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Album Review: Myths & Legends
Michele de Wilton
Cover image of the album Myths & Legends by Michele de Wilton
Myths & Legends
Michele de Wilton
2008 / Michele de Wilton Records
54 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Myths & Legends is the debut release from pianist/composer Michele de Wilton. As the title suggests, the thirteen piano solos were inspired by tales of yore - some well-known and some more obscure. A classically-trained pianist, de Wilton’s influences are varied, but she has always especially loved musical storytelling. This music is intended to be relaxing and soothing to both children and adults, and makes a very unobtrusive backdrop for quiet activities for listeners of any age. deWilton’s beautiful and impressive website (micheledewilton.com) has illustrated summaries of each of the stories, giving listeners an idea of what inspired the music. Although many myths and legends are violent and turbulent, most of the tales on this album are about love, passion, and yearning.

“Salt River” is the first of the legends, and refers to a river outside Cape Town, South Africa that flows into the ocean. The rolling rhythm of the left hand captures the spirit of the ebb and flow of the waters as they converge. “The Ice Maiden” is a Norse tale about a frost “giantess” who enchants the god of sunshine and rain. Threatened with an unbreakable spell, she consents to marriage, eventually falling in love with her new husband. The music alternates between icy aloofness and warm contentment, reflecting the emotional range of the story. (There is a music video of this piece on YouTube as well as de Wilton’s site.) “The Lady of Shallot” is a tragic tale of unrequited love, and I really like the musical telling of this story. “The Vigil” honors women throughout history who waited patiently for their men to come home from war or the sea. A dark loneliness runs through the music, but it isn’t without hope. “Hymn of the Hills” is a favorite. Mysterious and majestic, it suggests images of faraway places and times. “Waltz For Gerda & Kay” is another story about The Ice Queen. The slow waltz tempo and simplicity of the piece create a chill and a feeling of despair. “Voyage of the Argo” is dark and solemn, reflecting the danger of the mission of Jason and the Argonauts as well as the knowledge that they would probably not return. The left hand maintains a rolling motion that conveys the movement of the ocean. “Sea of Sunset,” based on a poem by Emily Dickinson, is simple and elegant - almost magical. “Nursery Rhyme for a Starry Sky” is a light and playful ending to this very enjoyable musical journey.

Myths & Legends should give Michele de Wilton’s musical career a very strong launching! It is widely available at local as well as online music retailers. Check it out!
January 24, 2010
This review has been tagged as:
Debut Albums
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