The Grand Piano Spa” by Darlene Koldenhoven

Album Review by Dyan Garris

The phenomenally gifted songbird is just as talented on her piano as with her unmistakable and remarkable voice. ‘The Grand Piano Spa,’ Darlene Koldenhoven’s first beautiful solo piano album, is a most welcome respite to the soul and a shining ray of sparkling light in a murky sea. Truly grand. – Dyan Garris

Darlene Koldenhoven is a Grammy® winner who is well known for her voice. I’m not sure that many know her for her piano skills. I did not. “The Grand Piano Spa” is Darlene’s first solo piano album, borne out of the isolation of the 2020 pandemic lockdowns.  This is 9 tracks of truly wonderful spa music and some of the most relaxing piano music you will hear. Warm and luxurious these songs are, just like that spa feeling we love. And just like a visit to the spa, we come out of this album positively glowing and relaxed.  A short album at 38 minutes, this is most refreshing, warm, delicate and inviting, and a “must have” for any relaxation experience.

The album opens with the very lovely, flowing and whimsical, “Wisteria.” One can almost see these pretty purple flowers blowing gently in the breeze or perhaps placed in elegant vases at the entrance to a spa. This really puts us directly in the mood for all things “spa.” Gorgeous, darling. “Into the Light” is lovely as well and played with sensitivity and grace. Delphi was a sacred spiritual site in ancient Greece.  Not unlike that place, “Delphi’s Dream” is deep and mysterious with a beautiful flow and intriguing melody. Very nicely done.

A favorite is “Quiet Read.” This is a wonderful retreat with a memorable melody that instantly relaxes the spirit. Last Spring, when I believe this song was written, most of us were on lockdown. “Spring Dance” is another uplifting and flowing piece that reminds us there really is a Spring, after all. It’s a promise and a renewal.  Love this.

A reverie is a daydream. We can easily get lost in the song, “Reverie,” which is extremely calming and soothing. There’s a nice balance between upper and lower registers of the piano here. Perfect cadence as well. Wonderful.

A soliloquy is essentially a monologue where one is talking to oneself. Such was understandably so during those strange moments of lockdown. This is a somewhat somber piece, but not morose. Just contemplative. And, like every other song here, it’s peaceful and relaxing, bringing the listener an almost instantaneous calm. This is masterfully done.

“Clover Fields” is gentle, tender, and optimistic. This is one of those songs, too, where you can almost hear lyrics where there are none. Again, masterful artistry and fabulous composition.

The album closes out with the expressive, “Simple Life.” This is rhythmic, melodic, and sophisticated, without being ostentatious in any way.  It’s a reverent, elegant, gentle “goodbye.” We don’t want to say “goodbye.” But here, we know we shall somehow meet again.

“The Grand Piano Spa” is as classy as it gets.

Pre-order / order here: darlenekoldenhoven.com/tgps

“The Grand Piano Spa” companion piano songbook will be available for download as a separate purchase at Darlene’s website: https://www.darlenekoldenhoven.com/

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