Thursday, September 10, 2020

Thinking of You By David J. Peña


Thinking of You


David J. Peña

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I had felt in the need today of something filled with a little passion to blow away the stresses and strains of 2020, and boy did I get that with this illustrious new album by David J. Peña entitled Thinking of You, with orchestral arrangement composed by Judah Earl.

We start this most emotive of journeys with a piece entitled Renaissance, this is a beautifully fluent composition that has a subtle hint and flavours of music from ancient times contained within. The build and progression here from its soft start is marvellous, and something to behold, and of course the perfect starting offering.

Serenity is our next port of call, something we all need these days, the performance is very mood filled and emotional, the symphonic gestures are most agreeable, and once more that attentive build within the arrangement is exciting to follow. If there was ever a track that could be used as a film score from the album it is this one.

Next up is a composition entitled Piangere Per Te which I think translated means “Cry For You”; my emotions were activated and I was taken back to the early 70’s and a track called Mockingbird from Barclay James Harvest. This is a truly amazing musical opus of great sadness and reflection, the strings and piano combined with the orchestration made this for me the stand out offering off the album, yes indeed, one of many.

On Wild and Free, there was a wonderful sense of lightness to the song; the energy of performance too was glowing and ebullient, this would be one of those pieces that you would request to hear played at a live concert. Peña’s representation here was powerful, cinematic and utterly brilliant.

On the horizon, we now see Smoke Signals Rising. The only problem I have here, is that just when I think I have heard my favourite track, then along comes another one and blows it away. This dominant yet moving opus has it all, a glorious orchestration that is sublimely arranged, and a compositional structure that just keeps you moving at full pace, almost like riding a musical horse at full pelt across a dusty prairie.

As we reach the half way juncture we come across a dedication with the track Good Day - Uzziah's Song. The tempo and construction here are beautifully crafted and an utter pleasure to listen to. Peña’s performance here is majestically delicate, but with a positive intensity to its narrative.

Grace sees us move into the latter half of the release. This is a track with such a sensitive nature, that it literally draws great emotion from the listener as we create our own images and beauty from the music. This has to be one of the most serene and compositionally beautiful tracks off the album, and one that just flows like an autumn stream in full flow.

We now move forever onward, and into a garden of musical delights known as Mystify, for me there was a colourful energy of an almost wonderland of a narrative, perhaps not one that Alice walked through, but this symphonic moment of genius reminded me greatly, of something we would have heard from David Arkenstone many years ago.

A moment of quiet is upon us at the start of this new offering entitled Farewell, the gentle and soothing piano manifests such a tranquil mood, and the hovering intensity of the orchestration gives us the perfect opportunity to ride the waves of this utterly transcendent composition.

Thinking of You, yes it is time to unveil the title track. This is the ultimate musical canvas with which the artist builds all that is around him. The crafted development soon flows into a soundtrack of a musical narrative, reminds me in parts of something we may have once heard drifting across the fields of the shires on the road to Rivendell. Here you will find a very classy composition, one filled with a performance that will rivet you to the spot, and demand to be listened to.

As we approach the last few musical meadows of the album, it is time for another dedicational offering, this time it is given to us as, Anaiah's Song. This one is quite a breath taking opus as it seems to be packed with joyous refrains and textured passages, which make this offering such an endearing composition.

So, we have now arrived at the penultimate offering off the album and it is entitled Yesteryear. I felt a certain familiarity with this piece, perhaps because I had been thinking about summer’s days with my parents recently, but yesterday does have its own soundtrack, and this is probably it. An upbeat progression can be found here, but one that morphs so cleverly into a virtual memory palace of melody and tone.

Our last port of call is on the shoreline of the album and is entitled Lighthouse. The tranquillity of the start seems to build like the waves around the lighthouse themselves, and one could easily envisage many small sailing boats with their sails unfurled scurrying around the bay, in what is simply the perfect ending song to finish the album with.

Thinking of You by David J. Peña is just what the genre of piano with instrumentation needed right now, it is jam packed with top class compositions and arrangements, it is overflowing with musical melodies that will be running around in your head for days on end, it is almost impossible to see a scenario where this album is not part of one’s musical collection, this release is that good.

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