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Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Jun 1st, 2020

Kimberly Hou: Opus One

Kimberly Hou
Opus One
(Kimberly Hou)

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With the lightest of arpeggio touches, Kimberly Hou leads us across her “Field of Memories,” the lilting opener of her debut instrumental piano EP, Opus One. The award-winning San Francisco-based classical musician gets out quickly on this, and the remaining three songs presented here, leaving the listener with that perfect breath of melody and dexterity, making herself known, then gone, like a kiss on the lips fading.

“Reflections,” follows, with its nearly anthemic call, rising and falling in heavy and light moments in what is the longest song here (still under four minutes). Dare I say it, but “Dancing in Time,” has an almost MOR commercial melody woven into its classical read. It’s truly contemporary and makes for just another in the many colors of Hou’s piano paintbox.

“For My Love” ends Opus One. Slower than most of the tunes here (and my favorite), Hou is nearly halting in her play, as if she’s slightly off-time (which she isn’t) but playing with hesitancy, which makes the beautiful melody cut even deeper to the heart. Midway she plucks the higher register in nearly tear-inducing flourishes. Still, throughout, for me, it is the tentative way she approached the piano here that truly makes this one special. And then, once again, she is gone, not overstaying her point. Solo contemporary classical piano playing and composing doesn’t get any better than what Kimberly Hou manages on her new Opus One.

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Kimberly Hou: Opus One