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Album Review: Nocturnes
Jamie Alexander Smith
Cover image of the album Nocturnes by Jamie Alexander Smith
Jamie Alexander Smith
2019 / Jamie Alexander Smith
9 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Nocturnes is the second EP from Scottish pianist/composer Jamie Alexander Smith. The album contains three original solo piano “Nocturnes” that are stunningly beautiful contemporary interpretations of this classical music form. Literally translated as “Night Songs,” the style originated with Irish composer John Field (1782-1837) and was made even more popular by Frederic Chopin (1810-1849). Often lyrical and melancholy but not always peaceful, the majority of nocturnes have been composed for solo piano.

Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Jamie Alexander Smith started playing the piano as a young child and was soon improvising and composing his own music. He performed a concert of his own compositions in school when he was eleven. His first recording, Kinesis (2014), is also an EP, and is comprised of four jazz piano improvisations (I haven’t heard that a one yet!).

Nocturnes begins with “Nocturne in Bb Major,” a “peaceful prelude” to the other two pieces. A series of slow broken chords begin and end the piece, with a gentle main theme that soothes the mind and warms the heart. “Nocturne in C# Minor” has rapidly-flowing arpeggios throughout and a relatively simple melody that emerges from within the swirling notes. Gorgeous and also very peaceful despite the quick flow of the piece! “Nocturne in G# Minor” is my favorite and is more reminiscent of the classical form than the other two pieces on the album. The poignant right hand melody is played over broken chords on the left. This one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve heard in a while and I can’t wait to get my hands on the sheet music! And yes, sheet music for all three Nocturnes is available from Bandcamp and Smith’s website.

I absolutely love Nocturnes! My only criticism of the album is that it’s too short! Hopefully there will be more music from Jamie Alexander Smith soon! Nocturnes is available from www.JamieAlexanderSmith.com, Amazon, Bandcamp and Spotify. Don’t miss it!
October 8, 2019
This review has been tagged as:
Kathy's PicksModern Classical