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Passionata

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Customer Reviews

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus

Denise has created “Passionata,” an emotional journey composed of eleven original songs that tell a story through classical and modern Victorian themes and motifs. Like her previous recording, this one was also recorded at Imaginary Road Studio, owned by Grammy winning producer and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman. And adding to that expression are the talents of a number of top studio musicians who often grace the tracks of Will Ackerman-produced recordings. Four pieces contain beautifully layered cello orchestration, three include authentic African percussion instruments, and one is accompanied by evocative vocal melodies.

From the opening refrains of the title track, which begins the album, I was struck by how much classical influence there is in Denise’s playing. While many piano albums that fall under the new age heading are by artists who are classically trained, the influence of classical music is often more in the background, or just hinted at. On “Passionata,” however, it is quite present in all its romantic glory. On the next track, entitled “Above The Clouds,” after a solo piano intro, Denise’s delicate musical passages are gracefully accented by sonorous strings of cellist Eugene Friesen. A frequent contributor on Will Ackerman-produced recordings Eugene is well known as a member of the legendary Paul Winter Consort. As on many recordings produced in this studio, the contributions of the session musicians are understated, and kept relatively low in the mix, although the cello does have a bit more presence on some compositions.

Sometimes a song’s title fits so well and perfectly captures the mood of the piece. Such is the case with “Cobblestones In The Rain,” with its melancholy tones in shades of gray that echo loneliness down a rain swept street. In keeping with the album’s theme, another ensemble piece called “Desire,” keeps the flame burning with some of Denise’s most heartfelt playing. The objective on this recording was to “take you on an emotional journey of love and passion,” and I think she has certainly achieved her goal. Denise’s songs are sublimely evocative and she expresses a range of sentiment with great romanticism, both in her playing and her composition.

A Fitting Title For This Beautiful Music!

Passionata is an album filled with artful song and elegant movements. Will Ackerman has produced another staggering work of genius.

Dana Wright

Breathtaking

Wow. Such beautiful and soothing music.
Such a talented artist right here.

Passionata, Denise Young
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Customer Ratings