Reviewed by Cathy Oakes
In her debut CD, Mountain’s Majesty, Darla Bower brings us nine tracks straight from her heart. These pieces represent the struggles, the beauty the ugliness and the victories of this experience called life. Drawing from inspiration she found in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado, Ms. Bower uses notes instead of oils and canvas to paint pictures. She says that each piece is a musical picture of a life experience. Recorded and mastered by Michael Logozar, this CD may hail from the heart of Texas, but it finds its roots deep in Rocky Mountain Nation Park in Colorado.
The first track, “Tina’s Dance” was written for her beloved dog, who literally danced on her hind feet. Sadly, Tina passed away. Her ashes are scattered in Rocky Mountain National Park. I love the Alberti bass in this piece and the music box feel, including the “winding down” at the end.
The title track, “Mountain’s Majesty” expresses the awe and majesty of the Rocky Mountains. Underlying the majesty is a portrait of the painful experiences we have in life and a reminder that even in the midst of the worst of times, we are surrounded by the beauty and awesomeness of God’s creation. This is one of my favorites on this CD.
Another favorite, “Sunset” was the first piece Darla composed. It was inspired by and depicts the simple colors, but brilliant hues of a Rocky Mountain sunset. She says that this piece also represents those we have loved and lost – those relationships on which the sun has set. It is a very emotional piece.
“Starry Night” was inspired by Job 38:7, which says that the stars “sing together.” Ms. Bower pointed out that even NASA has proven that the stars give off harmonic vibrations and therefore, truly do sing! She was inspired to write this piece while staring at the stars in the mountains and being overwhelmed by their number and the fact that they seemed so close that she felt she could reach up and touch them.
“Broken Pieces” paints a picture of a completely broken life and the scattered pieces that result from that. Darla says that Michael (the engineer) advised her to “get angry” when she recorded this piece.
I love the “Chopin Medley.” Darla weaves in and out of several Chopin waltzes in this piece. She plays them masterfully and artistically.
Ms Bower finishes her CD with her version of three well-known hymns, “It Is Well With My Soul,” “Come Thou Almighty King” and “Just As I Am,” which is woven together with an original composition. She says that she included those just for her and God as an act of worship.
Darla says that sometimes, life’s experiences are simply overwhelming. She found herself unable to put her thoughts and feelings into words, but tried to put them into music. I believe she did this beautifully. She shows great potential and promise as a composer and artist. She says that she doesn’t know whether or not she will ever record another CD. I, for one, certainly hope she does and am looking forward to hearing what else she has in store for us. Well done, Ms. Bower. Excellent first effort! Keep up the good work!
Reviewed By Pam Asberry
Described by composer Darla Bower as “a mellow piano piece for relaxation and reflection,” “November Skies” was written to reflect her love of the fall season and the month of November in particular. Slow paced and gently rocking, with tinkling cascades of sound like leaves drifting from the trees, the music is somber without quite being sad and took me back to gray fall afternoons spent walking through the woods, a smoky chill in the air, reminiscing about years past and mentally preparing for the long winter to come. The cover art, a sunset photo taken by the artist’s husband in the Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, is the perfect complement to the single. This is an absolute jewel of a composition. Don’t miss it!