2014 / Bill Whitfield
Review by Kathy Parsons
Enchanted is one of six solo piano albums pianist/composer Bill Whitfield has released in the past four years, with another on the way later this year. The twenty-four tracks include original compositions and Whitfield’s arrangements of hymns, classical pieces, and a couple of pop songs. Some of these tracks also appear on Whitfield’s other releases. Whitfield’s intention with his music is to provide “soothing music for a restless world” and “to bless as many people as possible with my music.” There are no pounding chords or flashy glissandos - just heartfelt, melodic pieces to brighten your day and lift your spirit.
Enchanted begins with “Take My Hand,” a sweet love song expressed with gentle tenderness and grace. “Memories of You” is dreamy and nostalgic while “Until We Meet Again” is an affectionate “so long for now.” “Dream On My Child” is an affectionate lullaby for a sleepy child. I really like “Lightness of Being”! Somewhat bittersweet and melancholy, the beautiful melody comes from the heart. The title track is also a favorite and seems to be inspired by the quote from C.S. Lewis that’s in the liner notes: “This enchanted life its beauty and wonder is a reminder to us of our divine appointment.” “For the Beauty of the Earth” has become a popular hymn among pianists, and Whitfield’s arrangement keeps it simple and warm. I love “Miracles,” which expresses a sense of wonder and awe with a graceful elegance. “Comforts of Home” seems to be singing without words, conveying the joy of being exactly where you should be. Johnny Mercer’s “The Shadow of Your Smile” is the love theme from the 1965 film The Sandpiper and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Grammy for Song of the Year. Truly a timeless classic, Whitfield lets the melody shine without a lot of embellishments. “Illumination” was the title track from another Whitfield release from 2014 - a very beautiful and soulful piece! “Sweet Progress” expresses the satisfaction of moving forward and making headway in life or on a project. Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman to Me” works as well as a piano solo as it does as a vocal song. “Melody’s Charm” is another favorite - a warm and tender melody with a simple accompaniment says so much more than words! As a longtime piano teacher who loves Chopin’s music, I have a small problem with the changes made in his “Prelude in E Minor.” To my ears, it’s perfect in its original form. It really is amazing how well the piano expresses rain in its mainly forms and intensities. “Raindrops” is a lively piece that beautifully describes the lightness and sweetness of a spring shower - I love this one! “Be Thou My Vision” is another popular hymn among pianists, and Whitfield’s arrangement is lovely. “Reminiscence” brings the album to a close with a piece that is reflective and nostalgic.
If you are looking for a very pleasant hour (plus) of solo piano music, Enchantment may be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby.
July 24, 2016