Thirteen captivating pieces go to make up the album Simple Gifts, the second solo collection from acclaimed and awarded pianist William Ogmundson, some pieces labours of love, others thrown together as a last-minute addition, all of which have come together in a remarkable, simple beauty.
Enchanting with its simplicity is Belladonna which begins with a slow introduction, building to strength in the centre before relaxing and drifting into the gentle ending. Followed by Simple Gifts a slightly hesitant piece, it underscores the effortlessness of discovering the simple joys of life. Occasionally reminiscent of a tune once heard, the song drifts slowly across the keyboard to come to a startling, final, completion.
Bouncing out of the album is the jaunty, light and happily fun piece Forever Drifting reflective of sunny days, a carefree existence and endless opportunities still waiting to be discovered. Maybe even a dash of ‘honkey tonk’ mixed in there as well: a favourite!
Budapest, a city of many heartbeats, many joys and sorrows, full of history, the timelessness of a city that has survived it all, and in so doing has shrouded itself an air of mystique is captured beautifully in Twilight in Budapest, that magical reflective time of half-light at days end or as the dawn slowly morphing into day.
Lux Aeterna; short, succinct, sombre, almost ponderous provides a lovely balance to the following Heather’s Song, a light and most enjoyable piece, a piece which dances along, sweet, joyful and not at all pretentious.
Icarus, the son of Daedalus who, to escape imprisonment, flies by means of artificial wings, but falls into the sea and drowns when the wax of his wings melts as he flies too near the sun, has all been captured in this delightful piece Icarus, a journey mythical in its creation, but a reality of everyday life. A perfect piece.
Who can resist a Dance of the Fairies, to round out a rich and enjoyable album of most beautiful songs, dedicated to Ogmundson’s third grade teacher Kitty Wilson, who spent many, many years photographing and protecting loons. Sadly, she passed away before the album was released and it is her magnificent photography, courtesy of her husband William, which graces the covers of this work.