Portraits by Brian Hagen

Album Review by New Age CD & New Age Notes Radio Staff

Lately, I notice that a lot of what we call “New Age” music has tended to have lost its melody line, morphing instead into the more ambient, meditative space. So, it is wonderful to find this delightfully melodic, sweet collection of solo piano compositions, “Portraits,” from Brian Hagen, come across my desk. The 15 pieces here are intended to depict relatable impressions of daily life, people, and various life experiences. It succeeds there, quite nicely, and the album is about an hour of relaxing piano, gracefully played.

Brian is a multi-keyboardist, composer, and arranger, residing near Madison, Wisconsin. He has released three albums so far, with “Portraits” (release date of February 16, 2022), being the 4th, and his first album of all original solo piano compositions.

Brian performs weekly at La Brioche, a fine dining restaurant in his local area. This makes perfect sense, as when I was listening to the album, I had the distinct impression of beautiful and relaxing dinner or cocktail music. However, along with a lovely and natural elegance here, there is also a collection of music – vignettes /portraits – that is distinctive and memorable.

Brian began playing the piano at the age of 4. As a music major at Illinois State University, he studied music composition with a disciple of Igor Stravinsky. As well, he learned electronic music production using classic analog synthesizers. Over the years, he diversified his musical styles and experiences in the genres of rock, jazz, and more, while living in the Chicagoland area.

Brian combines influences of both the classic and modern into his musical artistry. He has been, and is currently a featured artist, on such well-respected sites as Mainly Piano and Solo Piano Radio/Whisperings. His music is heard on all major streaming sites as well.

“Portraits” opens with the sparkling composition, “Iridescence,” which is as refreshing as bright, bubbly spring water. 3-1/2 minutes of sweetness and light, it’s the perfect opening for this album. Following is the equally melodic and flowing, “A Time For Love.” This is perfectly smooth and oh, so easy on the ears. “Finding The Stillness” is a relaxing tune with a wonderful melody and cadence to it. It’s a favorite on this album.

Space doesn’t permit the addressing of all 15 tracks, so here are some highlights: “Garden Duet” is uplifting, lilting, and fun. “You Are My Everything” nicely showcases Brian’s keyboarding skills. This is one to love, as it’s very melodic, tranquil, and beautiful as well.  “Forever Love” is romantic and sweet. “Through It All” is full of movement with another great melody and is certainly one for the playlist.

“Regrets” is a little somber, but not melancholy in any way. Another lovely melody. The tender and wistful, “The Love We Had, The Love We Lost,” is definitely another for the relaxation playlist. Peaceful, and again, melodic, this is very gentle and calming to the spirit, as is the very beautiful “After the Rain,” which is another “must have.”

There is so much more here to absolutely love and take deeply into your heart. I believe you will want to get the entire album, not just one little “portrait” or “snapshot.” There is a calming serenity and continuity to this whole album which is hard to come by.

The closing piece, aptly titled, “The Peace Within,” is gorgeous, and I’m going to put it at my ultimate favorite, if I must choose one. Yes, get the whole thing. Exceptionally beautiful solo piano sure to please all.

Release date: February 16, 2022

Listen and pre-order “Portraits” here:  https://brianhagenmusic.com/music

Press/Radio Contact:

Sherry Finzer

Higher Level Media


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