In a misty haze of delicate piano, Patricia Lazzara’s Radiance LP rises from the silence ever so slowly before embracing us with the warmth of a flute melody that will be found not only in this opening track, titled “Woodland Sonatine,” but throughout the record’s brightest and darkest of moments – a gorgeous soprano-led “Ave Maria,” extended opus “Lake Wallenpaupack,” Latin-flavored “Divagando” and superbly surreal “Adagio E Allegro” among them. Lazzara holds absolutely nothing back from us on her mission to illustrate poetic harmonies in beautiful flute notations, and whether this is your first time hearing her work or you’ve been following her music through her eight studio albums preceding the release of this one, Radiance is a hard record to put down once it’s been picked up for the first time.
Vocalist Jessica Davila drops by for another sensational soprano performance in “Oblivion” that creates what is perhaps even more touching a moment than the flowing “Serenata” does, but both tracks show us the different dimensions of Lazzara’s sound just the same. Simplicity dominates the backdrop of “Salmon Lake” and the brief “Portrait of Miss L,” while in the deceptively black and white “Sicilenne,” the detailed nuances of the music in Radiance become too bold in style for even the most ignorant of listeners not to take notice of. There are a lot of layers for us to peel back in this LP, but even at its most involved, we’re never put in a position where it feels like we’re listening to something that isn’t purposefully structured and devoid of fluff.
“Velvet Waltz” throws some playfulness into the mix much in the way that the stoic “Lake Kezar” is provocative in its total lack of buoyancy and beats. “Never Love Thee More” and “Aubade” couldn’t be much more different on paper, at least compositionally, but in blending the aesthetical arrangement of both tracks with wholly classical elements instead of anything additionally experimental, they sound like they were always meant to be heard together, on this album. The longer songs on Radiance, like “Regrets and Resolutions,” might appear to be the most emotional in tone, but in all actuality, there isn’t a stitch of audio on this LP that doesn’t bleed passion because of both the collaborative nature of the play and the foundational flute-work that Lazzara adds to every track.
In songs like “Reflections of Radiance,” classical buffs like myself aren’t just offered the opportunity to experience flute-born harmonies in an environment that is entirely conducive to the multifaceted stylization of the genre, but we’re given the chance to hear a traditional sound that has been refurbished for an era more inviting to those with an ear for detail. Patricia Lazzara might not have been intending to do so, but she’s made a titanic record in Radiance that is essential listening for those of us who can’t get enough of a good classical melody, and if she can replicate the results in future projects with collaborators other than those she selected for this endeavor, her reputation will only grow more sterling with time.