CD REVIEW: Cathy Hung - Watercolors
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Cathy Hung
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Contemporary Piano, Classical, Holiday Music
Sounds Like: George Winston, David Lanz, Jim Chappell, Kathleen Ryan
Technical Grade: 8/10
Weakness: More Instrumentation, a few winded songs
Accomplished Pianist Cathy Hung just released her latest CD entitled Watercolors in 2013. Hung is a classically-trained pianist and composer. A native of Taipei, Taiwan, Cathy now resides in New Jersey. This is an album comprising of 15 original piano compositions inspired by nature, people and current events. This album is a personal music journal. Cathy started her piano lessons at age of 5. This album comprises of 15 piano original composition music. It is a musical journal traveling through time and space.
The CD gently takes to flight with “Autumn Breeze Falling Leaves” a methodical yet soothing intro piece with solitary piano, possessing much in the way of dynamics and passion. I especially like how this piece flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition making a great first impression. Track 2 “In the Woods” shifts gears slightly with solitary intro, lending itself to a tranquil melody that sucks you in with its hypnotic rhythm and mesmerizing musical flow. Track 3 “Pebble Beach” serves up more of the same impressive piano virtuoso with advanced syncopation and brilliant playing that will sure to make your head spin. The CD makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 amazing pieces in a row. As the CD unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic George Winston, David Lanz, Jim Chappell and Kathleen Ryan. Right from the start you will notice Hung feels quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. The overall musical vibe has a nice peaceful and tranquil feel to it. Hung is a brilliant player and showcases much finesses a writer and a performer. Sometimes her playing is like a rain drop or flutters around like a butterfly, other times quite intense and passionate. The piano playing is defiantly contemporary Jazz with a splash of Americana, classical and even R&B. Despite the singular musical element it’s quite amazing how versatile the music really is. No doubt more work is required form a musician to fill this sonic space all by herself thus keeping the attention span of the listener. Brilliant artists can rise to this challenge every time, and I give Hung high marks for taking this on. The musicianship is clearly first rate as she pushes the natural accents extremely well. Many forget the piano is a percussion instrument. Having said that the touch Hung has with respect to flow and ebb passion playing is as good as it gets. The songs themselves are short and sweet musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair, and signature groove. From the hypnotic “First Day of Spring” to impassioned “Freezing Rain” and “Big Island 1. Ashes in the Rain” to the dynamic Lost Souls Under the Survivor 1. Tree this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “Reminiscence” the perfect finale statement to an amazing holiday catalog like this.
I fully realize this is a subjective art form, and I know how much people enjoy solitary Piano music, but I can't help but wonder what some of these arrangements and pieces would sound like with very light and conservative musical touches applied to them Things like orchestral drums, bells, stand-up bass, strings, cello, orchestral strings, violin, sparse percussive elements, and sonic trumpet, horns and vocals. A few of the songs over 5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line - a microcosm of the entire catalogue. At the end of the day all of the above would just render a catalogue of music more versatile, entertaining and synergetic in nature.
“Watercolors” by Cathy Hung is in itself a brilliant collection of music. The strong suit of this CD is how Hung makes each one these pieces her own via her remarkable touch and playing virtuoso. Song for song, note for note its rock solid catalogue of music. It just has a nice feel good classical feel to it. This CD is perfect for Bed and Breakfast or Boutique owners everywhere, but aside from that is the prefect CD for playing when there is snow or light rain falling outside. But above all this catalogue will work it's magic upon the senses for those days when you want a solitary musical statement to fill your atmosphere. Cathy Hung clearly knows how to fill the space with peaceful tranquility and amazing playing and composing at an elite playing level.