Saturday, November 12, 2011

CD Review – Red Leaf, Grey Sky: Piano Improvisations, by Catherine Marie Charlton

Sometimes less truly is more, as exemplified by Catherine Marie Charlton’s latest album, a short but effective collection of six piano performances.

Quantity does not necessarily translate into quality, and while Charlton’s release may be short in the former, it is bountiful in the latter. The entire CD unfolds in less than thirty minutes, but it is so pleasantly engaging that you can enjoy it twice as many times as a full-length album that may not be as enjoyable.

The great thing about a short album such as this is that you don’t have to skip to your favorite tracks if you’re pressed for time. And every song on this album is so delightful that you can listen to the CD in its entirety several times over.

Of the six tracks, Charlton composed two and improvised the rest, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to the album. Every song has a solid and intricate structure to it. None of the tracks meander; they’re all tight and to the point, all the while displaying a sense of playfulness and quiet beauty.

The last song, “The Sun Is Shining, The Birds Are Singing,” is a slight departure from the rest of the collection as the composition is very quirky and truly does personify how one might feel when the sun is actually shining and the birds are actually singing, which could also serve as an apt description of the general disposition of the album.

--Raj Manoharan

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