Christine Brown | Souvenirs (Solo Piano)

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Souvenirs (Solo Piano)

by Christine Brown

Soothing original solo piano music that is beautiful and inspiring. Her artistic approach and unique contemporary classical style, Christine's music is captivating, emotional, relaxing and moving.
Genre: Classical: Piano solo
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Rhythm of the Rain
4:21 $0.99
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2. Souvenirs
4:31 $0.99
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3. Shiver
4:58 $0.99
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4. Prelude to Sunrise
3:32 $0.99
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5. Chasing the Moon
3:21 $0.99
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6. Aqua Abyss
3:56 $0.99
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7. Silver Lining
4:00 $0.99
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8. Silhouette
4:36 $0.99
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9. Traveling Dreams
3:43 $0.99
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10. The Hour Glass
3:59 $0.99
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11. Morning Grace
4:08 $0.99
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12. Stepping Stones
3:33 $0.99
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13. Guardian Angel
4:28 $0.99
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14. Cashmere Clouds
4:14 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
SOUVENIRS - solo piano

WINNER! BEST PIANO ALBUM OF 2014 by Whisperings Solo Piano Radio

About the Music

The making of this CD was an interesting process for me. Like all my albums, the writing came from many emotions and experiences, from feelings of joy and sadness, to gratitude and nostalgia. However, I experienced a new surge of creativity, fueled by my new piano, a Kawai RX-7, with its rich tone and incredible depth of sound, allowing me to express my feelings on the piano with a new freedom. Several songs on this album were written before the new piano arrived, but I found myself composing variations of this music, while also composing new pieces from beginning to end. When I sat down to practice a piece, I ended up writing down new ideas, until I had a complete binder full of music!

As my recording date for fall 2013 approached, I was overwhelmed with this collection of mostly unfinished songs. Then, the loss of a dear friend to cancer, and the new diagnosis of this disease in close family members prompted me to take a step back and postpone the recording. As always, dealing with these difficult emotions resulted in lots of time on the piano, inspiring new compositions reflecting a myriad of emotions. In the months following, the bits and pieces of melodies and variations began fitting together like a giant puzzle, until I had nearly 25 songs to record! Finally, in April 2014, I recorded at Piano Haven in beautiful Sedona on a magnificent Shigeru Kawai! After recording, I had to narrow it down to 14 songs which I felt belonged together on this album.

For many, hearing a certain song can remind you of a place or time in your life, recalling memories and stirring emotions. I chose the title Souvenirs because a souvenir is a memento or keepsake, but the object is only significant to the owner because of the memories attached to it. Each song has particular meaning to me, a memory, feeling or image . Every album I create is a musical journey and the songs are souvenirs . . . I hope the music takes you somewhere memorable!

The Album Artwork

I never really have a visual concept of the image I want for the album until I am actually finished recording. When I began looking at images, I wanted the concept to reflect travels, memories and souvenirs while conveying the musical aspect. I liked these vintage suitcases and had the idea of old sheet music laying on top. My graphic designer, Matt Strieby of New Leaf Design, was able to capture my idea perfectly! Deciding to keep the CD graphics simple, the first proof was a solid black CD with just my name and title. Seeing the CD in black reminded me of my old records, so we designed it to look like a 45 record, which tied the vintage feel with my idea of music as a souvenir perfectly! Even though digital music diminishes the need for a physical CD copy, I feel the artwork is a big part of the album. An artistic package that conveys the music is so important.

Behind the Songs

1) Rhythm of the Rain- Early one morning, the sky was dark and the clouds looked heavy, it felt like rain. I wrote this song and called it "Feels Like Rain", later changing the title because the sound of rain is a constant rhythm, yet watery and flowing. This is one of my favorites to play!

2) Souvenirs - I composed this song after our friend passed, sad that he was gone but knowing he was in a better place. I initially called it "Bittersweet Waltz", a rather melancholy sound but such a simple melody that I felt like I had heard it somewhere before. Some songs can make you feel that way, take you back to a place you remember. That's when the idea of "Souvenirs" came to me.

3) Shiver - Written nearly 2 years ago, I had a difficult time naming this song. I performed it a few times and asked the audience for their thoughts. Many saw images of storms, wind blowing through trees, a cold, dark forest, etc. Many titles surfaced, (Dark Storm, Midnight Wind, etc.) but I thought it would be "cool" to name it after what this would feel like, rather than look like, so... brrrr!

4) Prelude to Sunrise - I often compose first thing in the morning. I hear the sounds of birds in song, the quietness before the neighborhood bustle, feeling a sense of calm, beauty and gratitude for another day. Other titles were "Before the Sun Rises", "First Breath" and "Morning Awakening", (Morning Breath was dismissed!). Because the music is really about the sounds of morning, it became a Prelude to Sunrise!

5) Chasing the Moon - An upbeat, fun and light song! I wrote this one evening a few years ago inspired by a gorgeous harvest moon, bright and yellow hanging in the sky! My son and I were driving home at dusk and opened our sun roof to view this incredible sight on our way, chasing the moon!

6) Aqua Abyss - The ocean is so beautiful and yet so powerful. I don't recall what initiated the writing of this song, but it immediately reminded me of falling gently, spiraling downward in the water, dark and mysterious, yet calm and beautiful.

7) Silver Lining - When I began writing this song, it seemed a little dark and myserious, but it tranfomed into this rather fast-moving, fun piece. Sometimes things turn out to be quite different than expected!

8) Silhouette - One of the first songs composed on my new piano. I explored the delicate touch of the instrument, the many dynamics and the rich booming bass notes, creating this rather sultry yet classic piece that reminded me of a shadowy, mysterious figure, dark and majestic, like my piano.

9) Traveling Dreams - This has a sort of rambling feel, reminding me of a train ride across country, with a dreamy, lazy vibe to it. We took a train ride to the Grand Canyon with our boys when they were young, witnessing the awe and grandeur of the canyon, and it snowed a bit on the way - mesmerizing!

10) The Hour Glass - This song is reflective, conveying the passage of time, as I watch our boys becoming young men. I want time to stand still, but how quickly it passes.

11) Morning Grace - I composed this song the morning after a big performance (The Whisperings Concert and Awards show, Jan. 2014). To be asked to perform at this concert was a huge honor! I was so excited but nervous to play for an audience that included my colleagues and idols. Afterwards, I was so inspired and so grateful for the evening, the music, being able to share my passion for piano.

12) Stepping Stones - Happy memories of life's milestones, - birthdays, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, they are all stepping stones on life's path.

13) Guardian Angel - For my sister who courageously survived a terrible cancer diagnosis. I prayed a guardian angel would help guide her through this challenging time.

14) Cashmere Clouds - On a flight to Denver, the clouds below were a solid white field, resembling a soft, endless cashmere blanket. It was so dreamy and serene, I composed this lullaby. Good night!


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Reviews


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Michael Diamond (www.michaeldiamondmusic.com)

Reveiew excerpt from Music and Media Focus
Christine Brown is a highly regarded pianist and composer who’s 10th recording, “Souvenirs”, was chosen for “Best Piano Album of 2014” by Whisperings Solo Piano Radio. In addition, Christine has the rare honor of being selected as an official Kawai Piano Artist, representing this esteemed piano company, and joining their roster that includes some of the top pianists in the world.

This award winning album gets off to an exceptionally strong start, with “Rhythm of the Rain” that blows in like a summer storm, with the first drops falling gently, and eventually building in rhythmic intensity, drenching the listener in liquid arpeggios and soulful chord structure. This is perhaps, my favorite song on the album. Both the sun and the moon inspire Christine’s creativity in a lovely pair of songs respectively titled “Prelude to a Sunrise” and “Chasing the Moon,” that celebrate two distinctively different times of day, yet share a lightheartedness in contrast to some of her more wistful tunes. Christine makes perfect use of an appropriately descending chord structure on “Aqua Abyss,” which for me evoked images of a mermaid drifting languidly through the watery depths.

I can definitely see why Souvenirs was chosen to receive an award like “Best Piano Album of 2014.” It’s a radiant recording that reveals the heart and soul of an immanently talented composer and instrumentalist. While Christine has impeccable technique on the piano, which I greatly enjoyed listening to, what impressed me as much was her writing. If I had to choose one word to describe Christine’s musicality, that word would probably be “expressive.” Each piece tells a story born of personal experience and deep feelings. Christine’s compositions resonate with an emotional eloquence that is profound and moving, whether inspired by life’s challenges or joys. Fans of solo piano with neo-classical and new age influences will certainly want to make Souvenirs a part of their music collection.

To read a full length review of this CD, as well as others, please visit: www.michaeldiamondmusic.com
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Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
I’ve been reviewing Christine Brown’s albums since her 1997 release, "Winter Tapestry," and she has become one of my very favorite artists. A mixture of passion, exceptional playing chops and an abundance of grace consistently puts her music in a category of its own. "Souvenirs" is a collection of fourteen breathtaking original piano solos inspired at least in part by the arrival of Brown’s new piano, a Kawai RX-7 grand. The pieces express a wide range of emotions and experiences with depth, sincerity and an elegant touch. Already nominated as “Album of the Year” by Whisperings Solo Piano Radio, I’m sure "Souvenirs" will be on my list of Favorites for the year as well. The album was recorded and mastered by Joe Bongiorno on his Shigeru Kawai at his Piano Haven Studio in Sedona, AZ - as always, impeccable!

"Souvenirs" begins with “Rhythm of the Rain,” another wonderful example of how well the piano expresses the feeling of rain, be it a wild and crazy storm or a gentle shower. This is somewhere in the middle, flowing gently but steadily with varying levels of intensity. The title track is a beautiful, bittersweet waltz (the original title!) composed after the passing of a close friend to cancer. More reflective than mournful, it’s one of my favorites. I also really love “Shiver,” which went without a title for nearly two years. The piece is in constant motion, sometimes gracefully and sometimes more intense. It makes my fingers itch! “Prelude to Sunrise” is more ambient and descriptive, often using rapidly arpeggiated chords to depict beams of light coming through clouds (my interpretation). “Aqua Abyss” is yet another favorite. Brown says, “I don’t recall what initiated the writing of this song, but it immediately reminded me of falling gently, spiraling downward in the water, dark and mysterious, yet calm and beautiful,” and that’s exactly how it feels. Gorgeous!!! “Silhouette” was the first piece Brown composed on her new piano, exploring the touch and dynamics of the instrument. The resulting piece sounds a bit like a classic movie theme - nostalgic, sentimental, and very beautiful. “The Hour Glass” reflects on the passage of time. Gently but relentlessly flowing, it pauses only occasionally. “Stepping Stones” happily recalls life’s milestones, what Brown refers to as the “stepping stones of life.” “Guardian Angel” is a heartfelt prayer full of love, sincerity and deep emotion. Inspired by the white field of clouds below the airplane on a recent trip, “Cashmere Clouds” is a peaceful lullaby that serenely brings us to the end of this excellent album.

Christine Brown’s tenth album could be her best music yet - truly inspired and from the heart - and I give it my highest recommendation!
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