2019 / William Ogmundson
Review by Kathy Parsons
Forevermore is the seventh album (not counting singles) from award-winning pianist/ composer/ lyricist William Ogmundson. His previous release, Simple Gifts (2018), was nominated as “Album of the Year” by Whisperings Solo Piano Radio and has been nominated for several other awards as well. Classically-trained from a very young age, Ogmundson started performing at the age of 5 and went on to win many piano competitions. He has performed at venues throughout North America and Europe including Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and St. Peter’s Basilica at The Vatican. A pianist who can play virtually any style of music on the piano, Ogmundson clearly displays his versatility on Forevermore - there isn’t a weak track on this album!
Forevermore consists of fourteen piano solos, twelve of which are original compositions. The album was produced by fellow artist/pianist Greg Maroney at his Harmony Grove Studio and performed on Greg’s Steinway concert grand piano. Keeping it “in the family,” Greg’s wife, Linda, a very impressive artist in her own right, did the artwork and design of the album. I would fully expect Forevermore to do as well as (or possibly even better than) Simple Gifts and I truly hope it will bring William Ogmundson and his music the recognition and appreciation they so richly deserve! I’m not going to name any favorites on this album because they are all exceptional!
The album begins with “New Fallen Snow,” a very gentle and peaceful piece that occasionally sparkles like light dancing on fresh snow. “Moving On” expresses the feeling of moving forward with just a touch of bittersweet melancholy. It begins slowly, as if not quite ready to go. It gradually picks up the tempo a little at a time, sometimes pausing to look back. Near the end, optimism and a lighter mood propel it forward. (My interpretation!) The title “More Than Enough” could mean gratitude for what we have in life or it could be words of encouragement for someone feeling down and insignificant. Either idea works beautifully with this warm and uplifting piece. Erik Satie (1866-1925) wrote a series of six piano solos that he called “Gnossiennes.” The first three are well-known, but the fourth is quite possibly the most beautiful. Dark, mysterious and more than a little haunting, Ogmundson plays it to perfection. The title track could easily have lyrics that undoubtedly are (or would be) of a loving and romantic nature - possibly for a wedding. “Edgar Allan Poe” takes on the form of a Romantic era waltz that makes me smile and think of Chopin each time I hear it. In an interesting juxtaposition, “Closing Time Blues” comes next - slow, kinda funky, and pure bluesy fun. “Insomnia” sounds like it could be tortured, but this beautiful piece seems to linger right at the edge of sleep, moving slowly and gracefully, just not quite dropping off. It is very hypnotic and quite possibly an antidote to insomnia itself. Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” is a piece most piano students learn at one time or another and is likely one of the most-recognized piano pieces ever written. Ogmundson’s inclusion of it is a delight! “Chloe” is a very “classical” piece that seems to express sweetness and innocence and brings this excellent album to a quiet close.
Forevermore is a wonderful musical experience from the first note to the last! It is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.
March 8, 2019