home" (plus seventeen other awards and thirty-two nominations to date), Darlene Koldenhoven releases "Chromatones," an album of all-instrumental arrangements of the music from "Color Me Home." Most of the guest artists from "Color Me Home" appear on "Chromatones," too, but this isn’t a re-release of the first album with the vocals removed. The eleven new arrangements are based on the music from the first album and have been re-titled. With Darlene at the piano and keyboards with her amazing group of nineteen guest artists, "Chromatones" is pure instrumental magic that is sure to lift your spirit as it soothes your soul. Also a certified sonic therapist, Darlene produced the music for maximum calming, focusing and restorative benefits. Just to clarify, this isn’t ear candy or fluff music - all of the pieces have a full, rich sound and fit as well in the foreground as they do in the background. Overflowing with warmth and grace, I think we have a winner here!

"Chromatones" begins with the sound of the ocean and seabirds and then segues into “Golden Dawn,” a magical piece that features Darlene on piano, Tom Boyd on oboe, Courtney Jacob on flute and Charlie Bisharat on violin. Very light and gently optimistic, it’s a great opener! “Mourning Doves” moves to cooler, more poignant tones, with Jacob and Bisharat plus Lyn Bertles supplying additional strings - gorgeous! “Red Savannah” features the inimitable Wouter Kellerman on flute, bass flute and fife along with Brent Fischer on vibes and marimba and Rocky Dawuni on percussion. Both soaring and soothing, I love this one! “Swans on the Seine” is as smooth and graceful as the title suggests and is primarily a clarinet and flute duet performed by Tom Scott and Gayle Levant respectively. The beautifully haunting “Native Bloom” is a Native American-styled piece that features John Sarantos on Native flute and Darlene on piano and keyboards as well as Native drums and shaker - also a favorite. The title track includes the talents of David Arkenstone, Ricky Kej and Vanil Veigas with a bigger, more cinematic sound that soars and sparkles. My favorite piece on the album is the velvety-smooth “Prism of Time.” Piano, flute (Jacob) and harp (Levant) combine to create a dreamscape of blissful peace - a massage for the mind. “Waltzing in Planetary Time” brings this lovely album to serene close with piano, guitars (Mike Miller), oboe and English horn (Earle Dumler), and flutes and piccolo (Joanne Lazzaro).

I fully expect Darlene Koldenhoven to be in the running for many awards and nominations for "Chromatones" next year! I think her tenth album is her best to date and give it an enthusiastic two-thumbs up! Very highly recommended!

An enchantingly exquisite musical tapestry

CandiceMichelle1

Darlene Koldenhoven has enjoyed a long-standing musical career that boasts some impressive highlights, including having performed as the soprano soloist at Yanni: Live at The Acropolis, as well as her portrayal as a choir nun in the blockbuster comedy Sister Act. With several solo albums to her credit, Darlene’s musical style ranges from classical crossover, to new age vocal to contemporary instrumental. Her latest album, Chromatones, is a purely instrumental work based on the music of her previous release, Color Me Home. Both albums feature the same compositional lineup, however, the songs themselves have been retitled yet nonetheless still capture similar meanings and visual interpretations as those ascribed to their original vocal renditions.

With Darlene at the helm as producer, composer, arranger and engineer, she also lends piano, keyboard, native drum and shaker. Likewise, the album variably features contributions from a line-up of familiar names that appeared on her previous album, such as David Arkenstone, Wouter Kellerman, Ricky Kej and others.

Chromatones opens pristinely with “Golden Dawn”, a lovely piece that makes great use of bird song and ocean waves, which soon introduce a gently colorful ensemble of piano, flute and string instruments. “Mourning Doves” follows with dove cooing before blossoming into a flowing piano melody enhanced by radiant flute and solemn strings. “Red Savannah” ensues as the instrumental rendition of “Kalahari Calls” from Color Me Home. This piece is my favorite on the album, with the all-instrumental arrangement further bringing out the subtle textures possessed within the composition’s seemingly idyllic, tropical soundscape. Introduced by the serene sounds of wading through water, “Swans on the Seine” possesses a romantically whimsical air about it with its dreamy blend of harp and clarinet. Next, “Terra Affirma” features a softly sweeping and somewhat cinematic arrangement of piano, horn and strings that are brushed throughout by sparkling chimes and harp. Another favorite is the ensuing “Native Bloom”, which opens with mysterious Native flute intonations that are soon joined by sparse piano notes, rain-sticks and tribal percussion.

While the title “Vibrant Worlds” may suggest a song that's decidedly energetic and upbeat, this gentle piece of music is more like a lovely lullaby that features a comfortingly beautiful violin melody throughout. Next up is “Chromatones” – a dreamy yet vibrant composition that certainly earns its title-track status. Comprised of synthesizers and hammered dulcimer, the piece subtly evokes some of the works of new age music veteran Constance Demby. “Prism of Time” gently follows with a beautiful duet of piano and flute – while the ensuing “Painted Desert” showcases flugelhorn. The final piece, “Waltzing in Planetary Time”, is a delicately melodic and tender composition that highlights acoustic guitar and English horn, bringing this colorful listening experience to a serenely sentimental close.

With Chromatones, Darlene Koldenhoven has beautifully crafted an enchantingly exquisite musical tapestry of new age piano ensemble music. Once again weaving a colorful spectrum of tones and textures throughout these elegant compositions, her latest album is sure to engage, uplift and delight the listener’s spirit!

More By Darlene Koldenhoven

HOMETOWN
Chicago, IL
GENRE
Holiday

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