Casey Crosby is a pianist, computer and conductor. He's had a long and varied career, but has shifted to work as a solo concert pianist. Crosby, a native of California, has moved around a lot and is now based in Zurich, Switzerland. This winsome solo piano album has songs that convey feelings around the end of autumn, the changing landscape and shorter days. Casey is a skilled and thoughtful pianist with a confident touch.
There are thirteen tracks. The album begins with Marlogue Wood, a soft melodic song, followed by Listen to the Sweet Song of the River, an introspective piece that evokes a natural setting. The title track November is next. This song is more declarative and emphatic. The texture and rhythms are varied here, slightly more upbeat and hopeful. Track 4: Indian Summer unfolds at a slow walking pace and reflects lurking feelings of regret during the final warm days of the year.
Track 5: The Time of Silence is an unusual piece. It begins with hesitation, as though ideas or feelings aren't quite ready for expression, or what has to be said is faced with reluctance. When the melody drops into the bass end of the piano it gains a sense of command and certainty. Track 6: Thanksgiving is reminiscent of an old hymn. It's a reminder of the meaning of the annual traditions in our lives, and the mile markers of each year.
The musical statements evolve through the album. Track 7: The Whisper that Shatters the Silence is a turbulent, dramatic statement that takes advantage of the rich bass notes of the piano. Crosby pulls back on Track 8: Hymn. This nicely bookends the previous piece with a stately, solemn song. Track 9: Chasing Fireflies harks back to the light-hearted joys of summer, but it also gives a sense of watching sparks flying up the flue of a fireplace. Track 10: The Shadows that Surround Us conveys the sense of colder, shorter days, the frosty nip in the air that warns creatures to prepare for winter hibernation. Track 11: Evening Prayer echoes the themes of earlier hymn-like pieces on the album, although it's lighter and a bit melancholy. Track 12: Guetnachtgschichtil is a lullaby reminiscent of Schubert or Schumann, fully equipped with fluttering notes and descending thirds. The final Track 13: A Fond Farewell offers a sweet yet bittersweet goodbye to the autumn. Things become increasingly still and slow. Plant growth stops to rest through the winter. The textures in the middle of the song give the impression that the first snow has arrived.
I like this album. The music varies in texture, intensity, harmonic content, depth and the range of compositional ideas being expressed. It deftly avoids monotony while remaining true to the album's theme. Crosby's performances are passionate and skillful and the production values are consistently good. Recommended.
~review by Elizabeth Hazel
Artist: Casey Crosby
13 tracks, 62 minutes
CD $39.53, mp3 $9.49.