Thursday, July 28, 2022

Album Review: Sapphire Oak by Sharon Fendrich

Review by Marilyn Torres

In her newest CD, Sapphire Oak, Sharon Fendrich utilizes her love of the natural world and her gift of composition, and invites us to explore the diverse nature and function of the oak and its landscape. 

In the first minute and a half of Sea of Oaks, we hear the cascading piano followed by the Irish whistle and then the fiddle and again the piano, giving the piece a circular motion as a soothing choir emerges and we again make our way to the individual instruments one by one as the circle closes in a dance like the falling leaves of an oak tree.

Leaves of Glory and The Grove at Dodona both begin with a similar morning dawn feel which rises into a full orchestral stretch before coming to rest on solid ground. Runic Roots and Call of the Ruins incorporate windswept sound, however while the former felt playful, with its picking of the string instruments like tiptoeing through a valley, Fendrich’s vocals in the latter, Call of the Ruins, lend it a celestial and emotional grasp.  

Fendrich’s creative composition produces another lively dance between the harp, the flute and the fiddle in The Oaken Door, while in Dryad’s Rejoice the harp sets the stage for the contemplative piano and Irish whistle.

The somewhat ominous opening in Of Badges and Crowns frames the piece as a call for reverence and honor. In contrast, Under Her Canopy gives the listener a fairy garden aura as Fendrich and her daughter Talia Valdes join in harmonious vocals taking us deep into the forest. 

To further showcase the artistic and intellectual virtuosity of Sharon Fendrich, the title piece, Sapphire Oak, features Fendrich singing her lyrics in the language of Ta’ek which Fendrich herself developed! 

In the final piece, Carry the Oak, the Irish whistle, the fiddle, and the piano collaborate once more to direct the flow of the piece as it gently carries the listener towards the powerful yet tender finale.

With grace and intelligence, Sharon Fendrich has produced a work encompassing the qualities of the beloved oak tree; strong, warm, expansive and serene.   

~Marilyn Torres for Auralscapes 

For more information please visit the artist's website. Sapphire Oak is also available at AmazonApple Music and more.