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RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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Red Sky Prairie
By Sharon Fendrich
Label: Self Released
Released 8/1/2019
Red Sky Prairie tracks
1. L’dor Vador  
2. A Secret’s Song  
3. Within Whispers  
4. Red Sky Prairie  
5. Song of the Dove  
6. Never Alone  
7. Moonswept  
8. Bittersweet Memory  
9. Last Tears  
10. In Memoriam  
11. That September Day  
Red Sky Prairie
Sharon Fendrich
Red Sky Prairie
Pianist and composer Sharon Fendrich offers eleven warm, delicate, and delightful pieces on her new album Red Sky Prairie. Her lavish compositions are a mixture of contemporary themes with just a hue of cinematic undertones. Many of the tracks feature the rich, melodic voice of Anna Emelyanova. She gives the album a touch of the seraphic. In addition, joining Sharon’s delightful piano arrangements are Helen Hendriks on flute and Ies Muller on Irish flute. Joep Willems plays cello and Wilfred Sassen plays violin. Over all the light ensemble pieces are a testament to the texture and beauty that make up the fabric that is America’s heartland. Each of the works are vignettes that were created by memories in Sharon’s life. Through her amazing music, we are witness to her deepest thoughts and most vivid impressions.
L’Dor Vador is a musical chronology. It is the history passed on from one generation to the next, sometimes in stories, sometimes in song. This time it is song. Sharon not only connects with her past in this soaring ballad, but perhaps, her future as well.
A Secret’s Song is an inviting piano foray into places unknown. The cello in the background is like the voice of an old friend. The mysteries of the memory, the yearnings of the heart, or the very soul of a lover can be discovered by the connection to the music. Sharon’s song is nostalgically warm and sublimely comforting.
Within Whispers is a slow, calming piece. Flute and cello balance with the piano in a spiraling number softer than the wind, but stronger than breath. The introspective tune is contemplative in its complexity. The music has movement, like a river of thought running through your mind. Unhindered, clear, ever flowing.
A clap of thunder, a storm in the distance and the title tune Red Sky Prairie begins. Through Sharon’s magnificent melody, you can imagine endless plains, clouds that take on the vermillion hues of dusk, and if you listen closely, you can hear her joyful tidings on the wind. Fendrich’s neo-symphonic tale is bold, breathtaking, and perfect for getting to know the stories of her heartland journey.
Never Alone is a prayer. Simple and from the heart, it is sung in Spanish, English, and Yiddish.
“Help us and Save us.
I Beg You.
Guide us to safety.”
Even the most simple of prayers requires a fervent heart and this prayer has that in every note. Sharon’s tune is solemn making Emelyyanova’s voice reverent and with tremendous passion.
Any reference to September is obvious in our history here in the United States. Sharon’s tune, That September Day is sad. Not quite two decades later, tears still fall, hearts remain unmended, and memories are still etched with an acid so much stronger than grief. This heart wrenching song is a lamentation with a modicum of hope, something we need each and every day.
I liked all eleven cuts on Red Sky Prairie. There is a gentleness about the album as if every song was touched by a special kind of love. It is something rare these days. The mix of vocals and instrumentals offered enough variety that made you not only listen more, but also listen more closely on the next go around for every nuance that Sharon Fendrich tenderly cached in the notes. – R J Lannan, Artisan Music Reviews
Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by Sharon Fendrich on 8/22/2019
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