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Album Review: The Beautiful Piano
Debbie Fortnum
Cover image of the album The Beautiful Piano by Debbie Fortnum
The Beautiful Piano
Debbie Fortnum
2007 / Far Away Music Corp.
43 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Beautiful Piano is a wonderful collection of original pieces, arrangements of pop songs and hymns; all are piano instrumentals except the two vocal pieces that are featured at the end of the album as “bonus tracks.” In addition to being a singer/songwriter/pianist, Fortnum is an inspirational speaker and worship leader. Both wife and daughter of ministers and the mother of three, Fortnum wears her heart and spirituality on her sleeve, a gift to all who are receptive to her openness and musicality. Three of the original pieces are loving tributes to each of her children and one of the vocal selections is a piece Fortnum sang to her husband on their wedding day - all deeply personal yet universally understood. In her liner notes, Fortnum explains that her intention with this album is to bring a sense of soothing sanctuary to busy lives, support to the institution of marriage, and to help people discover their destinies to love and be loved by God.

The Beautiful Piano opens with “Dance of the Angels (Moriah’s Song),” a piece composed for her eldest daughter. Fortnum paints a musical portrait of a very self-confident young person, living life to the fullest, and protected by her angels. Next up is the venerable “Pachelbel Canon in D,” arranged for piano and strings. The most powerful piece on the album is the stunning “Easter Morning Sunrise.” A tribute to the beauty of the events surrounding Christ’s Passion Week, this dark and deeply emotional piece sends tingles down the back of my neck. Fortnum’s voice is one of the musical instruments used, and the wordless vocals symbolize her “speechless wonder of it all.” The whole album is really good, but this one piece is worth the price by itself. Breathtaking! “Love Divine” is an old hymn written by Charles Wesley, given a lovely, contemporary setting for solo piano. “Let Me Comfort You (Noah’s Song)” was composed for Fortnum’s son. Tender and loving, Noah himself insisted that Chris Janz, Fortnum’s co-producer and recording partner, play electric guitar on his song, giving it a more “boyish” touch. “Morning Has Broken” is a popular hymn full of hope and optimism, this time as a piano solo. “Tears of Joy (Shanna’s Song)” was composed for Fortnum’s younger daughter, a dancer, and reflects some of the emotions associated with deep joy. “The Music Box Dancer” is a sweet little piece that never seems to go out of style (except through overuse on neighborhood ice cream trucks!). Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” is lovingly arranged for piano and strings. “Love Never Fails” is a vocal duet with Chris Janz. Fortnum wrote the piece as a teenager, basing the lyrics on 1st Corinthians, Chapter 13. It’s a beautiful setting for the Biblical guidelines for what love is. “I Am Yours” was written for Fortnum to sing to her husband at their wedding, a deeply personal expression of love and devotion.

The Beautiful Piano is very true to its title, and is a stirring collection of beautiful music with a Christian theme. It is available from farawayworship.com and cdbaby.com. Recommended!
July 15, 2007
This review has been tagged as:
Hymn Arrangements
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