My love for music goes back to when I was a child. It has been an exponential growth since then to the present day. My listening is broad and continually evolving. In the context of evolution, Charles David Denler has shaped and molded a previous version of Portraits In Season, virtually released as a synth instrumental suite which premiered on November 30, 2015, with the Boulder Philharmonic. The latest release that came out this month is Portraits In Season Live. Charles plays acoustic piano and is accompanied by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.
The end result is absolutely stunning. When I hear music like this, I hear the “truth.” To illustrate that further…I hear how all music was founded, via the great concertos and genius of Bach et all. Although it all started hundreds of years ago and even though it has evolved immensely, musicians continually reach back to the essence of that music to become inspired either reproducing it in their own image and creating it with their own personal stamp or taking their own creations and building on them as Charles has with this new release.
I imagine the synth version would have been enjoyable as well. Even though I do not have that to compare to this newer version, my appreciation is beyond words (which I am never short of when it comes to music). The one factor that came as a surprise was the length of these tracks. I believe the simplicity of the acoustic piano as a lead instrument and the embellishments of a live orchestra changes everything. With that in mind, your expectations may be a bit beyond the process here and what was intended for a listening audience. And while this recording moves along quickly from piece to piece, my appreciation and wanting to hear more was magnified. This could have easily morphed into a magnum opus and a lot of improvisation. That was held in check and what you get is the absolute beauty of the piano and a magnificent orchestra to make each track a thing of art to be admired.
As one track was flowing into the next, it did feel like a suite in two parts as presented. It is similar to opening a book and reading through each chapter. The difference was the embodiment of an aural escape rather than a cerebral journey through the reading of pages. One can become detached in many ways through the sound of music. For myself, I felt an overflowing of gratitude and a reverence for all music and from whence it came. Individual perception is the freedom of music and you choose what path to take upon listening.
The theme of nature is always a celebration of our connection to mother earth and all its inhabitants. I get this from much of the music I hear and actually do not think we hear it enough. As a civilization that looks bound to destroy the beauty and bounty of our planet, we need the calmness and inward thoughts that music can engage and help us to realize. While this sounds philosophical and as a belief system, and it is, I look at it for what it represents, the reality that needs our attention before it's too late.
Portraits In Season Live is an elegant representation of all the things that are quintessential to the human spirit and life itself. This is music unencumbered by computers and technology, a presentation that is live and spontaneous, and subject matter that we all should hold dear to our hearts for our continued existence here on the globe. I would like to thank Charles David Denler for such an engaging recording and triggering all of my thoughts and feelings on how connected we all are to our planet and the music that can sing us a song without words, the truth.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
April 17, 2021
SIDE ONE: Portraits In Season Suite for Piano & Orchestra:
I. Season's Overture II. Return of Spring III. Woodland Flowers of June
IV. Mid-Summer's Intermezzo V. Autumn's Last Leaf VI. A Winter's Memory
VII. Season's Finale
SIDE TWO: Seasonal Variations for Solo Piano:
Spring Variation: Spring Meadows • Summer Variation: The Water Garden
Autumn Variation: Leaf on the Wind • Winter Variation: Winter’s Repos