In the short
but informative sleeve notes, Hawaiian-based
composer David Hicken says, "My intention is to
produce music that provides a sense of reflection,
joy, peace, harmony and hope." Mission accomplished
as far as this reviewer is concerned. "Goddess" is
the stunning first part of a trilogy of themed
recordings (the others being "Angels" and the 2008
release "Faeries") and fulfills all the criteria
that makes a CD a Piano-Heaven award winner.
originally from England, UK, has an undisputed gift
in his ability to create timeless melodies that
reach out to the heart of the soul. His
piano-playing is as gentle as can be: this is music
for spas, clinics or indeed for the purposes of
general relaxation in the home or work-place.
Each of the
twelve tracks on this CD is, as the title would
suggest, named after a Goddess. The CD opens with
the lovely "Lakshmi"- the Hindu Goddess of
prosperity. It is very much in the style of Kevin
Kern, and is instantly appealing with its sweet
melody. Gentle, yet uplifting, this is a beautiful
opening to a CD in which every track oozes natural
appeals for many reasons, not least because there
are a number of styles contained within the twelve
tracks- and yet the composer's trademark ear for
melody and soporific qualities are never lost. The
style of Michael Hoppé ("The Parting") instantly
sprang to mind as I listened to the album's second
track, Kuan Yin- the Chinese Goddess of compassion.
A calming, more beautiful piece you'd be hard
pressed to hear.
the Egyptian warrior Goddess, provides confirmation-
not that it was needed- of the CD's remarkable
ability to de-stress and relax the listener. Another
beautiful melody takes hold, and the listener is
invited to take their own soothing journey.
fourth cut, "Aphrodite", is very appropriately
named. The Goddess of love and beauty would surely
be nodding her head in approval within the clouds
above Mount Olympus.
appealing is "Sarasvati", the Hindu Goddess of the
arts. It is whilst listening to this track, I
realised this musician's ability to end his pieces
in a delightful way- David's compositions don't
merely fade out; the endings themselves are
mini-works of art.
Babylonian Goddess of the moon- maintains the
album's highly-melodic standards and relaxing
qualities. A very appealing melody caresses the
listener from start to finish.
In an album
full of highlights, it takes some doing to select a
favourite- but, difficult though it was, a selection
has been made. "Isis" (the Egyptian moon Goddess),
is the album's seventh cut, and I simply love this
piece. Almost minimalist in form, "Isis" is achingly
beautiful. Not a note is wasted. Totally
uncluttered, this slow-tempo track would be perfect
for Spas and other relaxation retreats. The melody's
variations within the piece ensure it will never
lose its appeal. The crystal-clear qualities of the
upper register of the piano also serve to
demonstrate the impeccably high standards of
production within the recording, and maybe also hint
at the unspoiled waters within and around this
a simple, memorable melody and is named after the
Celtic sun and moon fertility Goddess.
CD is remarkably consistent in that every track is a
winner, and there are absolutely no fillers
contained within this album. As if evidence was
needed, the reader is invited to sample "Ostara"-
Teutonic Goddess of fertility and Springtime. It is
another beautiful, soothing piece that holds instant
appeal from the very first listen.
Eskimo and Alaskan Goddess of the ocean- begins
comparatively upbeat, but any gentle waves soon
calm, and the track is another for drifting into
one's own world.
penultimate track, "Diana", captures the Roman moon
Goddess. A gently rolling piece, "Diana" is perfect
for meditating and again features one of David's
elegant, yet simple, endings.
apparently the Hawaiian Goddess of fire and
volcanoes. One might think that this cut would be
significantly different in terms of dynamics or
tempo when considering the subject matter, but
nothing could be further from the truth. Clearly,
Pele is at rest here. Perhaps she has been listening
to David's album. It is a lovely way to close a
artwork is definitely worthy of mention, and is most
appropriate to the album. It features Queen Madbh,
by artist Howard David Johnson. I was captivated.
"Goddess" is a
tremendous album. Fans of relaxing, melodic piano
music will lap up this CD. A relative newcomer on
the scene, David Hicken deserves to become a
house-hold name, and it can only be hoped that the
Grammy panel are made aware of this composer, as he
is blessed with enormous talent.