The stunning, ultra-romantic artwork adoring Brian Hagen’s gorgeous, multi-faceted new solo piano collection You’re The One shows an embracing couple in the brush silhouetted by a majestic sunset. That memorable image, combined with the fact that Hagen penned the lighthearted yet soulful title track about the day he and his future wife first met, might lead the casual listener to believe that the album is a collection of musical love letters to his beloved.
That may have been what got the beautiful session rolling, but late in the recording process, Hagen realized that many of the songs on this 14 track blend of originals and his favorite classical piano pieces had more expansive universal applications. Collectively, they create a unique and sensitive instrumental narrative about the various ways love affects people – tapping into joy, romance, happiness, heartbreak and more. The pianist humbly admits that he “doesn’t claim to know all about the subject, but this is my humble take on it.”
You’re The One includes works by Friedrich Burgmuller (“By The Limpid Stream”), Alexander Borodin (“Nocturne,” originally from a string quartet), Mendelssohn (“Contemplation”), Anton Diabelli (“Diabelli Sonatina”), Anton Bruckner (“Fantasie”), “Beethoven Sonatina” and Schumann’s “Kleine Studie.” It is testament to Hagen’s own compositional brilliance, sense of rhythm and sensitivity that his own compositions – including “You’re The One,” which he wrote about the day he and his future wife first met, and “Let It Flow,” an outpouring of compassion for a grieving stranger – fit so seamlessly among the work of the masters. Other musical visions of whimsy and loveliness include the spirited “Now and Forever,” the contemplative “Autumn Afternoon Homecoming” and the bright, free-flowing closer “Sunflower.”
While many new age solo pianists cite classical and pop among their genre influences, Hagen is unique in that, while never assuming he is an actual jazz musician, he brings a great deal of inspiration from the legends he grew up listening to – including Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Jan Hammer, and Herbie Hancock. Combine those with his passion for classic “space musicians” Klaus Schulze, Tomita and Kitaro, and it’s clear that Hagen really draws from a wide palette.
Because Hagen is always tapping into exciting new creative possibilities, You’re the One is a true treasure that any fan of new age piano should immediately explore.