Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: The Open Door
Michael Straugh
Cover image of the album The Open Door by Michael Straugh
The Open Door
Michael Straugh
2007 / Straugh House Publishing
48 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Open Door is Michael Straugh’s third release of original piano solos, and I’m happy to say that this album was recorded on a Petrof grand piano rather than an electronic instrument. What a difference! Without the too-bright metallic sound of the earlier instruments, it is much easier to hear the music as Straugh intended - much warmer and more expressive. It is interesting to note that in addition to composing and playing all of the music, Straugh created the cover art and wrote the poem in the liner notes that explains the album title. Combining classical and contemporary elements with his own personal vision, Straugh is carving out his own niche within the new age music movement with music that is both strong and soothing.

The Open Door begins with “Hand in Hand,” a love song full of contentment and hope. Gentle and lyrical, there is a sense of strength and of moving forward. “Halo” is innocent and light. “Cascades II” is quietly majestic - graceful yet commanding. “Winelight” is slightly more upbeat, but is very easy-going, relaxed, and quite beautiful. The melody for “Back Where You Belong” is strong enough to support lyrics, and seems to be giving advice and telling a story as well as warmly welcoming someone back. “Coming Home” is my favorite track. A sense of urgency and anticipation propels the piece forward and seems to say “I can’t wait to get there.” Lovely! The title track is a bit more abstract, as is the poem that accompanies it. The poem is full of paradox and contradiction, and the piece is somewhat darker and more improvised than the other ten tracks, searching and looking for answers. I like this one a lot, too. “Faerie” is a six-movement, twelve minute fairy tale set to music. The titled movements are “Prelude: The Dance of the Faerie,” “The Forbidden Kiss,” “The Court War and the Potion,” and “The Dance of the Faerie;” there is also a “Prologue” and an “Epilogue.” Full of color and drama, this is quite an interesting suite.

The Open Door is by far Michael Straugh’s best CD to date. For more information about Michael Straugh and his music, visit his site at michaelstraugh.com.
July 7, 2007
More reviews of Michael Straugh albums