Piano-Heaven Award Winner:


David Hicken

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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.

David, 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 charm.

This CD 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.

"Sekhmet", 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.

The CD's 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.

Equally 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.

"Ishtar"- 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 composer's homeland.

"Aine" features a simple, memorable melody and is named after the Celtic sun and moon fertility Goddess.

David Hicken's 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.

"Sedna"- Inuit 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.

Goddess' 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.

"Pele" is 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 perfect CD.

The cover 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.






... David Hicken Releases "Goddess"


David Hicken




David Hicken



Listen to Isis-

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