AT EASE, is a continuation of Craig Urquhart’s lifelong exploration of what solo piano music can express emotionally through tonal harmony. This is Craig’s 11th album of original solo piano compositions performed by the composer himself.
The music in this collection was composed during 2020, a year overshadowed by COVID-19 and political turmoil. Craig, a classically trained composer/pianist, draws on the inspiration of the great composers for keyboard — Bach, Chopin, Schumann, Brahms and Debussy — as well as many others, including 20th Century singer/songwriters Joni Mitchell and Lara Nyro, and creates a new form musical poetry that emphasizes music as a form of healing. Leonard Bernstein wrote of Craig’s music, “his tonal approach is not merely ‘sincere’, but generally moving with a private beauty of its own.”
Craig said: “I believe that music can heal both heart and soul and make us all better people, by experiencing joy, sadness, longing and emotions that can be conveyed through sound. So why AT EASE? Believing when things are out of one’s control, it is best to be informed but not infected. It is time to take a deep breath and be at ease with one’s self.”
The nine tracks on this album reflect Craig’s philosophy.
The first composition, PASTORAL was written for Craig’s brother as a 70th Birthday present, reflecting easier times when childhood brought a sense of security and peace. LAMENTATION, written In Memoriam: Jutta Grafin zu Reventlow, a long-time friend and inspiration, expresses the sadness one feels when losing a friend, but also honors a life well lived. The title track on the album, AT EASE, is about acceptance and the realization that there is much to be grateful for. SOARING SWALLOWS represents Craig’s comfort, spending many evenings on his Berlin balcony with a glass of wine, watching as the sun goes down as these graceful birds fly free “above the fray.”