From the first note of the lovely In the Garden , the soul immediately returned to the days of youth, Sunday School and Church where the music was always traditional pieces, often played in a sombre style on the small church organ, or at Sunday School, on an even smaller peddle organ, but sometimes, when someone different was standing in, on the piano, with soul and life.
So many of the traditional pieces on this lovely, reflective collection from Cathy Oakes have been dusted off, given fresh appeal, which has been enhanced with the skilful addition of orchestration added by Doug Hammer, presenting to a new audience the beauty of the old hymns created as a gift of love and faith.
Several of the pieces are medleys; Amazing Grace, that beloved of hymns has been linked with Grace Greater Than Our Sin, making this a lovely melodic interpretation. The words to I Am Thine, Oh Lord, were written by Fanny Crosby, a prolific American Hymn writer and although blind, penned the words to the gentle melody composed by William Howard Doone after having a sunset described to her. A gentle and lovely piece.
Old favourites Near The Cross and The Old Rugged Cross have been segued in a soft, elegant treatment, which certainly will begin a journey down memory lane for many.
I have to admit to selecting a number of my personal favourites to feature, notwithstanding the absolutely glorious Blessed Assurance, which has certainly been overhauled with the inspired playing of Cathy Oakes with orchestration, adding a grandeur to the simple and yet evergreen piece.
What A Friend We Have in Jesus was often sung in a rollicky manner, but under the skilful hands of Cathy Oakes the true beauty and sentiment of the piece is revealed. Written by Joseph M. Scriven in 1855 as a poem to comfort his mother living in Ireland, the melody was created in 1868 by Charles Crozart Converse. A true evergreen.
An improv piece is Hymn of Thanks completes, with elegance and style, a walk down memory lane, created as a tribute to Oakes beloved grandmother Lucy Shingleton Conner, who would rock her gently as a small child singing the hymns of her youth to her beloved granddaughter.
Regardless of what your faith is, this collection of old favourites will charm, relax and offer a rare and special comfort to all who enjoy beautiful, simple and inspirational music.