Wednesday, June 2, 2021

New Release: The Grand Piano Spa by Darlene Koldenhoven

Review by Lissette Cascante

Darlene’s impressive and diverse resume includes everything from her starring role as a nun in the hit comedy film Sister Act alongside Whoopi Goldberg, to her stunning soprano vocal performances with Yanni: Live at the Acropolis – not to mention her beautiful repertoire of widely-acclaimed new age, classical crossover and contemporary instrumental music. 

The first week of its release, Darlene Koldenhoven‘s solo piano album, The Grand Piano Spa debuted at Number 4 on the Billboard Classical Crossover Albums Chart week of May 29, 2021. 

This should come as no surprise as I have always found her music to be instrumentally beautiful and gently uplifting. It had been quite a while since I heard such a graceful, soul-soothing piano album. Hearing pure piano flow from Darlene’s fingertips truly exults her talents as a pianist-composer and her gifts in musical artistry. 

The whimsical tunes entwined in “Wisteria” for example, the album’s opening track, reinforces itself as a pleasant experience in the stems of our senses. With a sort of classic George Winston vibe, it creates emotions of joyful and carefree days.

The minor keys in “Into the Light”, the second track, conjure up a more contemplative, inner mysticism, like one approaching reverently the early morning of a new day. 

“Delphi’s Dream” to me is like a constant stream of inner solitude and serenity. This piece slowly twirls and spins as crystalline notes dance around the main melodic centerpiece. Repeating piano keys throughout seem to encircle a scene in foggy, dreamy sequence.

In “Quiet Read” Darlene manages to create the quiet space we all crave at times in the sole company of a good book.

Again, she magically succeeds in conjuring up images for us with the beautifully titled track “Spring Dance”. The flutter of butterflies perhaps, birds chirping, flowers blooming; nature blossoming and dancing all around us in the spring.

“Reverie”, my favorite track on the album, with its enchanting melody is like a meditative journey on a slow river, calming all fear of the unknown.

Our innermost thoughts are exquisitely expressed in “Soliloquy” as the extended key throughout the song seems to speak for the listener in the background of the melody. In “Clover Fields” the artist invites us to be present and enjoy the scenes of beauty and contentment the flowing melody creates for us as we walk “audibly” or perhaps even physically or virtually through “fields of clover.”
And finally, the last track contains the most important message in the entire album for me: “Simple Life” is a lovely musical reminder to cherish the simpler things in life. To “disconnect” from the noise and clutter of the material world and be more conscious in every experience, and just enjoy the simple things in life – like listening to beautiful, relaxing piano music… 

The Grand Piano Spa is one of the most graceful and mesmerizing piano albums of the year! 

~Lissette Cascante for Aural Awakenings

To get this album please visit Darlene Koldenhoven's  website. Her music is also available through Amazon, iTunes, Bandcamp and more.