is pianist/composer Mary Martin Stockdale’s third album, and is the first for me. Incorporating the three themes of nature, The West, and philosophies of life into her music, Stockdale’s style is strong and assured without being brash or overbearing. Her music has a freshness that suggests some improvisation, but it also has strong classical roots. Residing in Colorado, Stockdale has inspirational beauty all around her, and her impeccable playing allows her to convey whatever message she chooses or feels. Both tender and percussive, this is an artist in total control of her instrument.
includes thirteen piano solos, and all are strong and beautiful in their own right. “Willows By the Stream” is a favorite with its lazy grace and elegant melody - gorgeous! “The Calling” is also wonderful. Inspired by the call of a meadowlark, it also reflects those inner voices that tell us to accomplish as much as we can in life. “Catch and Release” is a fishing term, but also symbolizes moments of our lives, caught for an instant before we have to let them go. Darker and pensive, this piece really reaches the heart. “Raindance” reminds me of some of Robin Spielberg’s lighter pieces, joyfully dancing among the upper registers of the piano. “Bluebird Waltz” has this same playful spirit, and is delightful. “Smoke In the Valley” is darker and moodier, and is another favorite. Inspired by forest fires in Colorado a few years ago, it carries a dual theme of death and destruction followed by rebirth and new life. “Falling Snow” finishes the collection on a light, carefree note.
is an excellent collection of personal and expressive piano solos. It is available from Amazon.com. Samples are available on marymartinstockdale.com