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Album Review: Piano Instrumentals 1
Magnus Hördegård
Cover image of the album Piano Instrumentals 1 by Magnus Hördegård
Piano Instrumentals 1
Magnus Hördegård
2020 / Hördegård Musik
28 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Piano Instrumentals 1 is a collection of eight original solo piano singles by Swedish pianist/composer Magnus Hördegård. The “album” is currently a Spotify playlist, but the singles are available individually on Amazon and Apple Music/iTunes as well as other streaming sites. Hördegård started releasing these singles on April 4, 2020, and has released a new single every three or four weeks since then. (Another group of eight singles will be compiled for his next solo piano playlist, scheduled for spring 2021.) Elements of classical, neoclassical, and soft jazz piano stylings merge to create a unique yet very accessible musical voice that I am enjoying very much.

The piano is lightly muted on all of the tracks, giving it a softer and less-percussive sound, and also allowing the sound of some of the inner workings of the piano to become a part of the music. This is usually accomplished by placing cloth between the hammers and the strings.

Magnus Hördegård’s story is as compelling as his music: “The Swedish Pianist, Writer and Composer Magnus Hördegård’s peaceful music and touching lyrics have been inspired by his severe illness. At the age of three, Magnus was diagnosed with terminal cancer. This happened in 1972 and he was one of the first children in Sweden treated with radiation for his cancer. Against all odds, Magnus survived. As an adult, however, he was diagnosed with both diabetes and chronic cancer as a result of the radiation he was treated with as a little boy. Music and creativity are what give Magnus strength - it is the place where he can rest and breathe.”

The first single, “Begin to Fly,” is a light and optimistic piece that feels very warm and encouraging - a beautiful beginning! “Gentle Dance” is very delicate - almost shy and a little mysterious. “Yellow” is livelier and suggests a swirling motion that runs throughout the piece - very warm and joyful. As the music starts to fade, a quiet drumming sound comes in that is either created by softly drumming on the piano case or completely damping the strings and playing the piano keys - a very interesting effect! “For You” has a graceful slow waltz rhythm that expresses deep love and contentment better than any words could - a dreamy favorite! The poignant “After Tears” gently tugs at the heartstrings with its expression of deep sadness - I really love this one! “To New Horizons” returns to a quietly optimistic outlook and a sense of moving forward; you can almost see this piece smiling! I think my blood pressure dropped ten points while listening to “Serenity”! It’s so silky-smooth and soothing it’s kind of like a mind massage. “The Engine” is made up of several themes that that flow from one to the next. The themes are quite different from each other and yet work together so well - from a moderately driving energy to very quietly pensive to flowing and reflective - my favorite piece of the playlist!

I really like this collection of singles and look forward to more music from Magnus Hördegård!
November 17, 2020
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