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Album Review: Daydream
Michele de Wilton
Cover image of the album Daydream by Michele de Wilton
Michele de Wilton
2011 / Michele de Wilton
43 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Michele de Wilton’s second release, Daydream, is a collection of eleven original piano solos inspired by fairy tales, mythology, folk songs, and poetry. Recorded on a Steinway concert grand, most of the music is gentle and reflective, making this a great album for relaxing and unwinding. de Wilton’s playing style is expressive and graceful as she conveys her tales of love and loss, breathtaking imaginary places, and heroes and heroines of yore.

Daydream begins with “There is Another Sky,” inspired by a poem by Emily Dickinson that invites the reader/listener to escape to another reality whenever life becomes troubling and difficult. Warm and reassuring, it’s a lovely start. “Shimoda” is the name of a town in Japan where a tragic legend is told about a young geisha who became the mistress of an American diplomat and drowned herself when he left her behind (possibly also the inspiration for Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly). de Wilton composed the piece using a pentatonic scale which uses only on the black keys of the piano, giving the piece an appropriate Asian flavor. “Heaven’s Bridge” is a powerful and dramatic work that describes the mythological Bifrost Bridge that connects the human world and the realm of the gods in Norse mythology. de Wilton uses arpeggio runs to represent the arch of the Bifrost Bridge as well as the movement of the gods between the worlds - a colorful and evocative piece. One of my favorites is “In the Garden of the Selfish Giant,” inspired by one of Oscar Wilde’s poignant fairy tales. Gently told, the story is about a giant who built a wall around his beautiful garden to keep the local children out. Spring refuses to come, leaving the garden always in winter. The children eventually find a hole in the wall, and spring returns. The giant’s heart is softened by the sight of a child crying, and he knocks the wall down. The song was inspired specifically by the end of the story when the children find the giant has died peacefully under a tree, covered in blossoms. I also really like “Winterbluegreen,” inspired by a poem by Robert Francis. de Wilton uses a simple, melancholy melody played in the upper registers of the piano and triad chords in the bass to create a crystalline picture of winter’s deep chill. “Song For Eurydice” is painfully sad as it tells the story of Orpheus’ journey to the underworld to bring his recently-departed wife back to the world of the living. Instructed to not look at her until they have both reached the mortal world, Orpheus turns as he steps into our world and loses his wife forever. The foreboding tone of the song expresses grief and the deepest loss. “The Giver of the Stars” brings us back to a feeling of light and optimism. Our final “daydream” is “Lullaby in Lavender,” based on the traditional children’s folk song and arranged for de Wilton’s purple-loving daughter. It’s a gentle and loving piece that ends the album with a whisper.

Daydream is a lovely follow-up to Myths and Legends and is available from micheledewilton.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended.
June 13, 2011
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