Outrageously sensitive, expressive, and evocative piano, violin, and “heavenly voices,” in a perfect conversation of beauty and harmony. – Dyan Garris
In life, we have that odd, ever-present juxtaposition between life and death. The joy that life brings will also inevitably also bring death, loss, and grief. And perhaps we are mourning the very impermanence of this life. Such is our tapestry here. The album, “Heavenly Voices,” a collaboration between Australian composer and pianist, Fiona Joy Hawkins, and Australian composer and violinist, Rebecca Daniel, expresses just that.
The studio album was recorded live in a single take at the end of their 2019 USA tour. It’s produced by Grammy® nominated producer Cookie Marenco for Blue Coast Records using proprietary E.S.E (Extended Sound Environment) recording techniques. Some of the pieces on “Heavenly Voices” are also on their album, “The Lightness of Dark,” but these are different versions, i.e., recorded as I already mentioned, released with Blue Coast Records, and sans The Kanimbla Quartet. This is piano, violin, and heavenly voices.
“Heavenly Voices” is 9 tracks and about 49 minutes, with a classical, yet otherworldly feel. Rebecca’s ultra-expressive violin performances glide effortlessly into, over, and through Fiona’s contemplative piano foundations. The recording is exquisite; a perfect conversation of beauty and harmony between the two.
The album opens with “Finding The Way Out.” I think we are all for that. Where is that door anyway? But it’s probably not what you think. The piece has a Celtic feel to it and a joyfulness, a celebration of life, perhaps. It’s a “way” into the light. Beautiful, engaging, and the perfect opening.
“Interwoven Threads of Chance” follows. Be sure to watch the video. It’s lovely. I believe this is about love and grief being forever intertwined in this strange dance of life we find ourselves in. Emotionally evocative and tugs at the heartstrings.
One of my favorites on this album is “Lake of Contemplation.” I love the graceful piano melody which is entwined in such a loving embrace with the violin; a violin that is played so expertly, it actually seems to be softly “speaking.” This is one that might move you to tears. Every single nuance is perfectly played and conveyed by both Fiona and Rebecca. This is, indeed, one for the playlist and one to listen to again and again.
Where are we before we arrive here? And where do we go after we depart here? “The Bit in the Middle” addresses this, I believe. This is an interesting and kind of “lively” piece. Fiona shines on the piano performance which makes good use of upper and lower registers. Expressive violin adds texture. Very nice.
Rebecca wrote the piece, “Elegy” in memory of her father. It’s a kind of requiem; a lament of the soul. This is somber, but not morose. There are highs and lows, just as in everyone’s life, of course.
“Sugar Plum Ghost” made me smile. It’s playful, spirited, and plucky. The “heavenly voices” give an ethereal quality, particularly at the end where we just float out. Sweet.
I would say that “The Lightness of Dark” explores our “plight” here. At 10-1/2 minutes, it’s an intricate song of changing moods and nuances. With the “heavenly voices” of both Fiona and Rebecca here, as well, this is poignant and artistically brilliant.
Flowing, scintillating piano, sensitively and passionately played, is accompanied by Rebecca’s equally passionate and sensitively played violin on “Ghosts Insanity Angels.” I believe the song is about grief. But again, it is at the very same time about life. Beautiful.
The album closes out with “Heavenly Voices.” At album’s end, this is, perhaps, a glimpse into the afterlife. There is always hope in both death and life and whatever comes after. The “voices” are lovely here, and indeed, heavenly and ethereal. A gentle ray of hope, and the perfect close.
Contemporary/classical music audiophiles everywhere, this is the album for you. Truly an exquisite recording.
Get “Heavenly Voices” here: https://bluecoastrecords.com/recording/heavenly-voices/
“Interwoven Threads of Chance” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glS93aW2RYM