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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
Other reviews from The Sounding Board by R J Lannan:
  In The Garden by Seay, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 8/1/2016
  On Eagle Mountain by Todd Mosby, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 7/18/2016
  Dividing the Darkness by Steve Rivera, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 7/18/2016
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Into The Mist
By Fiona Joy
Label: Blue Coast Records
Released 6/2/2017
Into The Mist tracks
1. A Walk In The Park
2. Moon Over The Lotus Pond
3. Opus: Into The Mist (Part 1)
4. Opus: Mist Rising (Part 2)
5. Opus: Mist Before Dawn (Part 3)
6. Through Cloud
7. Feeling Sunshine
8. Grey Sky Morning
9. Galloping
10. The Void
No, I didn’t buy a piano.
Pianist Fiona Joy, Australia's favorite daughter has issued an outstanding album called Into the Mist. She has actually never sounded better and there is a reason for it. Let's get the Audiophile part out of the way. Her music is recorded on a double-layered hybrid disc that under certain condition, i.e. a compatible player, issues superb sound over a regular CD. My Denon player is such a machine and it sounded like I actually had an Australian piano player in my living room. The disc however, is playable on any type of machine, but it sparkles on the right equipment.

I have reviewed many of Fiona Joy's recordings and she improves with every issue. Her compositions are rich and precise, as well as complex and musically eloquent. Although she has offered many satisfying ensemble pieces over the years, she really distinguishes herself when she plays solo. Into the Mist is ten tracks of contemporary solo piano music that fills the soul in the most thoughtful way. Let's talk about her music.

I am fortunate enough to live in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains so I am more than familiar with mists, a daily occurrence in my region. Thanks to Fiona I have several pieces of music to add to my experiences. The album opens with the song A Walk in the Park and it is everything it should be. There is musical blue skies, sunshine, breezy zephyrs, and as many green leaves as the eyes needs to call it perfect. The tune had a cinematic feel to it combined with the sound of a new beginning.

When is there more light than you expect? When you hear the song, Moon Over The Lotus Pond, perhaps. The silvery moon is a romantic sight for the heart, but when you witness its mirror image, you are doubly blessed. Fiona's soft, silky melody has a wonderful sense of quietude, and dare I say it, reflection.

There is a suite of three works on the recording beginning with Opus: Into the Mist (Part 1). It is a thought provoking piece, gentle, flowing, sincere. The mists part like a curtain and you are invited into a tranquil world of your own making. The music says, ?Welcome." Part 2 is called Opus: Mist Rising. It is the shy one, tentative, and demure. But her beauty is unsurpassed. Using notes of ethereal quality, Fiona shapes her melody, but it is untenable and evasive. It slips through our grasp like gossamer, only to reappears into another one of our fantasies. The third work is called Opus: Mist Before Dawn. The mist is gold and silver with the sun rising behind it. It is the emotional treasure we seek and it is rewarded over and over as the melody unfolds, as it drifts, illuminated from within.

Grey Sky Morning is a downtempo ballad and perfect on the day I write this. The leaden sky promised rain and it delivered. The sun remained muted in the background as layers of clouds wafted across the overcast heavens. Sometimes the absence of color is all we need to put our thoughts into perspective.

Galloping is not as lively as the label describes, but it does have a strong movement and sophisticated subtlety to the music that encourages you to go forward. It was one of my favorites on the album. It had an inner strength to it that was inspiring.

Lastly, The Void something I may have heard before, finished the recording, but not the emotional journey. It was sort of the nadir of the CD, not without its refinements. The music was melancholic, but if you play the album full circle, it becomes part of the end and launches you into a new beginning. The sadness was bittersweet, but never final.

You can see Fiona in her "signature" pink dress on the cover art, ready to take the first step. Into the Mist, her twelfth recording, is her best to date. Every track is filled with an ephemeral passion that calms the soul. The incomparable quality of the music both technically and emotionally is uplifting and spiritually liberating.


Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 9/7/2017
 
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