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Album Review: The Dream of the Ancient Ones
Craig Urquhart
Cover image of the album The Dream of the Ancient Ones by Craig Urquhart
The Dream of the Ancient Ones
Craig Urquhart
1993 / HeartEarth Music
68 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Dream of the Ancient Ones was pianist/composer Craig Urquhart’s second solo piano recording, and he accurately calls it “an epic.” Somewhat “bigger” and more powerful than Urquhart’s other recordings, “Ancient Ones” reveals another facet of his playing and composing styles. The nine tracks are grouped into three movements, each with an introductory Incantation, and two dreams. The work as a whole was designed as a musical and mythical approximation of a classic religious “triptych” painting, with two sides opening to the third. “The Ancient Ones” are the ancestors from long ago who brought knowledge to civilization over the centuries and have special spiritual powers. The three Incantations reflect the use of magical ceremonies used to summon this ancient knowledge. Overall, the music is dark and mysterious with strong classical influences. Urquhart is an exceptionally expressive pianist, giving his music a broad range of musical colors. While the three incantations are darker and more improvised, there are also quieter, gentler pieces such as the warm and serene “The Wonder of Miracles,” which closes the epic on an optimistic and peaceful note. “The Dream of Flight” was composed for Urquhart’s late employer, Leonard Bernstein (Urquhart was his personal assistant for the last five years of his life), as a birthday gift, and is also very tranquil, as is “The Dream of Mother Earth.” I really enjoy all of the tracks on this album, but especially like the rhythm and energy of “Incantation II.” The Dream of the Ancient Ones is a fascinating musical journey, and is available from amazon.com and craigurquhart.com.
March 3, 1993
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