In the Arms of the Wind
1998 / North Star Music #NS0095
Review by Kathy Parsons
This is the sixth album from composer/pianist Robin Spielberg, and is every bit as good or better than her critically acclaimed best-seller, “Songs of the Spirit”. The feel of the album reflects Robin’s own gentle and optimistic personality, but this album is no snooze! One of the things that makes the recording exceptional is the way it starts out quietly, builds, becomes quiet again, builds, and ends on a very peaceful note. The instrumentation is excellent with Robin’s piano sometimes solo and sometimes joined by cello, fiddle, flute, oboe, guitar, orchestra bells, and even accordion and bouzouki!
The album opens with “Dancing in the Gentle Rain”, as lovely and refreshing as the title. The next two tracks are also soothing. Then we meet an elephant in the supermarket, which has to inspire a smile! “Butterfly” is a perfect musical description of a butterfly dancing in the spring sunshine. The title track tells the Sufi Teaching Story of a stream that had easily traveled through all sorts of terrain until it reached the desert. Each time it tried to cross, it found itself being absorbed by the sand. The Voice of the Desert told the stream that the wind crosses with ease, and that the stream could evaporate and be carried over the desert “in the arms of the wind”. By trusting this voice, the stream was transported across the desert, fell as gentle rain on the other side, and went on its way. Robin strongly identifies with this story, and it really shows in the emotional content of this song. The orchestra bells in the background are soothing and haunting, and sounds of the wind carrying the stream are gorgeous. “Take the Time (Learning to Knit)” is patience set to music. “The Softball Game/A Swim at the Quarry” contrasts the lively pace of a ballgame on a hot afternoon with the serenity of a cool swim among the giant rocks. “Dawn at Walden Place” was composed in Robin’s head one very cold winter as she was waiting for the early-morning bus to take her to New York City. She composed the piece by trying to keep the melody and counter-melody going in her head to take her mind off the cold. “Drombeg Stone Circle Dance” becomes a stirring celebration of the ancient rituals that were held on that site in Ireland. “Kitten’s First Snow” makes me smile, as I too love cats. “Dream On” is the perfect closing piece for this album, and it feels like Robin is saying “So long for now”.
I highly recommend this album to anyone who enjoys other pianist/composers such as Suzanne Ciani and David Lanz, or anyone who loves sincere, optimistic melodies.
August 8, 1998