"Reflections" is a collection of pianist/composer Michele McLaughlin's twenty best pieces from her six CDs released from 2000-2005. This music was originally recorded on a digital piano, but was re-recorded for this CD on an acoustic grand. The music is mostly breezy and light, with themes about love, friends, family, and a pleasant variety of other topics. A mostly self-taught pianist who quit lessons because they "took the fun out of playing," McLaughlin's music comes from the heart, bringing a bit of musical sunshine to her listeners. There is nothing complicated about McLaughlin's music (nor does there need to be), and her messages are warm and inviting, describing life and experiences that are mostly on the calm and contented side. The Utah-based composer recently released her ninth album, "Dedication" and is a Whisperings Artist.
"Reflections" begins with "I Love You," a piece with a sweet lullaby quality that could indicate it's a love song for a child. "Without You" speaks with tender longing and deep love. "Russian Music Box" is one of my favorites. Mysterious and in a minor key, it has an innocent charm. "Just Because" is another minor-key piece that I really like. The swirling arpeggios on the left hand and moody chord changes create an effective mood. "An Evening With Friends" is a very simple piece that conveys warm and caring thoughts. "Enraptured" is a little bit darker and more passionate - another favorite. "A Tale of Courage" is a ballad of strength and perhaps heroism. "Learning to Grieve" looks within, but is more thoughtful than heartbreaking - a lovely, very personal piece. I like the feeling of movement and the mysterious spirit of "The Fairies Dance." My favorite piece on the album is "The Lonely Ballerina," which has a more classical approach and sounds a bit like a music box - a poignant and touching melody, played simply and beautifully. "Swept Away" ends the CD with a buoyant, upbeat piece that bubbles over with happiness.
If you are new to Michele McLaughlin's music, "Reflections" is a great place to start. If you have her earlier CDs, you will appreciate the richer sound and resonance of a grand piano. An enjoyable listening experience!
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