Lorie Line, |
Sharing the Season: Piano Instrumentals
(Time Line, 1991)
If you live outside of the American Midwest, you may never have heard of Lorie Line. "Well, pull up an ice block and lend an ear," as Sam the Snowman would say. Lorie's piano instrumentals need to be included in any holiday music collection.
A Nevada native, Line showed piano prowess -- and demonstrated perfect pitch -- at a very early age. After she graduated from the University of Nevada with a music degree specializing in piano performance, she landed her first full-time performance job at Dayton's department store in Minneapolis in 1988. Her task was to serenade shoppers as they spent money. But when she created her own arrangements of popular favorites on the spot, she began to attract an audience who came just to hear her play. That encouragement led her to the recording studio.
Sharing the Season: Piano Instrumentals is Line's first holiday album. Here she is accompanied by a small cadre of musicians who aptly apply the frosting to the keyboard cake. At times they alternate melody lines with their leader: whether it's Dean Magraw's guitar on "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" and "What Child is This," or David Bullock's violin on "Still, Still, Still" and "In the Bleak Midwinter." David Livingston's recorder and crumhorn provide a perky and playful spirit to "I Saw Three Ships," "Oh Come Little Children," "Good King Wenceslas," and "Pat a Pan/Drummer Boy." The latter also features Marc Anderson on percussion. Sue Moen Reid's oboe towers nicely above the ensemble during "The Coventry Carol." Everyone contributes for "Silent Night" and "Away in a Manger."
We often think of "Oh, Holy Night" as strictly a vocal number: one that begins slowly and gradually builds until the climax is belted out by a well-meaning (and maybe even pitch-accurate) soprano or tenor. Here it's a piano solo, complete with twists and turns of chord and harmony; and you don't have to cross your fingers in the hopes that Lorie's will hit the high note. Yet another pure piano piece, full of feeling and nuance, is "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring."
One of the more unique arrangements on the disc comes with "Angels We Have Heard on High." The melody begins deceptively slow and then bounces up an octave to become a frisky folic. Anderson's percussive tappings follow suit. The CD concludes with "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" -- an uncomplicated, seemingly sincere wish given to listeners by just Lorie herself.
This first Lorie Line holiday album, by far the simplest in structure, is followed by three additional Sharing the Seasons volumes. The music here may lure you to listen to the others. And who knows? Maybe the day will come when you'll have the opportunity to see Lorie Line perform during one of her winter tours. I highly recommend doing so.
Corinne H. Smith
29 November 2008
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