Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs by Pam Asberry
Album Review by Dyan Garris for New Age CD, Zone Music Reporter, and Spirit Seeker Magazine
Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs is a refreshing escape from all that ails you. It’s something special, a souvenir, you can take home with you and keep in your heart. — Dyan Garris
Gentle and refined, yet passionate, the music of solo pianist Pam Asberry is inspired by her travels, memories, and feelings. “Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs” is her 5th album release.
Pam was awarded Best New Artist 2018, and Best New Holiday Album 2019, by Enlightened Piano Radio. Pam’s music can be heard on Whisperings Solo Piano Radio, Enlightened Piano Radio, Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, SiriusXM, and elsewhere.
Pam is a classically trained pianist whose training began at the age of 7-years old. She completed a master’s degree in piano performance and piano pedagogy. She maintains a private teaching studio near Atlanta, Georgia.
This album pays tribute to, and is mainly inspired by, the Czech composer Zdeněk Fibich who was popular when Czech nationalism was at its height. The album title, “Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs,” bears the same title as an extensive collection of nearly four-hundred piano pieces written by Fibich.
Pam’s “Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs,” is 11 original solo piano pieces, also inspired by her own travel, memories, and feelings. The compositions on the album are composed in a variety of styles. What shines brightly throughout the album is her sensitive, velvety, yet quite precise touch on the keys, and her perfect cadence, which is par excellence. Pam has a genuine talent for painting lush “travelscapes” with her music.
The album opens with the somber, yet unforgettably elegant, “Praha Fantasy.” A reflection on the many wonders of Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, it’s a nice, relaxing “mood” to begin this lovely album.
Following is the gentle, playful, and gliding, “Swimming with Stingrays.” This is a “musical memory” of an experience she had interacting with these interesting creatures while visiting Grand Cayman Island.
Next, we are skillfully carried back to the city of Prague with “The Astronomical Clock.” The actual clock tells the time and date, shows astronomical and zodiacal information, and provides forty-five seconds of mechanical theater every hour. How fascinating. Here, in this composition, Pam has perfectly captured and portrayed exactly what it must be like to experience this clock. Magnificent, truly.
In music, the term, adagio means “played slowly.” The song, “Adagio,” on this album, is a personal favorite, not because it’s played slowly, but because it’s gorgeous and relaxing. This a flowing, atmospheric melody, tinged with a bit of bittersweet and moody melancholy. Not maudlin or morose, I found this quite soothing to the spirit.
“Reminiscence” has that romantic feel as in, perhaps, an enjoyable recollection of a long-forgotten, gentle, loving, experience; a sweet memory to be sure. It’s like a calming lullaby. At just over 4 minutes, it could have gone on forever as far as I’m concerned. This is wonderful, and it’s definitely one for the relaxation playlist.
Skillfully, then, we are transported to the wild jungles of Belize, through “Cry from Lamanai.” This is a musing about what life might have been like in the ancient Mayan city of Lamanai. Here’s another one to completely love, with masterful use of both upper and lower registers. What a great piece!
The “day-dreamy,” yet not “ungrounding” composition, “Floating,” perfectly showcases Pam’s classical training. This is melodic and ultra-relaxing. Let’s all float.
Returning fully to the Earth, we find ourselves on a musical journey across the historic Charles Bridge that crosses the Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic. What makes this even more interesting is that construction began on the Charles Bridge at a specific time and that time formed a palindrome. It was done purposely by Roman Emperor Charles IV. For those that do not know, A palindrome is a word, phrase, number, or sequence of words or numbers that read the same backward as forward. Pam has, among other things, brilliantly captured the palindrome impression in this composition. Yes, both brilliant and fascinating.
“Reverie” takes us immediately into an enjoyable mood where we can let go and feel swept up in nothing but pleasurable thoughts. This is also a favorite on the album. Flowing, gentle, and downright pleasant all around.
If you thought we weren’t going anywhere else, you were mistaken. “October in Paris” is a perfectly executed waltz through that great city on a fresh fall day. Again, we have that velvety, gentle touch on the keys, which is also confidently precise. We are there.
The album closes out with, “White Poppy.” The white poppy was first used as a symbol for peace in 1926, by those who supported ending all war. It also represents the remembrance of victims of war. The song is a soft lament but also, a very gentle, delicate invitation to the deglamorizing of war and a solid commitment to peace among all peoples. A wonderful close to this wonderful album. Not to be missed for solo piano lovers everywhere.
Get it here: www.pamasberry.com
Higher Level Media