Dan’s Chadburn’s love and passion for music, and compassion for humanity, shines clearly through in this, his 7th improvisational solo piano album. “Held in the Light” is 13 tracks from Dan’s heart to ours, consisting of ten improvised arrangements of traditional hymns and three original studio improvisations. The album is almost one hour of feeling like you are fully supported and embraced by the Light. It’s something to lose yourself in, something to immerse yourself in, and yet find yourself in at the same time. The album effortlessly evokes a sense of deep and profound peace and transports you to a place where you just know without any doubt that all is well. And it is. You are held in the light.
The album opens blissfully with Dan’s improvised version of the traditional hymn, “Breathe on Me, Breath of God.” Simple, yet at the same time, complex, not unlike the nature of humanity, it’s an English Christian hymn that was penned by Edwin Hatch in the late 1800s. It’s a tribute to God, the giver of life, and speaks to the creation of man through the spiritual breath of God. It’s the perfect song to begin this album. But in this version, if you didn’t know it was a hymn, you wouldn’t know it was a hymn. Dan’s interpretation honors this “creation energy” perfectly and cuts across any and all religious boundaries to embrace all that is Light. The whole album is that way.
“Be Thou My Vision,” a traditional hymn from Ireland, follows as track 2 and again, what we feel here is just the love.
Dan’s rendition of “Amazing Grace” on track 3 is a purely lovely, heartfelt, and unique interpretation of this beloved, classic, and well-recognized hymn.
Track 4, “Wondrous Love,” is my favorite track on the album. So peaceful and soothing, it’s certainly one to play over and over again.
“Love Divine,” track 5, is aptly named, as it is indeed divine. It’s also a great showcase for Dan’s impeccable timing and graceful sensitivity. Here we feel as one with the Divine just as surely as Dan is one with the instrument.
Track 7, “Lo, How a Rose,” is another personal favorite. In Christianity, this is a familiar and beloved Advent hymn. Dan’s rendition is just amazingly beautiful, perfectly capturing the essence and purity of a rose and all of its symbolism.
The “Breath of Life” improvisation as track 9, was born in a live studio performance where Dan asked the audience to pick a note and a key. Hence, “Breath of Life” in the key of C sharp minor was birthed right then and there.
Soft, tender, and gentle, the title track “Held in the Light,” is interestingly and very well placed as the last track on the album. It is the perfect ending to a light-filled album that you’d certainly like never to end at all, but rather, have it go on into forever. And maybe it does, as the love emanating from this album will stay in your soul long after the music stops playing.
In my opinion, Dan Chadburn is one of the most important solo piano artists of our time. “Held In The Light,” is outstanding and definitely not to be missed. Exceptionally beautiful solo piano. ~ Dyan Garris, New Age CD.com
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