Piano Instrumentals 2
2021 / Hordegard Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Piano Instrumentals 2 is a compilation of eight solo piano singles by Swedish pianist/composer Magnus Hördegård. Hördegård began releasing relaxing piano singles every three or four weeks starting in April 2020, and this is his second playlist. Also a piano teacher and an author, he has free-lanced and toured with many artists over the years. Magnus' original music often has classical and/or jazz influences, and he makes very effective use of the technique of felting the piano strings to create a softer effect that also allows some of the sounds of the inner workings of the piano action to become part of the music. Some of the pieces are more felted than others, but they are all very expressive.
Much of Hördegård's music has been inspired by his severe health issues since he was a very young child. When he was three (1972), he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and became one of the first children in Sweden to be treated with radiation. Against all odds, he survived, but as an adult, he was diagnosed with both diabetes and chronic cancer which resulted from the childhood radiation treatments. Music and creativity give Magnus strength and provide a place where he can rest and breathe more easily.
"Flow River Flow" is the first piece on the Playlist. Lively and upbeat with a beautiful flowing quality, you can easily see images of sunlight dancing on the surface of the moving water. "Kyrie - Piano Version" is one of my favorites. Gently introspective with a touch of melancholy, the music is quiet and uncomplicated yet expresses very deep emotion. I love "Winter 2" with its icy stillness, the relaxed energy of the first section, and the hushed, chilly beauty of the second half - gorgeous! "Purple Blue" has a very free, spontaneous feeling that becomes almost haunting with the echoing effect of the felting. "Cracks" has more of a smooth jazz style that flows at a very leisurely tempo - warm and soothing. "Beautiful Conversation" has a very classical feel. A little bit Baroque and a little bit Romantic, it is peaceful contentment set to music! Very slow and spacious, "When the Lights Are Out" suggests the warmth and tranquility of a dark night when everything is quiet and at rest. "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" expresses reassurance and the optimism that is gradually coming back into our lives as the pandemic eases somewhat - kind of a musical hug!
All eight of the pieces on Piano Instrumentals 2 are beautifully and sensitively composed and played, and I can highly recommend them all. The full Playlist is available on Spotify and the singles can be streamed or downloaded on Amazon, iTunes/Apple Music as well as Spotify. Both thumbs up!
May 19, 2021