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Album Review: Streamwalker
Craig Urquhart
Cover image of the album Streamwalker by Craig Urquhart
Craig Urquhart
2004 / HeartEarth Music
60 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Streamwalker is a beautiful collection of original piano solos by Craig Urquhart that range from gently melodic to more abstract and ambient to jazz. A classically-trained pianist who worked as Leonard Bernstein’s personal assistant for the last five years of the legendary composer/conductor’s life, Urquhart’s music sounds deceptively simple. However the complex harmonies and rhythms as well as Urquhart’s emotional and nuanced playing style allow the listener to discover new facets with each listen. Urquhart leaves a lot of open spaces between the notes and phrases, preferring subtlety and expression over showy pianistics, making this CD a very satisfying experience on a variety of levels.

All of the tracks on Streamwalker has its own charm, but I do have some favorites. The CD opens with“Morning Eagle,” a sublimely peaceful piece that was inspired by watching eagles flying overhead while on a canoe trip. It is easy to picture these powerful birds effortlessly gliding through the skies, riding the wind currents. “The Astronomer” is a quietly passionate piece reflecting the awe of losing oneself while looking at the vastness of the night sky. The open feeling of this piece and the deeply emotional expression make this a real standout. “The Awakening” is a piece Urquhart composed as a birthday gift for Leonard Bernstein, and is a bit more classical. Urquhart usually includes one bluesy or jazzy piece on his albums, and “Jazzed” is that selection on this album. Showing a different side of his playing and composing, these pieces tend to be a bit whimsical and fun, lightening the mood considerably. “Interlude” is several shades darker and more reflective - gently melodic and very evocative. “Reverie” is a special favorite, depicting the entrance to the world of dreamtime, the magical state where all living things are connected in peace; this is serenity set to music. Urquhart wrote the haunting “Ghost Canyon” just days after 9/11, observing the empty urban “canyons” of lower Manhattan that were once so full of optimism and humanity. “Impromptu” is a gorgeous, thoughtful nod to Chopin and Schubert that is warmly optimistic and hopeful, and played with a touch as gentle as a caress. The title track closes the CD with a light mood and a sense of wonder. What a great album!

Streamwalker is currently available from craigurquhart.com. Very highly recommended!
May 18, 2004
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Kathy's Favorites: 2004
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