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Songs Without Words

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Album Review

Craig Urquhart's classical compositions have been recorded by world-famous baritone Thomas Hampson and Lauren Wagner. His "The Wonder of Miracles" was choreographed by the Turtle's Dance Company for a memorial concert at the Cathedral St. John the Divine. His compositional style began shifting from classical to new age as he began appreciating the later compositions of Brian Eno and Philip Glass, and his approach moved from atonal to tonal and lyrical after a project which found him setting the poetry of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson to music. The title of this 15-track recording comes from one of Felix Mendelssohn's most famous works. It reflects the powerful melodic nature of Urquhart's early new age material, which could be sung even without lyrics. It is the most classically influenced of his four works. Many of the tracks are also indicative of his growing environmental concerns, particularly the "Beach Music" suite of "Fog Horns," "Ocean Song," and "Versper Hymn." The sequence tells the musical story of the artist walking on the beach where he "hears" the ocean pleading for help; the hymn finds the sun going down after the day is through. Each song tells a unique story, and as with all of his projects, he begins and ends with an optimistic musical spirit ("The Homecoming," "Morning").


Genre: New Age

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The moody new age composer Craig Urquhart is one of the finest independent pianists in America. It was almost a given that he would become a musician, as his early exposure to Leonard Bernstein's CBS series The Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic gave the Michigan child an obsession with music that led him to explore the piano. After absorbing the music of Joni Mitchell, Brian Eno, and Laura Nyro (as well as the usual classical composers: Bach, Chopin, et. al) he entered the University...
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Songs Without Words, Craig Urquhart
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