The Healing Piano
2008 / Far Away Music Canada
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Healing Piano is the third installment in Debbie Fortnum’s instrumental trilogy, following “The Beautiful Piano” (2007) and “The Christmas Piano” (2006). Also known as a worship leader, singer, songwriter, and speaker, Fortnum is a multi-talented Canadian artist who brings a message of hope, love, and grace to whatever she does. This highly-produced collection of new arrangements of old hymns and original pieces is very new age in styling with atmospheric sounds and voices layered with the piano and other instruments. The collection also includes two of Fortnum’s original vocals featured as “bonus tracks.” It is interesting how Fortnum has taken some classic hymns, revamped them in a contemporary style, and retitled them (the original titles are in the liner notes for those who are having trouble with “Name That Tune”!). Unlike many hymn collections, this is not a sing-along album, but one to listen to, savor, and get lost in. The powerfully uplifting music will lighten anyone’s burden whether they are religious or not.
The CD opens with “Forever Friend” (“Our Great Savior”) which blends ambient sound, piano, and wordless vocals to create a warm and inviting beginning. “Ocean Of Mercy” (“It Is Well With My Soul”) starts with the sound of water and becomes piano with background ambient sound - a lovely arrangement. “Journey Through the Pain” is a piece Fortnum composed when she was eleven and enduring her own journey. Dark and passionate, there is always a glimmer of hope - an amazing piece for someone so young. “Visions” is based on “Be Thou My Vision,” a hymn that dates back to the 8th century and that has become incredibly popular the past several years - another wonderful arrangement. I have reviewed a lot of instrumental hymns CDs, and I have always wondered why no one ever recorded “In the Garden,” one of my favorite hymns since childhood. Well, someone finally did, and it was worth the wait! Thanks, Debbie! “Midnight Bells” is the first song composed by Fortnum’s son, Noah, at age 9, and is another remarkable piece. The melody is simple, but very powerful with its dark drama and message of hope. “Amazing Grace” is probably the ultimate classic hymn, and this version begins with bagpipes and becomes a duet with the piano backed by angel voices. “Like An Eagle” is an original piece the was written as a vocal piece and first appeared on Fortnum’s 2006 “To Love and Be Loved” - gorgeous with or without words! The last instrumental track is “The Healing River,” based on “There is a Fountain.” The sound of flowing water makes this beauty even more soothing. I also really like both vocal tracks - Fortnum’s voice is lovely and full of honest emotion that really communicates.
The Healing Piano is a real treat for the ears and the heart. It is widely available from both internet and retail outlets. Recommended!
January 22, 2009