Sharon Fendrich | Red Sky Prairie

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New Age: Neo-Classical Classical: New Age Moods: Instrumental
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Red Sky Prairie

by Sharon Fendrich

Classical-New Age fusion: lush, emotive melodies immediately captivate the heart and offer the listener a soundtrack to their own dreams and memories. Piano, violin, cello, voice and flute combine with orchestral and sound design elements.
Genre: New Age: Neo-Classical
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  Song Share Time Download
1. L'dor Vador
5:09 $0.99
2. A Secret's Song
5:47 $0.99
3. Within Whispers
4:42 $0.99
4. Red Sky Prairie
5:53 $0.99
5. Song of the Dove
4:48 $0.99
6. Never Alone
6:04 $0.99
7. Moonswept
5:01 $0.99
8. Bittersweet Memory
4:49 $0.99
9. Last Tears
5:58 $0.99
10. In Memoriam
4:15 $0.99
11. That September Day
6:42 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
American neo-classical composer Sharon Fendrich presents her self-produced first album, Red Sky Prairie. Grounded in Classical and inspired by New Age, the 11 tracks are full of lush, emotive melodies that immediately captivate the heart and offer the listener a soundtrack to their own dreams and memories.

The album features Fendrich on piano, along with four Dutch soloists: violinist Wilfred Sassen, cellist Joep Willems, flautists Helen Hendriks and Ies Muller, and Russian vocalist Anna Emelyanova. Within the five tracks containing lyrics, Fendrich uses a total of five languages including Esperanto. Together with orchestral and sound design elements, the 59-minute album creates an inviting and magical sonic world.

“I’m willing to go to the deepest, most fragile places in our emotions to capture the music hidden inside sorrow, grief, hope, peace and love,” says Fendrich. Rather than relying on traditional forms, she allows her fingers and ears to guide her into crafting a complete solo piano work. Then, as she begins to add layers of sound through improvisation, counter-melodies emerge and contribute to a full harmonic palette and tempos full of breathing room.

“My creative mind has been highly influenced by Classical and New Age music. Growing up, while my fingers would study Chopin, Debussy and Schubert, my ears were immersed in the sound worlds of Enya, Clannad, 2002, David Lanz, Loreena McKennitt and Secret Garden. Now Ludovico Einaudi, Helen Jane Long and other neo-classical artists have joined the list.”

Fendrich traveled to Stein, a small town in the Netherlands, to record and mix Red Sky Prairie at Kerani Music Studio with Arno Op den Camp, the engineer behind award winning neo-classical artist Kerani. Solo musicians featured on the album are frequent principal players and have toured with the André Rieu Orchestra.

Mastering engineer Stephen Marsh of Marsh Mastering in Los Angeles was the final stop in the album’s production chain. Marsh is known for his work with some of Hollywood’s most respected composers, including Danny Elfman, Alexandre Desplat, John Powell, Mark Isham, and Mychael Danna.

“I encourage listeners to embrace the emotions that naturally arise within their hearts. My motivation is to provide a safe sensory experience which can lead to an acceptance of their unique story. Starting off with willingness and curiosity can open a path to resolution, and hope for the present and future,” says Fendrich.

“The inspiration for the album,” continued Fendrich, “came from a daydream I had about a place where the sky was filled with red, orange skies after the passing of a storm. A hushed early evening breeze had fallen upon a prairiescape. I saw myself at various ages residing in a weather-worn white farmhouse, able to feel the emotions of the phases of life. A profound sensation of safety and peace permeated the air in this scene and the feeling has stayed with me ever since.” Red Sky Prairie was born.

Then Fendrich pulled together poignant emotional themes from her own life and put them to music. The eleven tracks are L’dor Vador, A Secret’s Song, Within Whispers, Red Sky Prairie, Song of the Dove, Never Alone, Moonswept, Bittersweet Memory, Last Tears, In Memoriam, and That September Day.

The Hebrew phrase "L’dor Vador" translates as generation to generation. The circular pattern repeated throughout the piece accompanies English words including, “round and round, on and on, I see my life in yours, hopes and memories wrap me with love.”

"A Secret’s Song" is a tribute to James Horner’s work, Somewhere Out There from the animated feature An American Tail. Magical and full of imagination, the track has a passionate B-section grounded in an Einaudi-like piano part and driven forward by passion from the violin.

"Within Whispers" starts with a delicate duet of piano and Irish flute. The B-section is a tribute to Debussy’s orchestration of Satie’s Gymnopédie #1. The song evokes a delicate intimacy, but acknowledges there is a struggle to maintain that closeness despite inevitable obstacles.

The title track, "Red Sky Prairie", paints the vision Fendrich had of a place suspended in time where emotions are free to be felt, expressed and remembered. The piece balances a rumbling storm with the calm that follows. The reflective, Americana-esque theme and full orchestration features rich string lines from the violin and cello.

The lyrics for "Song of the Dove" are sung entirely in Esperanto, an international language created to bring together speakers from diverse countries. The song highlights the flight of the dove of peace and the hefty weight of responsibility the bird carries.

"Never Alone" is sung in Spanish, English and Yiddish. Inside a sanctuary, a refugee prays for help, safety and guidance. As the prayer echoes throughout the space the prayers of those who have had similar stories seem to echo in reply. The song was written during the summer of 2018, at the height of media attention in the USA over refugees entering the country from Latin America. The lyrics link the story with that of Jewish refugees in WWII.

"Moonswept" is full of delicate, magical phrasing. The piano, flute, violin and harp use sweeping brush strokes to paint a scene of free movement in the glow of moonlight.

"Bittersweet Memory" gently calls the listener away into a setting highlighted by a piano and flute duet. Memories of long-lost love are stirred anew, cherished for the sweetness they once provided, and again put back into memory.

In "Last Tears", the piano, cello and violin trio tugs at the heartstrings in a manner offering closure. These are the tears cried before the wave of grief slows and becomes more predictable and one accepts that a part of the sorrow will always remain.

"In Memoriam" is a memorial to Alaska Airlines flight 261. On January 31, 2000 the flight was enroute from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to Seattle, Washington, USA. Following a catastrophic loss of pitch control, all 88 souls aboard perished. That night Fendrich began this song, fearing that someone she knew may have been onboard. The song’s Latin-only words, “Dona eis pacem. Volant cum angelis. Amen”, translate as, “Grant them peace. They fly with the angels.”

"That September Day" is Fendrich’s retrospective of September 11, 2001. The piece begins just as that infamous day did in the USA. The morning sun rises, a beautiful late summer day lies ahead. Then suddenly everything changes. The English lyrics and melodic theme then take us out of the darkness and onto a brighter path guided by the forging of togetherness, hope and strength.

Born and raised in Eugene, Oregon, USA, Fendrich began music studies at age three. Though she soon added piano, violin, flute and voice, it was piano and voice that stayed with her. Raised by a family who frequented live events, her young ears and eyes were filled with symphony, opera, ballet and stage performances. She continued piano and choral studies through college at Tufts University in addition to courses in music theory, world music, composition, orchestration and conducting. During her senior year, she scored a student film and conducted the university orchestra in a performance of one of her compositions.

After college, she continued to explore composition while working in marketing, development and production roles for the La Jolla Music Society and the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, in California. “My favorite memories of that time were composing on the concert grands left on empty stages long after the headlining pianists had finished a performance.”

Fendrich is well into the compositions for a follow-up album to Red Sky Prairie. The new album is slated for a February 2021 release.



to write a review

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Red Sky Prairie" is the beyond impressive debut album from Sharon Fendrich. Calling Fendrich a “pianist/composer” only scratches the surface as she also produced the album, wrote lyrics for some of the pieces (in five different languages, no less!), orchestrated the music and traveled to The Netherlands to record and mix the album at Kerani Music Studio with Arno Op den Camp, the engineer behind award-winning neoclassical artist, Kerani. Born and raised in Eugene, OR, Fendrich started her music studies at the age of three. Exposed to symphony orchestras, opera, ballet and other stage performances as a child, she continued piano and choral studies through college at Tufts University. After college, she continued to explore music composition while working in marketing, development and production roles for the La Jolla Music Society and the San Diego Chamber Orchestra in California. With a background in classical and ambient music, Fendrich brings a wealth of experience to her original music and makes it sound effortless. "Red Sky Prairie" offers eleven tracks that can provide a soundtrack to listeners’ dreams and memories. In addition to Fendrich on piano, there are four Dutch soloists: violinist Wilfred Sassen, cellist Joep Willems, flutists Helen Hendriks and Ies Muller, plus Russian vocalist Anna Emelyanova.

The album begins with ‘L’dor Vador,” which translates from Hebrew to “generation to generation.” A gently-flowing piece for piano, voice and strings, it lets you know right away that this album is something special. “A Secret’s Song” is a tribute to James Horner and his theme, “Somewhere Out There” from "An American Tail" (1986). Without lyrics, the piano tells the story as the other instrumentalists support and enhance it with grace and expression. A few sections have an interesting meter change that keeps them just slightly off-balance but not at all uncomfortable. “Within Whispers” begins with the sound of the ocean and becomes a delicate duet for piano and Irish flute. The second theme goes somewhat darker, brightening again for the third - one of my favorites. The title track opens with the sound of thunder but quickly becomes peaceful. With the piano in front, strings dance around and intertwine with the melody. The piece was inspired by a vision Fendrich had of a place suspended in time where emotions are free to be felt, expressed and remembered. Visual and performed with deep emotion, it would be exquisite in a film - another favorite. The lyrics for “Song Of the Dove” are in Esperanto (an international language created to bring together speakers from diverse countries) and tells the story of the flight of the dove of peace and the tremendous weight of responsibility it carries. “Never Alone” is a haunting piece for piano and voice. Sung in Spanish, English and Yiddish, the lyrics link the stories of the Latin American refugees trying to enter the US in 2018 and the Jewish refugees of WWII. “Last Tears” is a piano/violin/cello trio that offers closure as the intensity of grief starts to ease and the person grieving accepts that some of the sorrow will always remain. The heartfelt emotion expressed in this piece soothes like a long, loving hug that lets you know things will be okay in time. “That September Day” pays homage to 9/11/2001. It begins as that morning did, with the hope and promise of a new day. Then everything changes. The lyrics express the shared fear, sadness and anger we felt in the days that followed and then end with: “Together we found a way that September day” - a message that reminds us that together we can overcome just about anything.

"Red Sky Prairie" is an album that truly needs to be heard. Do your ears, mind and soul a favor and check it out!

Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

Amazing Debut Album!
Red Sky Prairie is the debut album of Sharon Fendrich. It is a mixture of gorgeous new-age inspired neo-classical instrumentals and influences of the opera that the artist witnessed growing up at live presentations. She has been a student of music since the age of 3. There are not too many people in this world that can say that. The strong influence of family brought Sharon to this point in life to bring listeners her first recording.

Red Sky Prairie carries with it a message of the calm after the storm. The picture you see on the cover is an example of the beauty of transformation and strength of mother nature. And how the nature of our human spirit grows, learns, and rises above the storms of life and comes out the other side stronger and ready to face whatever comes our way. Hopefully, this process is a learning experience for every listener.

The meaning of this album is just as important as the music, it is one entity reaching out like the branches of a tree growing higher towards the sun. While this is happening, the roots grow deeper and give the tree the anchors in the ground to remain with us for many years. Note the one tree standing in the picture fully intact after the storm. The image provides insight and a clear message to those that are receptive to it.

This is what the entire experience will do, it will continue to grow and establish its roots in your psyche and soul. Most trees and music for that matter will outlive us all and their permanence and importance go beyond words and our understanding. The music can interpret the oneness mankind should feel with the nature that sustains us. Red Sky Prairie serves as a reminder of that one prolific meaning in all our lives.

The core of the music is the piano. Sharon lays down the foundation with exceptional passion and grace. Her piano gives the other instruments in the mix an opportunity to join in seamlessly. Like the flow of water from a stream to the ocean, it is natural and effortless. The violin, flutes, cello and the voice of Anna Emelyanova in some of the tracks allow for a very cinematic reach. The classical roots remain intact and the new age flavor will give it an ambiance and texture that allows for a crossover appeal to several audiences that would find a deep appreciation for what is being presented in the eleven tracks.

I chose “Within Whispers” to add to my New Age Music Reviews Spotify Playlist for its simplicity and stunning beauty. It was like walking on a cloud in my mind’s eye. The track draws you in immediately and provides that deep breath and subsequent exhale of relief and comfort. This is what music such as this can provide to a listener. That is but one example of many that you will enjoy on Red Sky Prairie.

For a debut, I do not think it could be any better. If this was a veteran artist releasing their second, third, or fourth release, it would be praised as a major accomplishment. I think that says it all.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 2, 2019

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Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Steve Sheppard

A must buy, a perfect debut album
It is not often that I get to review the work of a debut artist I know personally, especially one that I remember so well from a meeting with our friend David Lanz, and Fendrich names Lanz as one of her musical heroes, so here now, with the release of this her debut album Red Sky Prairie, she takes her first steps into the world of becoming an official recording artist, and what stunning first few footfalls they are indeed.
Red Sky Prairie is part of the new and growing revolution in music called Neo Classical, and this addition must probably rank as one of the most impressive to be released for many years. The starting point of our voyage of tone is a track called L’Dor Vador. Ok, so I had to look this one up as my Hebrew is one of many languages I have no grasp of at all, it means from generation to generation. The softness of touch on this piece was so noticeable and the added instrumentation and vocals would go onto make this simply the best start to an album I have heard for years.
On A Secret’s Song we have a film score waiting to happen, a tribute to the work of James Homer (Somewhere Out There) maybe, but a full flowing, emotional and moving opus indeed. Fendrich follows the passionate refrains from an excellently played Violin (Wilfred Sassen) and thus the result is pure genius bathed in the beauty of a truly moving arrangement.
Within Whispers has to have one of the most inventive starts I have heard for some time, the wind blows softly across the face of time; do we hear its words of wisdom? The Celtic influence on flute here creates a fresh, but familiar backdrop of sound, and this symbiotic partnership between the piano of Fendrich and her flautists Helen Hendriks and Les Muller are but a beauty to listen to, a wonderfully crafted duo here of instrumentation, this is one song I would advise listening to many times over.
I think I may have hinted to Sharon that one thing I love as a music writer and listener is to hear the sounds of a storm in a composition, such a scene setter for me, and it looks like she has taken me up on that suggestion with this next piece, her title track Red Sky Prairie. Storms however are balanced with the natural calm of the nature and here I do believe she has created a classic tune that will be loved by many listeners, who like to cross the borderlands of the new age genre into the neo classical. Perfectly timed crescendos a wonderful passionate fluency, all go to create in my view one of the most complete pieces of music I have heard this year.
There is a moment of time when the mood changes and you can feel it deep within your musical soul, that time has now arrived with the offering Song of the Dove. Fendrich has utilised the talents of Russian vocalist Anna Emelyanova on this her first release, and that talent shines so brightly on this quite breath-taking composition. The lyrics are from the little used world language of Esperanto and manifest a true feeling of a desired peace in a track that is one the most empowering perhaps off the album.
An amalgamation of languages is within your realm now on the piece called Never Alone. The combination of English, Spanish and Yiddish vocals all go to manifest a real one world, one people ethic. Fendrich on this performance in particular, has that beautiful David Lanz influence flowing through the piece, and that cannot be a bad thing can it? Whilst listening to the track one can really feel a sense of togetherness come from the composition and even the piano is seemingly played with this in mind. Never Alone is a very complex offering, extremely well delivered and very well played.
We have now started our journey down from this hillside of musical mastery, and as we do so we come across a charming musical narrative called Moonswept. Here is a track that illustrates just how a multi-instrumental offering should be played, this combination of Flute, Harp, Violin, and of course piano, gifts us a piece that is not only full flowing, but utterly beautiful and quite fun to listen to as well.
This next piece is perfectly placed on the album, as we are now swimming in the deeper waters of the release; it is called Bittersweet Memory. I have had many of these in my life, those happy moments that are tinged with a small grey cloud of regret and longing perhaps. This track for me does exactly what I described above, the combination of flute and piano provide us with a moment to open the memory box, and then gently close it again, remembering the lessons we have learned. The performance here is so moving and deeply touching; Fendrich on piano employs a gentle touch of the keys, but adds more weight when needed, the strings just further manifest a deeper moment of emotion for us to all enjoy.
Sorrow is a reality we have all felt at one time or another, and the art in making music to heal such wounds is well known, few can do it brilliantly and it is to that list that the artist now must be added. Last Tears is the track we flow with now and combines strings and piano in a way that doesn’t just move the heart, it literally tugs at it with such a powerful surge of emotive brilliance. The Cello (Joep Willems) in particular here, adds a whole new dimension to this offering and Fendrich’s piano performance is so deeply moving.
The back story behind this next piece is a devastating tragedy that occurred to the occupants of the fateful Alaska Airlines flight 261, who all perished after an accident. Fendrich at the time was not sure if one of those lost was someone she knew. The vocals are in Latin and create a truly memorable moment of heartfelt music, the sweeping string sections add to that, and allow this river of sadness to flow to its final destination of peace, thanks to this most emotional narrative we now know as In Memoriam.
Our last stop on this simply marvellous debut album by pianist Sharon Fendrich is called That September Day. I guess all of us have our memories of 9/11; I was live on radio at that time and had to hold it all together for hours describing all I saw. This has to one of the hardest tracks to have not only put together but also played, but Fendrich does it so well, and manifests along with the multi-instrumental and vocal nature of the composition, a perfect ending track, one that rounds off one of the best debut albums I think I have ever heard.
It seems a life time ago since we met up with the artist, and to now look at this amazing journey she has embarked upon literally brings tears of joy to my eyes, for in my view she has probably produced the perfect debut album, kudos to her team of other artists, all previously mentioned within this review as well.
The production quality and art work, each lush performance, yes it is all right here for you and done so brilliantly, that you’re going to want to be ready and waiting for the next album to arrive. Fendrich has created the perfect beginning for what we all hope is going to be an extremely long, happy and forth coming career for the artist. Red Sky Prairie is an album I am more than happy to recommend, no I will go further, I literally insist you buy it, truth being, said Neo Classical music simply doesn’t come any better than this.