Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Starlight Dreams by Karen Biehl

Classically trained in piano and violin with a master’s degree in vocal performance, composer Karen Biehl combines romantic neoclassicism with new age sensibilities on her stunning showcase of piano instrumentals titled Starlight Dreams.

Comprised of 13 elegant compositions spanning approximately 45 minutes, Starlight Dreams paints serenely nocturnal images throughout its intricately woven piano passages. Conveying a sense of both drama and minimalism, Biehl’s interlocking melodies of seamlessly alternating major and minor keystrokes often boldly fluctuate in tempo amid gracefully agile and winding figures.

One of my favorite pieces on the album is the enchantingly mysterious “Chanson Des Vents”, which slightly tends towards a more exotic scale. Perfectly evocative of the cover artwork, I can easily imagine the composer playing by an open window at night to a soft breeze by the moonlight.

Biehl has also included two subtle variations of another gorgeous piece called “Meditation on a Moonlit Lake”. The first of these two is entirely solo piano, while the longer closing version incorporates glistening bell-tones and breezy synth-textures, imbuing the composition with a more ‘new age’ essence. This "full version", as it's subtitled, gets my vote as one of the most beautiful piano pieces composed in recent memory.

Likewise easily among the best piano releases I've heard this year, Starlight Dreams elegantly unfolds like instrumental poetry set in the Victorian era. Similarly conveying an air of feminine mystique, at times the album recalls a bit of Suzanne Ciani’s iconic Pianissimo works. Best suited for playing in the evenings or late at night, Starlight Dreams is highly recommended to fans of both contemporary and neoclassical piano music! ~Candice Michelle

For more information, please visit the artist's website. This album is also available at Amazon, iTunes and other retail & streaming platforms.