William Ogmundson | Simple Gifts

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New Age: Neo-Classical Classical: New Age Moods: Solo Instrumental
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Simple Gifts

by William Ogmundson

William's piano compositions are a mesmerizing blend of thoughtful beauty and tender elegance.
Genre: New Age: Neo-Classical
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Belladonna
3:20 $0.99
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2. Simple Gifts
2:56 $0.99
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3. Forever Drifting
4:05 $0.99
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4. Pharaoh's Horses
6:00 $0.99
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5. Great Expectations
4:13 $0.99
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6. Twilight in Budapest
3:43 $0.99
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7. Sancta Maria
2:56 $0.99
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8. Jupiter & Venus
4:06 $0.99
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9. Icelandic Lullaby
2:37 $0.99
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10. Lux Aeterna
1:36 $0.99
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11. Heather's Song
2:16 $0.99
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12. Icarus
3:49 $0.99
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13. Dance of the Fairies
2:46 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
William draws inspiration from everything around him (people, artwork, and nature in particular). He combines flawless technique with melodic beauty to create his own style of piano music.

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Reviews


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Steve Sheppard

A solo piano treat
Sometimes it’s best to keep things simple, you know, to take the complications and drama out of life and just enjoy the moment, each breath, each smell and each touch, to really feel life without stress or suffering, well through this album that has perhaps become possible; the artist has manifested for us a compilation of songs to ease our day and smooth out our nights, and entitled it Simple Gifts.
William Ögmundson has created this album to allow us to take a little beauty into our lives, and through this musical voyage we can sample empowering, but confident performances like the opening piece called Belladonna, a piece that leaves you feeling bright and alert at the end of the performance, revitalised completely.
The consistent fluency of this album is a real treat to hear, listen to the title track Simple Gifts, this is that special moment of magic, it is the title header, and here Ögmundson performs with such a warmth and style that we all may become a Lord of the Dance as well.
As we move continually down this river of solo piano we come across a really lively composition called quite appropriately, Forever Drifting. However, I would add when you factor in the happy refrain that this is played with, perhaps drifting with a purpose, or then again, perhaps just drifting for the sheer heck of it, whatever, this is one of the most fun arrangements off the release.
The curiously entitled Pharaoh’s Horses is up now; I found this a fascinating composition. Going from light to dark on the keys at the beginning was equally encapsulating. At six minutes it is the longest offering on the album, but one played with such flair and panache this is easily my favourite composition from the release, I adored the sheer depth of the song and the wonderfully fluent performance by Ögmundson, his style, and it has to be said, is utter genius here, was beyond anything I had heard for quite some time, and I thoroughly enjoyed the sojourn within this tracks tonal energies.
As we slide ever onwards towards the fulcrum of the album we come across a gentle and very simple piece indeed called Great Expectations, there is a really charming musical narrative to be found here, there is warmth within the performance that has to be admired here as well. One could imagine this being played just as one is about to depart on a long journey of perhaps many discoveries.
Now we come across a piece that has a little eastern European motif about its energies and called Twilight in Budapest. This is one of those pieces that draws such a topographical picture for us to all enjoy, indeed we can, through the music, actually be with the artist as the sun sinks in the capital city of Hungry; the melody is delightful and allows us to retain a sense of actually having been there in a memory packed opus.
A total change in direction is now upon us as we move to the next offering called Sancta Maria. I’m not sure if I remember Andrea Bocelli singing this piece or not, there is a memory there, somewhere. However this is a presentation that has such charm and style, I am sure you will absolutely fall in love with it.
I was listening to this track just the other day and loved it; its title is Jupiter & Venus, this offering has a narrative that draws some beautiful pictures within my mind’s eye that are vast, and graphic, as the universe can only be, but the mixture of minor and major chords form part of the recital that I find particularly exciting, the tempo and over all upbeat nature of the composition draws for me, comparisons for me with my neighbour David Lanz in style.
There is a real sense of drama about this next offering called Lux Aeterna, Ögmundson’s classy approach to this short form composition is powerful with a sense of a regal posture within it musical matrix.
Heather’s Song is our next musical doorway that we must cross the threshold of; here you will find a track that has a real lightness of soul about its essence. This is a proud arrangement that flows with such a level of subtly and respect.
We now find ourselves at the opening to the penultimate offing of the album, this last but one arrangement is entitled Icarus. This is actually a really moving track that utilises a deep sense of reflection to majestically seal one of the most powerful offerings on the release. Whilst listening to this, one could easily imagine it being part of a movie soundtrack.
The final gift is called Dance of the Fairies. This is a much crafted arrangement; the gentle but purposeful implementation is sublimely placed together with some flamboyant moments of grandeur. The dance elevates to a wonderful sense of heightened energy, then at the very last moment leaves us with an almost simple, but sweet disappearance of the fairies themselves, a very clever piece indeed.
Simple Gifts by William Ögmundson is a solo piano treat; it is a journey that is so well drawn by the artist, that the musician is simply your musical guide along the way. Simple Gifts by William Ögmundson flows with supreme confidence and should with ease satisfy any needs you have been longing to fulfil on a solo piano level, masterfully performed and produced, a real winner of an album.
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Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Simple Gifts" is an outstanding solo piano album by William Ogmundson, an award-winning and EMMY-nominated composer and lyricist who is also a classically-trained pianist. This album is his sixth release and contains eleven original pieces and two covers/arrangements. The music is melodic, very expressive and beautifully played, and with the exception of two small edits, the album was recorded live. Many of the pieces seem to be telling stories, which really isn’t surprising with Ogmundson’s theater background, but he does it so well! Even the cover artwork is exceptional with photographs by Kittie Wilson, Ogmundson’s third grade teacher. I’m quite certain that "Simple Gifts" will be one of my Favorite Albums of the Year in a year overflowing with great music.

Ogmundson began performing at the age of 5 and went on to win numerous piano competitions. He has performed in a very impressive list of venues throughout Europe and North America, including Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, where he was the organist for a Sunday morning mass. He has also written numerous musical scores for the stage and television, many choral anthems and hundreds of songs. His musical, "Kindness and Cruelty," premiered Off Broadway in February 2018 and was nominated for Best Score in the New York Theater Festival. I was able to see Ogmundson perform at the Whisperings Discovery Concert in Bellevue, WA earlier this year and was extremely impressed, so I’m delighted to be reviewing his music!

"Simple Gifts" begins with “Belladonna,” a tender and very gentle ballad that caught my attention with its sweetness and innocence. It builds to a more powerful middle section and then calms. “Simple Gifts” is a lyrical and graceful solo piano arrangement of the Shaker song that dates back to 1848 - a beauty! The carefree “Forever Drifting” is the lighthearted expression of a free spirit. “Pharaoh’s Horses” was composed based on a painting by Ogmundson’s great-grandmother and refers to the Old Testament story of Moses parting the Red Sea so the Israelites could pass through. The Pharaoh was to follow, only to have the Red Sea swallow him up. The painting pictures the moment when Pharaoh’s horses realized that they were going to drown. The music expresses sadness, perhaps tragedy, and features some beautifully intricate runs on the piano that likely represent the water - I love it! “Twilight in Budapest” is another favorite. A slow, haunting waltz, it brings vivid images of an ancient city with many dark tales to tell. “Icelandic Lullaby” is a solo piano arrangement of an old Icelandic piece. The simple melody is poignant and very haunting, and you can almost feel a chill blow off of the bright notes in the upper treble of the piano. I love this one, too! “Lux Aeterna” is stately and majestic - perfect in its brevity. “Heather’s Song” is a love song - sweet, sincere and from the heart. “Dance of the Fairies’ begins in the upper registers of the piano - light and very magical. As it evolves, it moves down the piano, becomes very powerful and dramatic in the middle and trails off at the top of the keyboard to bring this superlative album to a close.

I’m really looking forward to backtracking a bit to discover some of William Ogmundson’s earlier work! I give "Simple Gifts" my highest recommendation!
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