Saturday, August 7, 2010

CD Review -- Revelation, by David Nevue

Lifestyle Music Award-winning and New Age Reporter chart-topping pianist David Nevue’s latest collection of solo piano recordings was deeply inspired by his Christian faith. The good news is that you don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy and appreciate his talents for composition, arrangement, and performance.

Revelation provides a generous sampling of hymnal standards given a unique spin by Nevue, as well as some of his own originals. No familiarity with the covers is needed to enjoy them because, as is the case with any good work of art, regardless of their inspiration, they are simply beautiful pieces of music.

Christian or not, most people, especially baby boomers, might be familiar with the opening track, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” since it was the theme for the 1950s claymation television series Davey and Goliath. Nevue doesn’t play it exactly like the original, but the tune is recognizable enough that it’s a kick to hear Nevue’s own interpretation of it. Nevue also provides a kind of hipster sensibility for “Blessed Assurance,” which is comparable to Vince Gauraldi’s jazzy treatment of “Oh Christmas Tree” on A Charlie Brown Christmas. The most stirring original composition on the album is “The Mystery and the Glory,” the title of which is very indicative of the feel of the track and serves as an appropriate and effective contemplation of anything the listener might find mysterious and glorious.

The only people I can think who could really take issue with these covers are Christian fundamentalists, who might view Nevue’s liberties with the material as sacrilegious. That would be absurd because, as storied and steeped in tradition as they are, these standards were written by mere mortals after all.

The subtitle indicates that these recordings are for prayer and meditation, and they are thus useful for such purposes by people of any faith, creed, or persuasion. Regardless of the muse or context in which they are created, good works of art allow people to create their own context for how they receive them, thus ensuring the universal appeal of such art. David Nevue’s incomparable and unquestionable talents as demonstrated on his superb new release fit the bill perfectly.

--Raj Manoharan

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