Stories of You is one of two solo piano albums David Hicken released in 2016. The other one, The Art of Piano, is a collection of virtuosic original pieces that came about after Hicken’s very successful arrangement of “The Bell Carol” caught fire. Stories of You goes in a very different direction as an album of solo piano love songs and demonstrates Hicken’s more tender and lyrical side. A few of the tracks are on the showy side, but most of these pieces are elegant and flowing. Stories of You was nominated for Album of the Year on Whisperings Solo Piano Radio. Hicken has been one of my very favorite pianist/composers for the past ten years, and he seems to just keep getting better. There is a companion songbook for this album.
"Stories of You" begins with “Chance Encounter,” a favorite that would make an amazing theme for a romantic movie. “Brief Odyssey” is gentle and very expressive. The graceful melody has a wonderful ebb and flow of passion that can make the heart flutter! “A Day With You” was composed in a theme and variations style. The melody is fairly simple, so the theme is expressed at the beginning in its most unembellished form. The second section is more Baroque, and then the variations take different forms and genres, all of which are very beautiful. “Under the Half Moon” is sweet and very tender, followed by “I Love You,” a love song that comes from the heart, openly and honestly. “Kaiaka Bay” began as a two-piano duet, but Hicken proves once again that he can play like he has four hands! Sparkling like ripples in the sunshine, this piece soothes and enchants, but it isn’t an easy one to play! It’s another favorite. “Time Stops” returns to pure romance and passion. I also really love the graceful flow of “Last September” and its poignant melody. “Crossing Paths” increases the energy level a bit, becoming more relaxed in the middle and then recharging the energy with an expressive mix of emotions. “The Passing” is quite different from the other pieces on the album. Very dark and almost ominous, it seems to express something close to despair. Hauntingly beautiful in its sadness, it’s also a favorite and brings the album to a close.
If you have enjoyed David Hicken’s previous albums - or if you are new to his music - "Stories of You" is a must-have. Very highly recommended!