Walking To You
Reviewed by Donovan Johnson
Our latest review is for Rachel Currea and her newest recording, “Walking To You.” Rachel is a piano artist based in Miami FL, and creatively she bring something to the table that is refreshingly gentle and reflective. Her touch at the piano is a rather tame one, very domesticated. She strongly excels in bringing out the melody with her right hand while the left hand supports that melody with a perfect flow throughout. As for the album itself, “Walking To You” represents this style extremely well, interjecting along the way elements of classical and romantic era chord progressions and ornamentations. When we couple these things with Rachel’s contemporary composition style, we have a result that is sweet and contemplative. While it’s not an album that I would call nostalgic by any means, there are occasionally hints of sentimentality that take us back for a moment, before bringing us almost as quickly to return to the moment at hand. Most of the time, compositions such as these will dwell in one sensation or the other, and I found this to be another of Rachel’s unique compositional signatures.
The first of my preferred tracks on this album occurs about a third of the way through it and is titled “Hear Me Now.” This track is an honest and true composition, moving from place to place, unexpectedly changing it’s feel, and telling us a story. The melody, while clearly present, is somewhat elusive in the way that it ebbs and flows throughout the piece. It has a haunting melody, that almost sounds like it’s calling at you from a distant place. From about a quarter of the way through the piece the tone becomes hurried and anxious, before settling to become a lush and full rubato of broken chords in both hands. This is a really effective transition from the melancholy introduction of the piece, and acts once again as a bridge to the ending when there is a return to the “anxious” progression that previously took place. This time, the bridge leads us not to something lush and full but instead dark, agitated, and powerful. The piece ends very strongly on two loud and commanding chords, which is surprisingly contrary to the way composition started. For the engaged listener, this is a truly brilliant piece of work.
“Once Upon A Time” was another favorite. This piece takes us on a trip to the distant past, telling us a story from another time and place. Appropriately written in six-eight meter, this piece sounds like a painting depicting a scene from a storybook. It’s a noble sounding piece without being overly majestic, and more of a focus on tenderness, courtliness, and enchantment. On a musical note, the left hand moves between solid “block” chords and broken chords in it’s support of the right hand. This is a very effective technique, as it serves to break up the music and allow the right hand to float over top the block chords. When this happens we hear another part of this tale, one that brings us back to the present moment to remind us that we are, indeed, travelling between two places.
My final pick on this album would have to be “Night Butterflies.” Rachel perfectly illustrates the night sky and flying butterflies through her playing, and through her composition. One can see colors spanning the rainbow amidst the celestial, starlit sky, dancing and moving in every which direction. The use of tremolo in the right hand against the backdrop of the music acts as a compositional “fluttering of wings,” driving the piece and serving as the heartbeat of the whole song. Probably my personal favorite piece on the album, “Night Butterflies” is a dreamy mix or art, beauty and nature.
With a number of moods and sixteen tracks to choose from, I would say in conclusion that Rachel Currea has done a fine job of blending her knowledge of the piano with musical styles past and present. “Walking To You” is a strong album by a fine pianist, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who enjoys music for relaxation, inspiration, and creative pursuit. Well done indeed.