Craig Urquhart | Within Memory

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Within Memory

by Craig Urquhart

Craig Urquhart brings yet another album of beautiful, soulful piano music into the world.
Genre: New Age: Contemporary Instrumental
Release Date: 

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1. In the Afternoon
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3:13 $0.99
2. The Garden
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4:05 $0.99
3. Before the Canvas
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6:35 $0.99
4. Rapture
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5:10 $0.99
5. Laid Back
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7:32 $0.99
6. October Bright Blue
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3:28 $0.99
7. Low Tide
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8:28 $0.99
8. Summer Twilight
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4:59 $0.99
9. Prairie Flowers
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10. Within Memory
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Craig Urquhart
Within Memory
Heart Earth Music (2010)
With so many solo piano CDs released in an unending stream through the years (trust me, I am not exaggerating), I sometimes wonder what distinguishes one from the other, except for outrageously different playing styles. It's frustrating to a reviewer who can sometimes opine not much more than "Well, this is a nice piano CD." However, when I listened to Craig Urquhart's latest release, Within Memory, it was like taking a sip of cool crisp water from a pure mountain stream. As on his past CDs I've reviewed, I was reminded (during the opening track, "In The Afternoon") why Urquhart is one of my favorites in this extremely crowded subgenre. His superb control of nuance, crafting such beautiful yet restrained heartfelt compositions, painting one warm, comforting musical portrait after another—well, it's like coming home again.
Urquhart's piano music exemplifies "quiet time" yet without resorting to all out minimalism (a la Winston and others). Each of the ten tracks on Within Memory sculpts out a separate, unique musical niche, drawing the listener into different emotional evocations. Subtle differences at times, granted, but I was never once bored or came away thinking "This is repetitious." Instead, the overall continuity of the music (no doubt owed largely to the artist's consistency of volume and tempo) makes the album play "through" almost as if it was a deliberate suite of pieces.
Duration of the tracks vary considerably, from the barely three-minute opening "In The Afternoon" to the expansive 8:29 of "Low Tide." I'll be honest that enduring a seven to eight minute solo piano song can be perceived as a daunting task. Yet, Urquhart glides through a lengthy piece, such as the seven-plus minute long quasi-bluesy "Laid Back," so effortlessly that the trip speeds by, helped by the song's refrain (which mixes the aforementioned blues with a tinge of deep sorrow), by anchoring the cut with its memorable hook. "Low Tide" is the previously noted eight and half minute track and it's a beautiful but somber meditation. Even a song with the title "Rapture" is low-key, containing elements of romance and nostalgia—warm and inviting but sadly sweet, too. Urquhart's melodies are such wonderful things to hear, never reduced to cliché, melodrama, or schmaltz, and always favoring a "less is more" approach, whereby pyrotechnics are shunned and replaced by a control over subtlety which I wish other pianists would learn.
I don't know whether it's intentional or not, but the cover image of Craig Urquhart (portrayed in a sepia-toned photograph) shows him dressed in a leather flight jacket with a white silk scarf around his neck—a classic romantic image from a bygone era if there ever was one. I can just imagine his "character," a long forgotten barnstormer, taking flight over the farmlands of the Midwest at twilight, chasing the sun into the west, while far below, children gaze up in wonder at the shadow against the fading light of the night sky. If this CD's music and cover art can inspire such visions for me, well, you can well imagine how high my recommendation is, namely, my highest possible.
Rating: Excellent
Bill Binkelman
Zone Music Reporter


Kathy
MainlyPiano.com

Within Memory
Craig Urquhart
2010 / Heart Earth Music
52.7 minutes

Craig Urquhart has one of the smoothest and gentlest touches of any pianist I’m aware of. He truly personifies Debussy’s instruction to play the piano as if it didn’t have hammers. While Urquhart’s music is not complicated or flashy, his velvet touch and the depth of the emotion he expresses put him into a category of his own. Urquhart has very extensive classical training and was Leonard Bernstein’s personal assistant for the last five years of the maestro’s life. Of Urquhart’s music, Bernstein wrote: “It has a deceptive simplicity and honesty that is rarely to be heard in contemporary writing. His tonal approach is not merely sincere, but genuinely moving with a private beauty of its own.” Within Memory is Urquhart’s eighth album to date, and it contains some of his most evocative music. The relatively slow tempo of the music gives the album a consistency that makes it work as background music, but the music so deserves to be heard with full attention - perhaps with eyes closed in a darkened room without distractions. The memories depicted in the music are deeply personal yet universal, so listening to Urquhart’s recollections is much like having a very soulful conversation with a loved one.

Within Memory begins with “In the Afternoon,” a piece that overflows with contentment and warmth. The conversational melody conveys something familiar. “The Garden” is one of my favorites. Gently flowing and oh so graceful, it creates a lovely portrait of the serenity of being in a beautiful garden. I absolutely love “Before the Canvas.” Darker, more introspective, and deeply passionate, it seems to flow from the very core of Urquhart’s being. Stunning! “Laid Back” goes in a little different direction. Hinting of Erik Satie and George Gershwin, there are touches of modern classical minimalism blended with soulful blues - and it really works! “October Bright Blue” is a celebration of an autumn day in the Northeast - warm, crisp, and carefree. “Low Tide” is another favorite. Slow and meandering like the movement of water in tide pools and along the shore, it quietly and gracefully tells its story while soothing the soul of the listener. “Prairie Flowers” is in constant motion like a meadow of wildflowers moving to the rhythms of a gentle breeze. The title song is gorgeous, caressing your thoughts and memories as you reflect on and relive moments of your life.

Within Memory is a masterpiece of quiet, soulful piano solos. Craig Urquhart’s many fans will embrace this new music, and if you have not heard Craig’s music before, this is a wonderful place to start! Within Memory is available from www.craigurquhart.com, Amazon, CD Baby, and iTunes. Very highly recommended!

Kathy Parsons
MainlyPiano.com

6/17/10



Reviews


to write a review

Raj Manoharan (www.rajmanreviews.blogspot.com)

The RajMan Review
Craig Urquhart’s latest recording is a collection of ten solo piano instrumentals that hit the spot musically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Rather than flaunt his virtuosic mastery of the keyboard, Urquhart instead chooses to focus on simple, tranquil compositions that gently penetrate the soul. The result is music that serves perfectly as background or as a soundtrack for deep, quiet introspection.

In fact, the overall tone of the album is probably best described as moody, and in a good way. This is mood music that is perfectly suited for contemplation and pensive rumination.

The softness of the compositions and the performances has a therapeutic, calming effect, as well. So this is equally useful as healing, regenerative music.

The music on this album is adaptable for almost any situation – except for festive, highly energetic occasions, obviously – and regardless of how you use it, the end result is satisfying.

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
Craig Urquhart has one of the smoothest and gentlest touches of any pianist I’m aware of. He truly personifies Debussy’s instruction to play the piano as if it didn’t have hammers. While Urquhart’s music is not complicated or flashy, his velvet touch and the depth of the emotion he expresses put him into a category of his own. Urquhart has very extensive classical training and was Leonard Bernstein’s personal assistant for the last five years of the maestro’s life. Of Urquhart’s music, Bernstein wrote: “It has a deceptive simplicity and honesty that is rarely to be heard in contemporary writing. His tonal approach is not merely sincere, but genuinely moving with a private beauty of its own.” "Within Memory" is Urquhart’s eighth album to date, and it contains some of his most evocative music. The relatively slow tempo of the music gives the album a consistency that makes it work as background music, but the music so deserves to be heard with full attention - perhaps with eyes closed in a darkened room without distractions. The memories depicted in the music are deeply personal yet universal, so listening to Urquhart’s recollections is much like having a very soulful conversation with a loved one.

"Within Memory" begins with “In the Afternoon,” a piece that overflows with contentment and warmth. The conversational melody conveys something familiar. “The Garden” is one of my favorites. Gently flowing and oh so graceful, it creates a lovely portrait of the serenity of being in a beautiful garden. I absolutely love “Before the Canvas.” Darker, more introspective, and deeply passionate, it seems to flow from the very core of Urquhart’s being. Stunning! “Laid Back” goes in a little different direction. Hinting of Erik Satie and George Gershwin, there are touches of modern classical minimalism blended with soulful blues - and it really works! “October Bright Blue” is a celebration of an autumn day in the Northeast - warm, crisp, and carefree. “Low Tide” is another favorite. Slow and meandering like the movement of water in tide pools and along the shore, it quietly and gracefully tells its story while soothing the soul of the listener. “Prairie Flowers” is in constant motion like a meadow of wildflowers moving to the rhythms of a gentle breeze. The title song is gorgeous, caressing your thoughts and memories as you reflect on and relive moments of your life.

"Within Memory" is a masterpiece of quiet, soulful piano solos. Craig Urquhart’s many fans will embrace this new music, and if you have not heard Craig’s music before, this is a wonderful place to start! Very highly recommended!

REVIEWS NEW AGE

Elegancia & Sutileza. Asombroso!
Within Memory es el octavo título del reconocido pianista y compositor Craig Urquhart. Con una fuerte educación musical en música clásica, el artista se desvía ligeramente de este estilo, estableciendo una música más personal y mostrando uno de los toques más delicados al piano; lentas y emotivas melodías manifiestan una exquisitez única, extraordinaria. Within Memory goza de diez piezas que guardan un carácter tranquilo, la máxima expresión en sensibilidad y donde la nostalgia es la emoción que predomina en cada pista.
La primera pista del CD es "In The Afternoon". De carácter amable y acogedor, esta posee una pegadiza melodía que es repetida hasta el final. Con sencillez y calma, las manos de Craig van dando forma a esta hermosa pieza con suaves golpes de acordes y delicadas notas altas, que en ocasiones, cede a las notas más bajas del piano la melodía principal.

"The Garden" hace que el sentimiento de nostalgia se torne poderosamente emotivo. Es increíble la fuerza que tiene esta pista carente de enérgicos acordes y rápidas melodías, donde simplemente un piano logra tal expresividad que estremece. Una de mis preferidas.

"Before The Canvas" tiene un toque oscuro. Una pieza melancólica, improvisada desde lo más profundo con progresiones lentas y desconcertantes que acompañan a una melodía que parece dibujar un curso libre. Un tema que muestra un lado más amargo y levemente dolorido.

Cálido y entrañable es "Rapture". Con un toque apasionado, Craig consigue con esta bella y emocionante melodía dibujar una leve sonrisa en el oyente. La dulzura que deja ver esta pieza es realmente sorprendente. Me encanta!.

"Laid Back" hace honor a su nombre (Relajado) logrando llevar al oyente a un estado de quietud plena. Misteriosa melodía, pero a la vez hipnótica, donde acordes bajos, muy delicados, van repitiéndose de principio a fin acompañando a furtivas notas altas que van surgiendo, algunas con fuerza.

"October Bright Blue" es otra de las piezas que poseen una poderosa fuerza. Con un gran sentido de liberación, como si viajásemos en una nube, la melodía se abre paso con fuerza en cuanto a sentimiento y con gran delicadeza en cuanto al toque. Un dedicado momento a una de las estaciones más bellas del año. Hermoso tema!.

"Low Tide" da paso a minutos de intimidad. Un track triste y reflexivo, perfecto para momentos de recapacitación. La abatida melodía no deja paso ni a un ápice de felicidad, mostrando uno de los tracks más profundos del álbum.

"Summer Twilight" sigue un fluir lento y sumamente melancólico. Un tema que abre un profundo vacío, la sensación de desolación es increíble. La melodía que dibuja la mano derecha es decaída, acentuando el sentimiento de perdida, mientras la izquierda acompaña con progresiones que intentan, sin éxito, dar aliento y fuerza.

La calidez de "Prairie Flowers" es sorprendente; esta pieza ofrece sensaciones de libertad y de despreocupación que son realmente asombrosas. Las manos de Craig reproducen una de las melodías más optimistas y emotivas de este álbum, llenando de un deseado sentimiento de bienestar al oyente. Otra de mis favoritas!.

Dotada de gran hermosura, "Within Memory" es la pieza que da título al álbum y la pista que lo cierra, mostrando una melodía pegadiza y conmovedora, con momentos de emoción que crean un sentimiento de nostalgia que alcanza su punto más alto en este track. Me encanta!.


Within Memory es sinónimo de sutileza y elegancia. Craig Urquhart logra estremecer el alma del oyente prescindiendo de melodías rápidas y enérgicas y apostando por un lado más emotivo y entrañable. El artista da vida a piezas que encajan a la perfección como banda sonora para aquellas imágenes que solemos recordar con cariño de bellos e inolvidables momentos que un día vivimos. Sencillamente extraordinario. Within Memory es un álbum muy muy recomendable.
reviewsnewage.com
26/06/10

John P. Olsen / NewAgeMusicWorld.Com / NewAgeMusic.nu

Memoir Within Craig Urquhart
Craig Urquhart is an accomplished pianist having a renewed focus on quintessential travels into piano music that literally speaks to the heart by virtue of his current seventh Solo Piano composition. Craig also aims to share reflective memories on this album with hopes of achieving mutual recollections which appear reminiscent to our own memories.
Within Memory is Craig’s classic memoir that takes a transcending tour into piano music that quickly becomes a meeting place to share moments of harmonious reflection, focusing on moments that everyone can relate to themselves. Residing in New York City, his regional and United States concerts have also earned attendance with worldwide audiences on the airwaves and during performances in Germany, France, and Japan. Telling of music influences like Classical greats Chopin, Debussy, Satie and Copland, an intriguing aspect about Craig is that he also tells of contemporary influences like Pop and Rock too, so a classic contemporary structure converges with an overall expansive identity in respect to his original compositions. Craig Urquhart holds a Masters Degree in Composition from the University of Michigan, and is a member of ASCAP, serves on the Board of Directors with the Lotte Lehmann Foundation, is a Whisperings Artist and voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences ( The Grammys ) which speaks volumes about his comprehensive musical career. Within Memory is an album well suited for telling much about Craig Urquhart’s harmonious directive for parallel unity and poetically becomes the equivalent memoir he openly shares with worldwide concert audiences, presented by a memorable and sincere narrative from the heart. In The Afternoon is the preamble song of 10 for Within Memory, having a bright tonal cheerfulness recited by a frame of mind you will find engaging. Before The Canvas exhibits a deeper tone and image by proficient piano chords modulation while stair stepping upward during ascending treble scales, changing perceptions with each layer. Rapture is the benchmark showing a hopeful image to the conceptual pondering and lighter melody. Laid Back has a nice feel by a treble melody concurrent with deeper bass octaves consistent rhythm while October Bright Blue recaptures a crisp and bright piano overture while making a distinction midst the two songs. Low Tide is the deep flowing melody with pause and intonation nicely enriched with hopeful optimism and song I favored most. Prairie Flowers flourishes into a gently moving melody while traveling to and from, given the preceding treble notes lead the closely timed counter bass notes while held in a subsequent role. Within Memory ( Title Song ) concludes the album recital for the listener, but for Craig Urquhart it begins an arranged lineup for abundant visits to many countries during his role as an esteemed concert pianist. Later this year Craig is scheduled for concert recitals in the United States, Berlin Germany, Positano and Rome, Italy. I am certain the concert events slated for this year will be another wonderful social meeting place for notable entertainment along with an exchange of lasting memories for everyone, especially for Craig Urquhart.