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The Lullaby Album

An album by Carolyn Southworth and Jennifer Thomas

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From MainlyPiano

  • Aug 17, 2009
Rating:
+5
"The Lullaby Album" is a very special two-disc collection of traditional and original lullabies composed, arranged and performed by Carolyn Southworth and Jennifer Thomas. Disc One is piano with orchestra and Disc Two is the same songs as piano solos. Two factors make this album unusual. The first is that Jennifer Thomas is Carolyn Southworth's daughter, and the second is that they teamed up to create music that Jennifer's baby, a problem sleeper, could fall asleep to. As they say in the liner notes, all of the music has been tried, tested and "Preston approved." Both pianists are classically trained, both are piano teachers, and each has released a solo album. Without the liner notes, it is not obvious who is playing which songs, so the album is smooth, polished, and heartfelt from beginning to end. The artists' intention with the two discs was that the solo piano CD would be for calming at bedtime and the orchestrated one is "for those who like a little more to listen to." Paul Speer did the mixing and mastering of the album, and Jace Vek contributed orchestrations for four of the pieces. I really can't say I prefer one CD over the other - I love the simple honesty of solo piano, but the orchestrated versions are compelling, too. I'm glad I don't have to choose!

Both discs begin with Brahms' Lullaby, probably the best-known lullaby in the world. Jennifer Thomas' solo piano arrangement is tender and sweet. Carolyn Southworth's "Sweet Dreams" appears three times - as a piano solo, orchestrated with piano, and with vocals. All three versions are gorgeous, but I think I like the solo version best. There are several other high points on the solo CD. Thomas' "Baby of Mine (Preston's Song)" is a favorite, filled with love and wonder. Another favorite is Southworth's arrangement of "All the Pretty Little Horses," a poignant minor key beauty. Thomas' "Un Petit Nocturne" is a classically influenced gem. Her "Dancing On the Clouds" is dreamy and magical, as is Southworth's take on "Old Scottish Lullaby." Thomas' arrangement of Billy Joel's "Goodnight, My Angel" is heartbreakingly beautiful.

Highlights of the piano with orchestra CD include "Baby of Mine," where the piano is backed with strings and percussion and "Un Petit Nocturne" with harp and angelic voices as accompaniment. Jace Vek's orchestration gives "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" a very Celtic flavor that includes bagpipe and tambourine - a spirited and fascinating arrangement! Vek also orchestrated "Old Scottish Lullaby," this time with full orchestra - absolutely dreamy! Thomas keeps the orchestration behind "Goodnight, My Angel" simple, adding strings to embellish the enchanting melody. "Unseen Angel" begins with very spare accompaniment, but becomes almost cinematic with full orchestration as it builds and then gently ebbs back to solo piano.

Jennifer Thomas and Carolyn Southworth have created a very personal yet very universal collection with The Lullaby Album. Even if you don't have children in your household, give your inner child a treat with this warm and soothing recording. Both of the CDs are full and rich, and should appeal to hearts of any age. I think I'll cuddle up with my blankie and listen to this music again! Highly recommended!

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About the reviewer
Kathy Parsons ()
Ranked #61
I have been a private piano teacher since 1981. I have been writing reviews for a long time, and have my own review and interview site, MainlyPiano.com. I teach piano in person and online, so now I can … more
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Wiki

Classically trained pianists, Jennifer Thomas (Key of Sea (2007)), and Carolyn Southworth (At the End of the Day 2007) bring you their first collaboration as a Mother/Daughter Duo.

The Lullaby Album features 13 original and traditional lullabies composed and performed by Carolyn and Jennifer. The album is presented in a special 2-disc format; Solo Piano (intended for children and babies for bedtime), and Piano with Orchestra (intended for adults).

The orchestrated disc features the talents of Emmy Award winning pianist/composer Jace Vek, OurStage Grand Prize Winner Jillian Goldin, and Ourstage Multi-1st place winner Lori Cunningham. The album was mixed and mastered by Grammy Award nominated Producer Paul Speer.

The Lullaby Album invites listeners of all ages, whether 9 months old or 90 years old, to experience a fresh and classy take on traditional lullaby music. With arrangements that include soft solo piano to full symphonic cinematic quality, to even a few Celtic flavored pieces,The Lullaby Albumis sure to become a favorite among lullaby collections.

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Label: CD BABY.COM, INDYS
Release Date: August 1, 2009

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