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Songbook Review: Calm Seas
Craig Urquhart
Cover image of the songbook Calm Seas by Craig Urquhart
Calm Seas
Craig Urquhart
2016 / Heart Earth Music
46 pages / 13 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Calm Seas is the companion sheet music collection of all thirteen pieces from Craig Urquhart’s 2016 recording by the same title. Transcribed by the composer (Urquhart), the music is beautifully engraved and printed on a high quality bright white paper stock. The binding is stapled, but I had no trouble keeping the book open while I played through it. The covers are a plain cream-colored stock that is simple and elegant. Playing the notes in Urquhart’s music is not difficult. What is trickier is achieving the artistry of Urquhart’s expressive touch and the way he relays the stories, impressions and inspirations for the music. Only one piece had some reaches of more than an octave, but many of the pieces extensively use ledger lines than can require a pause in the playing to read correctly since there can be as many as five lines on a note stem. Of course, pianists who don’t quickly read that many ledgers can pencil in what those notes are for ease of playing. Some of the pieces have pedaling suggestions, and the expression and dynamics are clearly marked. Urquhart’s playing can be quite rubato, so I wasn’t surprised that there are no metronome settings. They really aren’t necessary since the timing isn’t often complicated. My favorite pieces to play are “Wellfleet Winter,” “Sandpiper’s Dance,” “Daydreaming,” and “Blue Skies.” The sheet music books and downloads of individual pieces are available exclusively from www.CraigUrquhart.com. Very highly recommended!

The titles, the keys the pieces are in, and the number of pages are:

Calm Seas - Key of D (2 sharps) - 4 pages
North Star - Key of G (1 sharp) - 3 pages
Waltz - Key of Db (5 flats) - 3 pages
Wellfleet Winter - Key of G minor (2 flats) - 5 pages
Green Mountain - Key of G - 3 pages
Night Thoughts - Key of Bb minor (5 flats) - 2 pages
Fair Wind - Key of C# minor (4 sharps) - 5 pages
Sandpiper’s Dance - Key of E minor (1 sharp) - 5 pages
New Moon - Key of A (3 sharps) - 4 pages
Devotion - Key of F (1 flat) - 3 pages
Day Dreaming - Key of Eb (3 flats) - 3 pages
Grace - Key of A - 3 pages
Blue Skies - Key of A - 3 pages
December 13, 2016