Firstly, this entire album is going to be what ‘pianos were made for’!! Really, truly!! A piano blend like no other.
TRACK 1. “Mystique”
Bill starts in reflective mood, mystical and spiritual chords embrace us. Their nectar comprising of heavenly notes which in analysis are extremely interesting. The upper shape stays exactly the same, whilst the lower part descends and also uses ‘fermata’ to blissful effect.Am loving the gorgeously arppegiated Am loving the gorgeously arppegiated bass line which gives this piece that perfect ‘piano blend’ I mentioned earlier. Also at play here, the divine use of ‘spread chords’ helping the beautiful melody along, just meandering.Bill is an expert in the use of ‘rubato’and ‘fermata’ which when coupled with his expressive pedalling, is just so sensual.When playing ‘true-blend’ piano, the melodic lines have to shine out , and at the same time the middle thickness must not, so moving these weights around isa balancing act which Bill has totally perfected!!!!“Mystique” is a stunning and romantic Waltz which shall dance in my mind for always!!Fantastic Bill. Genius.
TRACK 2. “Remembrance of You”
I’m feeling kinda sad here.There’s a defined sense of loss I’m hearing, and Bill has cleverly picked the perfect minor key to portray this message to us all.It has the melancholy of a masterpiece maybe written by Nino Rota, but this is Bill’s masterpiece, just waiting for an Italian filmmaker to snatch it up!! The melodic line develops beautifully, and the musical tapestry starts to expand, and it embraces us totally.The gorgeous bonus is that when playing in a minor key, the player must encounter the ‘raised 7th’ at some point, and Bill has represented this divinely, using Chord V for the end of some phrases in arppegiation, and there lies within the ‘raised 7th’!! Bingo!!!There’s a lovely touch at 2.10 when Bill asks us “Oh, where’s this going??” ......and we wonder for a moment, poised on top of a dreamy hiatus.......looking down and waiting, but then all is revealed again in Bill’s perfect piano blend, and we rest assured.The Coda is stunning!! .....little sparkly ascendants, they keep rising gently till they touch the sky, and all of this is done over one pedal action, foot to the floor, and keep it there!! Marvellous Bill! You rock!!
TRACK 3. “Never Forgotten”
There’s a beautiful ‘opposite’ at play here.The title and the major key are beautifully at odds. There has been a loss somewhere, maybe a beloved pet or family member, but the memories Bill has are in happier reflection, hence the major key, really clever!!I am left in curious wonderment!!I’m loving the way Bill comes straight in with the melodic phrases, no intro, just ‘here it is!’ And he doesn’t let us down. Sensitive and really heartfelt playing.It comes to my mind that Bill’s really ‘happy place’is in the time of three-four, where his musicality is natural and effortless.I can imagine him in a slow waltz around the grand piano room in his beautiful home (I’ve seen it on his magnificent website!!)When briefly moving to the lower part of the keyboard, a lovely ‘legato’ surfaces and reminds me of the king of classical legato Murray Perahia. The dynamics never really go above mezzo forte, but that very much suits the timbre of Bill’s playing here. Truly, truly lovely!! And“Never Forgotten”Said by the man himself.
TRACK 4. “Enchanted” Shorter but very sweet indeed!!2.53 of pure bliss.The melody is very pretty and on further investigation, there are 6 units of sound in the phrase, with a gentle ‘tenuto’ only on the ‘first’ unit of the 6 parts. And of course created by Bill in his ‘happy place!! (either three-four or six-eight) at least I think I’m right. Whatever it is, it’s utterly captivating. Am loving the necessary use of repetition for cohesion (which Mozart did a lot of). Gorgeous modulations grow and lead us into a ‘fermata’ at 0.54, with, again, lovely use of rubato. (Cathy Oakes has just fleeted through my thoughts because she does that beautifully too).The piano tone is flawless throughout, and has the all American stamp to it......something that us Brits (like me) can’t seem to achieve!! I just can’t describe it.A gentle finalewith a perfect cadence (V-1) leading us into a longer lasting closing chord, what an ending Bill. You are supremely talented!!
TRACK 5. “Rhapsody’s Star”
In this enchanted piano solo, all the ingredients of a ‘rhapsody’ are present and correct!! An air of inspiration, beautiful colour palettes, and a divine expression of feeling. The opening notes are like ‘droplets laden with gold’, but there is a very slight tinge of seriousness here? Just for a few moments.Units in 3 set a lovely lilting touch, and I am slightly rocking in my chair, beautiful xThis is literally piano music to treasure Bill.I could listen to this introduction all day!!The ‘star’ is very twinkly indeed, using the upper range of the piano to glorious effect. There are even little bursts of silver, like peaceful fireworks in the sky above.A very potent marriage of music and dance throughout.For me, the most striking musical device is the “Picardy 3rd”in closing. This is where a segment of notation in a minor key setting, suddenly has the 3rd degree of the scale raised by one semitone, like C to C#. It’s saying ‘I have found my space, and found my place’ and I’m going to hold on for as long as I can. Just beautiful!!
TRACK 6. “Miracles”
We have 4 time!!!( is that our miracle?).......and it’s just as pleasurable in Bill’s most capable hands!!I sense a rather urgent energy here for this somewhat serious mood. Love it!!I have to write what comes to me, and I hear tiny snippets of Danny Elfman, and cadences where I hear Mary Poppins!!!!How wonderful is that!!An engaging melodic texture draws us in with vibrant patterns of descending 3rds and spread chords, the energy still moving forward. There’s pianistic physicality and virtuosity with snagging little acciaccatura’s bouncing off major/minor 2nds at speed, coursing through my veins!!! It peaks above a snowy mountain top, taking a look, then notation gently parachutes down to land, in true new-age harmony. A real sweet-spot.What an artist. What intention.The coda gently lays us to rest in the highest notes on the piano, safe and secure x
TRACK 7. “Triumph”
And what a ‘triumph’ this music is!!Here we are, taking a leisurely stroll, hand in hand with a major tonality, so beautifully presented by Bill. The gorgeous Steinway piano is sharing some uplifting news with us, we’d love to know, but this is a secret between a man and his piano. I love the ‘glittering array’ of perfectly spread chords in the right hand, placed there by a fairy godmother with her silver wand of everlasting magic!! Bill, may your garland of music be evergreen.
.TRACK 8. “Tenderness”
I love the way Bill plays with his heart on his sleeve. This melody is sooooo tender!! .....and reaches the pinnacle of what is New Age Music.Fabulous use of fermata’s that takes us all to the edge, then gently lowers us down, with great care. The divine use of ‘suspended 4ths’ add that very special touch of tenderness.I think there are more modulations in this work so far, but that works perfectly because it has a long form of 5.04 mins.My favourite parts are where the melodic structure is played in 6ths, and believe me, that is technically challenging to pull off, but Bill does it with no worries at all!!At this point in this prolific body of work, I feel the tenderness of his embrace.Thank you Bill.
TRACK 9. “Eternal Hope”
Instantly melodious, beautiful!!Some lovely ‘conversational’ playing going on here, questions and answers. Bill is saying “please live in hope, with me?”A welcome return of triple time, just gently meandering along, so restful indeed.The right hand perfectly executes some real finger-twisting intricacies, very impressive!! .....but Bill makes them sound very natural and effortless. A lovely lazy days feel.At 1.14, he makes us wait a little for something special to come along, and so it does. A little ballerina appears, poised in her little music-box,she dances for us and says, “a perfect cadence I shall bestow upon you”And in closing, she does, transferred through Bill’s physical musicality.Thank you Bill,for your gift of music to the world!!
TRACK 10. “Kindness”
Just within the opening phrase, I am gone, thank you for your kindness Bill.This is where your music has transported me to...................in a dusky twilight Bill, you see a rusty old gate that opens into a field which should be green, but alas is not. Gently, you push the gate open, and your eyes slowly adjust to a distant figure. As you take more tentative steps, through the tufted, patchy grass, a beautiful shape starts to reveal itself. A majestic shape in dappled grey. You hold on tightly to the gift of an apple in your hand. Getting nearer, and nearer, you note the matted tail and mane, and the dry dusty eyes, made sore by the elements. You also note the stale and dirty water, in a wonky old bucket. This is all he has. Tethered to an old rusty chain has created a crop circle in which this beautiful creature carries out the daily ritual, of round, and round, and round again. Looking back up, your eyes meet and a loving and gentle smile is exchanged. You say ‘here I am, don’t worry, I won’t hurt you’ and you slowly raise the back of your hand to caress him calmly and reassuringly. His whiskers gently nibble your other open hand to accept the priceless gift of a delicious apple.So many others before you Bill, have walked past him without so much as a glance.You whisper to him.....”I’ll try and come back tomorrow”. He gently neighs a purr.Bill, the kindness in your beautiful piece of music, took me straight to this place, and that is all I can say. God bless you.
TRACK 11. “Nostalgic Dreams”
This is Bill in ‘adagio mood’. Dreamy and sun kissed. Such a beautiful gifting for melody.Laced with contemporary charm.Strolling along, enjoying the sunshine, but ‘thinking back’. I sense the nostalgia is mainly a good guy, but there are little twinges of harmony that glimpse a not so certain guy.Bill takes us to occasional ‘top of the hill and look down for a moment’ and the melodic run ups are just perfect for this!!I am physically exhaling, on a breath of glistening sparkles, taking me right to the top of the piano, and keeping me there. I wish I could stay there forever.Just beautiful Bill x
TRACK 12. “Song C”
Song C, sings to me, a song without words, but they are there.Beautiful melodies.Bill is enjoying playing around with good old four-four time!! There’s an energetic force at play here, much more so than previous works.However, it is beautifully punctuated with gentle pauses, quite surprisingly lengthy ones.My feelings change, but are then kept in check!!!Little acciaccaturas dance their sprightly dance, then subdued by plagal cadences, peppered here and there.A promise of uplifting tenderness, gently parts the sometimes driving forces.There’s a lot more contrasting phrasing from Bill here. Quite markedly.The final pedal, dying a beautifully natural death, softly sighs in exhalation.Divine Bill!!!
TRACK 13. “Memories of You”
This graceful, slow waltz finds it’s destiny in a sentimental infusion of emotions, that go way back for Bill. I immediately sense the loss of a beloved human or even a devoted pet.The ‘Adagio –Lento’ metre, just strolls along, while Bill whistles a friendly tune, in the sunshine, befriending happiness to the folks he meets on his way xx. A beautifully centred tone is embellished with little splashy doggy puddles in the higher right hand area, and delicately separated chords decorate this warm and welcoming tonality.I feel a little bit emotional here for Bill, and very mindful of his precious memories that are all he has now. How privileged are we, that Bill shares them with us!! What a gift!!Thank you
TRACK 14. “To a Wild Rose”
What a gorgeous rendition of Edward MacDowell’s ‘To a Wild Rose’It has that inimitable sound that is uniquely Bill’s!!!! A lovely arrangement of the First Subject, beautifully lavish, and fuller toned than the original.Stunning phrasing, allowing the music to breathe, and to remain always poised.In comes the Second Subject, with Bill’svery own choice of complimentary notation, and with such ‘panache’, growing and developing.Still keeping us warm and invited, Bill returns with the First Subject, wrapping his slightly altered arms around us, whispering “come and indulge yourself in my beautiful palette of colours and notes’ for this particular rose is something really special, and never heard before.A truly rosy glow
TRACK 15. “Take My Hand”
Place your heart in Bill’s hand, and he will lead you on a gentle walk, to the end of a rainbow, where his beautiful music is to treasure. Bill has time to do this in the clever choosing of a quadruple metre, and guess what?.....the old ‘piano blend’ is still with us!!! A pretty tune in 6ths, 3rds and single notation is nothing but ‘delightful’. As I sit here, at my laptop, with the doors open, Bill’s music made of sunshine gently rocks me in my chair. I feel that I can see everything that’s beautiful in the world around me, but only because Bill has ‘gifted’ this to me. He can give it to you too!!!! Please ‘take his hand of music’, And he will take you there!!!
TRACK 16. “Passing Through”
I don’t want to get too bogged down about the actual notes of this one, because something else has caught my eyes, and ears. It feels as though Bill is not sitting down at any point here, he’s just passing through and keeps going. A carefree melody says ‘hey, you’re not gonna see me again, as I’m just passing through’. Remember me only......and don’t try to catch me up either! As he walks, taking in everything about his surroundings, it’s almost as if he’s painting the picture in his mind to take home and frame. After all, never to be seen again right? Bill’s just ‘passing through’ but feeling ok!!
TRACK 17. “First Glance”
My first glance of this beautiful work leads me to revel in what sounds like a waltz in four- four, which I know is impossible, how is it doing this to me!!!???? A minor tonality lends itself to the mood o this piece, plus the what I call “Bill’s sprinkly chords”. I notice something very interesting in the rhythmic element of the melody. Lets say it’s in four-four but broken into 8 quavers. The melody is tied across beats four and five, and then six and seven!! Quite complex on reflection. This is making me sway like Stevie Wonder does when he performs. ( I saw him at Wembley in London UK, and he does it all the time!!) I particularly love the right hand descending figure of intervals that happens only once, and it’s 100% pure New-Age, really hits the spot!!! And I also love the long and held pedal note bringing us to a complete peace of closure. Blessed to be a witness of this talent.
TRACK 18. “Serenity”
I am slow waltzing a slight twinge of sadness,with Francis Lai’s hands at my waist, ( I wish I had a waist!!). We dance while Bill serenades us at the piano, a piano which is crying it’s heart out. The 10 note melodic and repeated motif moving and determined. It is absolutely astonishing in beauty. I am singing it right now. Bill leads us to a high plateau, with beautifull controlled dynamics. He keeps us there, in divine suspension, while we glance down, tentatively. He tips us over the edge, with mournful dabs of ‘major-2nds’. Palpable. Bill conveys his deeply personal message, I would love to have known this true story. Heart wrenching as it is.
TRACK 19. “Matters of the Heart”
Love comes in many forms, in matters of the heart, and Bill paints a very musically distinct form of love in this piece for me. Immediately I see an all American soldier coming home from some sort of war, making his way across the field that leads to his grandma’s house. He is in uniform and very handsome and waiting for him in the all wooden slatted house painted yellow, is the best tasting apple pie you’ve ever seen!! Bill’s gorgeous tune is full of ‘waiting’ and ‘anticipation’ in both the soldier’s heart, and the grandma’s heart, as she waits by the window to catch a glimpse of him, in her pink knitted cardigan she made herself, especially for this day. Analysis of this beautiful melody is best explained in the mathematics of it. I’ts in 3 time but I want to break those crotchets up into quavers: 123456 – now the rhythmic part of the melody starts on quavers 4, 5, and 6 and creates a lovely lilting effect. Really beautiful. The whole range of the piano is explored and I particularly love the episode where that gorgeous melody twinkles away in the upper range, mirroring the twinkle in grandma’s eyes, when she finally gets to lay eyes on her beloved grandson, she has patiently waited for this day for far too long. Both hearts are healed and full of love. XX
TRACK 20. “Ascendente”
Within this beautiful ‘ascension’ are tender, rolling waves of notes in the left hand, in repetition, bittersweet. I would say that this piece for Bill, is his most ‘classical – like’ work so far. I hear the ‘romanticism’ and a most complimentary minor – tonality. At the actual ascension, the right hand patterns move up into the heavenly register of the piano. I hear an underlying sadness throughout, and a thought has come to me?? ..........when my beautiful sister who was only 46 and died from breast cancer, I composed a piece in her memory called “The Final Ascension”, so what with Bill’s minor tonality and title description I’m wondering whether he indeed has had a similar sadness?? This is one of the shorter works on his prolific CD. Heart wrenching. XX
TRACK 21. “Immortal Spirit”
This piece is in such contrast to Ascendente!! Uplifting, cheerful, bright and bordering on the playful!!I feel it may be ‘prayer-like’, spiritual and heavenly, saying thank you to our immortal spirit for always being there no matter what. There’s skilful programming here. The main melody is extremely challenging to play, for it is joined by lots of other notes in embellishment, but Bill pulls this off with ease!!!!.......and the entire track has this as it’s main thematic motif. A twinkly coda from on-high plays us out and ends with a very pretty perfect-cadence. Just lovely.
TRACK 22. “Twilight”
Bill’s closing work is quite grey and reflective in colour and mood, and is indeed, again, one of the shorter. The beautiful tune is played in 3rds, 6ths etc and reminds me slightly of the film “Love Story” where the main theme is more or less totally in minor-6ths. I’m wondering if “Twilight” is telling. Telling of the third trimester in all of our liveswhen it comes upon us, a dusky hue, with a dash of pink!! We must hold on to the pink!!
E N D Bill, thank you for sharing with the world, your prolific gift, which is truly awesome!!What a journey I’ve been on with you, in experiencing the whole spectrum of human emotion, and listeners all over the globe need to hear this.I am truly exhausted with happiness!!! GOD BLESS YOU