CD review of “Hope for Harmony” by Kathryn Toyama

Album: Hope for Harmony

Artist: Kathryn Toyama

Total Time: 50:14

This is the second album I am reviewing consisting piano pieces. The previous one has been “Life Colours” by Antonio Simone. Without doubt, my ears pick the sounds better now, and understand the depth and spectrum of emotions that a piano can express.

There are 18 pieces in this album and all of them seem to be very effective in conveying what they are composed for. The album starts with a short piece “Hope” as if the musical notes wish that may harmony prevail. It is precise and accurate in its message and very quickly displays the whole range of notes that it carries. Once it has expressed the hope, the album moves to a more “Carefree” mood, where the notes enjoy their value. It is still, choosy, and mischievously conveys a message that ushers a new emotion in the heart.

Hope for Harmony

As the heart picks up the message delivered in the previous piece, the music becomes more lucid, placid, and comforting. It is as if the notes and listeners are ready to “Understand Each Other” and enjoy each other’s presence.

True to its name, “Open Your Heart” starts like if the notes are knocking at the door of the listener. They are ready yet happy to wait as the listener starts to garner better understanding of their messages. As it takes time, the notes are ready to serve “Another Chance”, allowing the listener to put in a better effort with more concentration.

“Finding the Way” true to its name once again is intriguing. It is as if the wisdom dawns on the listener and it is stunned into joy. The notes wait, move closer, take a break and yet again…move. A very reflective piece indeed! I liked the way it controlled the time-space continuum.

As the listener finds the way, it feels it is “Slowly Healing”. It is healing from the wounds of misunderstanding, lack of knowledge, and misconceptions that mire the intellect. Once again, like a slow-and-steady process, this piece reflects the control that piano gives to the performer.

Once the healing takes place, the notes and the listener become “True Friends”. There is strange kind of slow-motion dance in this piece that allows the listener to float. A very short piece but delivering a new beginning!

Now the listener is ready to move forward with a renewed fervor. It is ready to scale greater heights of its discovery, where music carries the listener to an unknown plane for a spiritual rendezvous. It has begun to see “The Light”.

With the recognition of light, a new emotion, full of “Faith” wells within. The notes picked up in this track look very confident themselves. They appear to be moving with certainty and assuredness. With the heart of the listener filled with self-confidence, a “Prayer for Peace” leaps out of the heart. It wants to convey everything without saying anything, yet to mark its presence spill out the desired notes.

Suddenly, the listener is asked to face another challenge. “Understanding Pt. 2” starts with relatively lower notes indicating there is something deep that the listener needs to pick up. The listener is asked to return to its physical presence. “As Times Change” very pointedly conveys that the question has been raised. The listener has to do its duty and spread peace through its own tranquility.

With utmost unwillingness and on sheer duty-calling, the listener begins its backward journey. While “Floating on Dreams”, it stretches its arms forward to cling to the newly found reality but it has to do what it has been asked to. “The Parting” has to take place. There is no other option available, though the listener has a newly added strength of understanding, knowledge and wisdom. It is not alone now and does not fear anything.

As it takes its place back in the physical encasement called body, an internal but intense “Spiritual War” raises its hoods. The calling of the spirit and limitation of the body face each other and the mind finds itself in utter unrest. However, with practice, the listener is able to still the mind and filter the callings of the soul, while still being active physically. Once again, a very conveying piece!

As it is able to control, “Echoes of Healing” start to reverberate. The music in this piece is compound yet very clear. The supportive notes of the piano infuse a very unique magnanimity to the piece. With the process of healing moving forward, the music itself becomes establishing and elevating.

As the album it about to end, “Beyond a Dream” gives another perspective to the whole composition. The guitar provides a very diverse atmosphere where the listener is about to be ready for its routine functioning, after it has spiritually dreamt about a journey that it had to undertake, face the tests of intellect, win it, establish the being in this win and find a proactive way, and maintain the equanimity.

I liked the music because of its preciseness and brevity. It was short but elaborate enough to quickly deliver the message and sprouting the desired emotion. Kathryn has been able to put in the composition in a very telling manner.

I am sure that her listeners will like all the songs composed by Kathryn. She indeed has done a commendable job.

Track Name Time
Hope 01:53
Carefree 02:39
Understanding Each Other 04:16
Open Your Heart 03:55
Another Chance 02:36
Finding the Way 03:24
Slowly Healing 02:58
True Friends 01:32
The Light 01:49
Faith 03:24
Prayer for Peace 01:52
Understanding Pt. 2 03:20
As Times Change 03:12
Floating on Dreams 02:43
The Parting 02:49
Spiritual War 03:15
Echoes of Healing 06:01
Beyond a Dream 02:36

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