Kathleen Swann,
Seasons of Serenity
(Relax with Swann, 2002)

Relax With Swann: Seasons of Serenity is a peaceful guided meditation that soothes listeners while coaxing them into a place of relaxation. This progressive relaxation relies on imagery: Kathleen Swann describes scenery that must be visualized, from sunsets to rainfall.

Swann depicts a crackling fire with incredible detail, luring listeners into her world. At the same time, a fire's crackling appears in the music, bringing it into vivid life. In the spring song, the sound of rainshower fills the music. While the music assists Swann with sound, she also describes sights, smells, the feel of rain on skin and so much more. Meanwhile, Swann coaxes listeners to relax muscles one at a time, to let go of everyday problems.

As indicated in the title, there are four relaxation programs, one for each season. Autumn is Native American harp and recorder chiming in a gentle rhythm. Winter is more songlike and melodic, reflecting winter's sweet serenity. This guided relaxation uses bass strings and oboe in a more American arrangement. Xylophone and shakers give summer a tropical feel. Spring is decidedly Asian, thanks to Kyoto and Machu Pitchu, as Swann describes a beautiful garden beside a lake.

Swann guides listeners through this relaxation as Ken Kaufman, western New York's most prolific composer, creates soothing melodies. Swann's calm voice and repeated urges to "let go" blend perfectly with the music, soothing listeners in the self-directed meditation.

- Rambles
written by Valerie Frankel
published 28 February 2004

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