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Nathan Speir | Quiet Wonder

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United States - North Carolina

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New Age: Solo Instrumental Jazz: Free Jazz Moods: Featuring Piano
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Quiet Wonder

by Nathan Speir

Beautiful acoustic solo piano with rich timbres and nuances. Thoughtful. Relaxing. Enlightening.
Genre: New Age: Solo Instrumental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. The Need for Quiet
1:57 album only
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2. Searching for a Sanctuary
4:12 album only
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3. Beginning to Listen
4:21 album only
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4. You Stretch My Heart
4:10 album only
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5. Boundless Gratitude
3:45 album only
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6. Flowering Mindfulness
6:40 album only
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7. Humble Valleys
5:03 album only
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8. Mysterious Strength
4:38 album only
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9. Quiet Wonder
6:40 album only
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10. Resting in Early Grace
4:03 album only
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11. Tender Stillness
2:23 album only
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12. Tides at Bay
5:30 album only
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13. You're Beautiful in the Morning
4:02 album only
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14. Beginning at Sunrise
5:48 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
In the process of recording my baby grand piano, I tried to capture the shifting timbres of the instrument through the year. Of course this was a delicate process considering the need to care for the piano and maintain an acceptable tuning and humidity level. The result was a beautiful, subtle, changing definition in piano tones and nuances throughout a full length solo piano album; thus, my goal was acheived.

This music, in some respects, is about my wonder in the movements of my own heart. In other respects, my underlying theme for Quiet Wonder is the mysterious Way of return to pristine Simplicity...a mystery indeed. Perhaps the right music at the right time helps inspire such a noble and rare pursuit...or at least warm one’s heart to the idea. Forgive me who falls so short of such spirituallity, still polluting the world with my ego at times...and please accept this music as a small peace offering.
Peace be with you.

~ Nathan Speir

Album Facts:
+ Quiet Wonder is Nathan Speir’s 11th solo artist full album release.
+ Out of those 11 albums, this is the fifth solo piano album released to date.
+ Past solo piano albums are as follows: Nathan’s Piano (2010), Ambient Piano Christmas Vol 1 (2012), Ambient Piano Christmas Vol 2 (2015), Improv 16 (2016)
+ Nathan recorded his baby grand piano in his basement studio using multiple recording techniques.
Nathan purposefully experimented with natural timbre changes in his piano to add subtle changes and variety in piano tone and character. This resulted in additional instrument sounds in the recording such as quiet nocks, squeaks, and other lovely mechanical nuances.

Nathan’s composition style is not entirely “thru-composed”. At times, a map of chords or other tone clusters are premeditated and worked out. Final recordings do often capture unrehearsed ornaments and nuggets of musical character.

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Reviews


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Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Quiet Wonder" is the eleventh full-length album and fifth solo piano album by multi-instrumentalist/composer Nathan Speir. More ambient than melodic with the expressive freedom of (some) improvisation, the fourteen original tracks also explore the natural “shifting timbres of the instrument through the year.” Anyone who has access to a piano knows that they can develop a wide array of clicks and squeaks as well as pedal noises and “alternate tunings” (quoting myself there!) that are not necessarily in complete agreement with other sounds from the piano. There has been a movement recently to record the piano in this more “natural state,” occasionally utilizing pianos that have been neglected for quite some time. That is definitely not the case with Speir’s baby grand. There are no jarring variances in the tuning and the sounds of the inner workings of the piano are kept to a minimum. A trained ear can probably detect the subtle changes in the piano, but they are just that - subtle.

Speir recorded the album in his basement studio using several recording techniques as he experimented with natural changes in his piano. He says in the liner notes for the CD that the music “in some respects, is about my wonder in the movements of my own heart. In other respects, my underlying theme for 'Quiet Wonder' is the mysterious Way of return to pristine Simplicity…a mystery indeed.” In addition to composing and performing the music, Speir did the recording and mixing in his home studio in Winston-Salem, NC, as well as doing the graphic design, production and mastering.

"Quiet Wonder" begins with a prelude called “The Need For Quiet.” Very ambient and open, it very effectively sets the tone of the album. “Searching For a Sanctuary” is gently rhythmic, melancholy, and slightly edgy. As the title suggests, the piece expresses a sense of longing and of looking for something. I really like this one! “Beginning to Listen” makes great use of the piano dampers to create a quiet, dreamy atmosphere. “You Stretch My Heart” is a tender expression of love that allows the piano to sparkle with passion - a favorite. “Boundless Gratitude” is particularly ambient, with long holds in places, letting the sounds blend and evolve in time - very thoughtful and meditative. “Humble Valleys” is quietly reflective and very beautiful. The title track has a very delicate and immediate feeling of being in the moment. Notes flutter up and down the piano keyboard at various speeds and dynamics, creating tonal colors that range from muted pastels to a vibrant brilliance. “Tender Stillness” is almost fragile in its delicacy and conveys the feeling of being in a quiet place of beauty and simply being for a few moments - also a favorite. I live near the ocean and just love the ebb and flow of “Tides At Bay.” It brings images of the movement of the water itself as well as hypnotic flashes of light dancing on the surface of the waves and ripples. “Beginning At Sunset” is something of a peaceful nocturne that seems to describe a clear night sky and the calm that comes as the sun sets - a very fitting close to this lovely album.

"Quiet Wonder" is great in the background, but is definitely most effective when actively listening to the music. Recommended!
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Dyan Garris

Quietly Wonderful Ambient Solo Piano
Quiet Wonder by Nathan Speir
Album Review by Dyan Garris, New Age CD.com

In an overly noisy world where others are clamoring mightily to be heard over a continually increasing din, “Quiet Wonder” by Nathan Speir is a refreshing return to “pristine simplicity.”

A pianist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer, “Quiet Wonder” is Speir’s eleventh independent album release and his fifth solo piano album.

Originally from Southern California and raised in Florida, Nathan earned his Bachelors degree in Music Theory and Composition from Palm Beach Atlantic University. He currently resides in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

“Quiet Wonder” was produced and recorded in Nathan’s home studio. There is something quite compelling about this sensitive and emotionally expressive album which emerges as a soft and gentle conversation directly from his heart to ours.

Each of the fourteen tracks on this album are ambient and free flowing. While seemingly deconstructed, one soon realizes that there is construction within that structure. There are also periods of silence incorporated into each song. These are not uncomfortable or overly pregnant pauses. They simply give the listener a moment to breathe in, listen into the noiselessness of a quieter space, and reflect. These are mindful pauses. Sometimes it is what is not said or shouted out that speaks volumes.

Starting right from the top and continuing on through, every track is so very peaceful. However, track 10, “Resting in Early Grace,” is my favorite song on the album. Elegant, aptly graceful, nicely composed and played, Nathan’s skillful use of both upper and lower registers of the piano, makes this a conversation of true tranquility.

Following is another favorite, “Tender Stillness.” Ultra-gentle, like a lightly falling rain, this is a really pretty and peaceful track.

Rounding out the album is the quite calming, “Beginning at Sunset.” The lovely last track of this album speaks directly to the soul and reminds us that any ending always brings with it a potential new beginning. A comforting remembrance to take with you long after the album ends.

And, to be clear, when the album was over I truly missed the heartfelt peace of it all. So, played it several additional times. I think you will too.

I’m sure we’ll hear more from this very interesting artist in the future. Meanwhile, “Quiet Wonder” is recommended for all those who need serenity now.
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