Never Needs a Rhyme
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 7/22/2007, The Sounding Board
The musical poet has written another book of beauty. This time pianist and composer Craig Urquhart has titled his album Secret Spaces. He writes about the places he has gone to and the places you can go. They are craftily hidden within the notes of his solo piano pieces. Fear not, for they are handily obvious once you have heard Craig's inspired contemporary tunes. On this album Craig captures fundamental elements in his compositions. There is the warmth of the sun, the caress of a gentle breeze and the sounds of life as the earth rotates. In addition, as on his remarkable album Streamwalker, he has included the sound of water.
The title track is Secret Spaces and it is absolutely heartbreaking. The quintessential beauty of the tune reaches down into your soul and touches you deeper than despair. It is not a profound sadness. It is hopeful. It is the opening of a door, the brushing aside the curtain for a fresh perspective. It says...start here.
Contemplation is eponymous in many ways. Its introspective melody suspends time and allows us to slip between the minutes for a brief interval. It brings to mind the unwavering stare out the window on a rainy day, chin on hand or perhaps the very opposite with drifting of thoughts on cloudless, electric blue skies. It is a perceptual oasis from the daily pressures of life in the fast lane.
There is something very dramatic about standing under the coniferous protection of pine trees that were established on the earth before Christ took his first steps. Above us are the lofty branches of the redwoods, the living testimonials to all the many changes that have taken place since the dawn of man. A little higher and just a prayer away are the heavens themselves. The natural grandeur and majesty of America’s sequoias is summed up very well in Craig's song Cathedral Pines.
Alexander Pope wrote, "To err is human, to forgive divine." To me there is nothing more unburdening than to forgive someone. Carrying around on your soul the weight of bitterness and hate slows down the journey to happiness. Forgiveness, Craig's unhurried, melancholy piece with its resoundingly clear voice is a reminder that one of the places we can allow ourselves to go is to redemption. Meditation is a sweet, flowing euphonic work. It is the kind of music you can use to count billowy white clouds or the gleaming stars. You can also use the tune to count your blessings.
The longest and best cut is called Virginia Mountain Morning and it is my favorite. The mist-filled hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains are a delight by dawn's early light. There are places where the clouds hang like halos over the mountains, the pine trees always point heavenward and the river waters flow with an effervescent life. There is a quietness to be had and to be appreciated.
Craig Urquhart has once again produced a masterful work of musical poetry that is introspective and full of promise. There are eleven glorious places on the album you can go to, but I will bet for you that there is a twelfth. Everyone needs Secret Spaces.