Renewal is the fourteenth album of original music by pianist/composer Craig Urquhart (pronounced “irk-hart”), and I’m more than thrilled to say that I’ve reviewed them all! Craig has created more than 200 pieces of music and has performed in concerts all over the world. Known for the poetic nature of his music and his elegant, velvety touch on the piano keys, one of Craig’s recent compositions, Lamentation for Flute and String Orchestra, was recorded in 2021 by the award-winning flutist, Stathis Karapanos, and The Berlin Academy of American Music conducted by Garrett Keast. This piece was featured in the film Lamentation by Boomtown Media, which has been screened at various film festivals in Europe.
The ten tracks on Renewal were composed in 2022 as the world started to heal and recover from the ravages of the global Covid pandemic. Quoting Craig Urquhart: “Renewal is a testament to humanity, that even through the most complicated and darkest days, there is hope that we can once again find the courage to feel and express our emotions.” Warmth, love and a very strong sense of humanity flow through this music, healing and uplifting while acknowledging the loss and tragedy of the past few years. The album is a profound and deeply heartfelt gift from one soul to another if people will take the time to truly listen.
Renewal begins with the title track, a gently-flowing piece that expresses the return of hope as we once again start looking to new possibilities. “Reflection” can be about many things, and the piece with that title is relaxed and, well, reflective. You could be deep in thought or just letting thoughts flow where they will while out walking or sitting by a body of water or in your favorite chair! One of the things I missed most during the pandemic was hugs, and “Tenderness” beautifully and gracefully expresses that feeling. Quoting Craig: “‘The Albatross’ is a musical representation of this noble creature who spends months soaring over oceans before returning to mate and renew with their species.” Joy and the freedom of effortless flight are wonderfully expressed in this favorite piece. It doesn’t get much more peaceful and blissful than “Serenity”! Rocking chairs have become symbolic of a place for older folks to relax and reminisce, and “The Old Rocking Chair” captures the rhythm of the chair’s movement, the passage of time, and the slow flow of memories. I love this one, too! Again quoting Craig: “‘The Mystery’ is an exploration of why life continues its cycles without question.” One of the darker and more poignant tracks, it is deeply contemplative as well as mysterious – and another favorite! The album closes with “Daybreak,” a return to hope, optimism and promising new beginnings. It’s a warm and gentle ending to a truly exceptional album!
Renewal is available from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites including Spotify. Very highly recommended!
Craig has released twelve albums of solo piano music and an album of his songs with Michael Slattery. Craig has composed over 200 compositions. His recent composition Lamentation for Flute and String Orchestra was recorded by the award winning flutist Stathis Karapanos and The Berlin Academy of American Music conducted by Garrett Keast.
Through his thoughtful, flowing compositions, Craig takes listeners on a musical journey that speaks directly to the soul. Critics have described his music as “musical poetry,” and fans have written about its profound impact on them: helping them live, love, grieve and celebrate. One listener wrote that Craig’s music seemed to “sympathize with my feelings like nobody can.” Zone Music Reporter Bill Binkelman wrote that “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.”
Craig derives musical inspiration from nature, human emotions, and the natural rhythms of the universe. Drawing upon his experiences of love, loss and remembrance, he delivers an emotionally compelling experience straight from the heart. As one writer put it, “His music reaches through the invisible walls with an immeasurable sense of peace and beauty.”