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William Ogmundson | Phoenix

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Dr. John George Winston Philip Glass

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United States - New Hampshire

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Classical: Early Music Latin: Afro-Cuban Moods: Instrumental
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by William Ogmundson

Genre: Classical: Early Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Diabolical Development
3:32 album only
2. Heather's Processional
2:47 album only
3. Piranha
3:47 album only
4. Walking on H2O
2:45 album only
5. Pip's Delight
2:31 album only
6. Full Moon on Snow
3:42 album only
7. Cosmic Spider
3:33 album only
8. Maypole
1:59 album only
9. Seduction
2:45 album only
10. Phoenix
4:23 album only
11. Joy Everlasting
1:44 album only
12. Johnny's Prelude
2:25 album only
13. Red Sky at Morning
6:18 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.



to write a review

Pam Asberry

A musical smorgasbord!
William Ögmundson is an award winning and EMMY-nominated composer and lyricist and a classically trained solo pianist. He began performing at the age of five, has played in prestigious halls around the world, and has released six solo piano albums to date. His 2016 release, “Phoenix,” is a musical feast. This unique collection cannot be categorized into any single genre, nor I cannot identify any particular tracks as favorites.

That’s because they’re ALL my favorites.

According to the composer, 2016 was a year of many changes and, as the title suggests, the theme of the album is rebirth. All the pieces on the album showcase the piano, but a Hammond B3 is added on many tracks; also included are orchestra bells, marimba, woodblocks and more. For example, in the opening track, “Diabolical Development,” Ögmundson plays both piano and organ; as he explains, “this was actually the hardest song for me to record because I can’t play the organ properly, so I had to layer multiple tracks together, and I ended up having to lie on the floor and play the foot pedals with my hands.” Impressive, yes? This syncopated, driving piece with its contrasting melodic section has a Spanish flair and gets the album off to a toe-tapping start.

Next is “Heather’s Processional,” a tender, romantic march written for Ögmundson’s wife just a few weeks after they met and eventually used as their wedding processional. This is followed by “Piranha” which features an energetic, somewhat ominous melody darting to and fro above driving left hand octaves, and a contrasting boogie-woogie section. “Walking in H2O” is an expansive new age piano solo inspired by a lovely poem by David Whyte; the Hammond organ adds a rich depth to this one. The playful and joyful “Pip’s Delight” inspired by Ögmundson’s four-pound Papillon, a dog breed descended from the toy spaniels frequently portrayed in the paintings of the Old Masters dating back as far back as the 16th century. This joyful piece is peppered with touches of the Hammond organ for an extra touch of whimsy.

The piano solo “Full Moon on Snow” offers a contemplative and captivating melody with a luscious chordal accompaniment and put me in mind of the music of Erik Satie. In “Cosmic Spider,” Ögmundson added a number of eerie studio effects, including panning to give the effect of a spider crawling between the speakers; glorious arpeggios rise and fall like a spider skittering up and down one’s living room wall. “Maypole” combines the piano, the Hammond organ and sampled harpsichord to create an elegant Renaissance dance. For the sultry and alluring “Seduction,” the artist filled wine glasses with various levels of water to achieve certain pitches and used them as accents.

The title track, “Phoenix,” about the mythical bird being born, burning up and then rising again from the ashes, is musical storytelling at its finest and brilliantly displays the Ögmundson’s sensitivity and virtuosity as a pianist. The exuberant “Joy Everlasting” has a childlike, innocent quality and incorporates piano, marimba and orchestra bells. “Johnny’s Prelude” was originally composed as incidental music for the hard-hitting yet humorous Eugene O’Neill play “Anna Christie,” which tells the story of the reunion of a troubled father and daughter in the docks of New York City. The final track, “Red Sky at Morning” starts with a minimalist, repetitive structure but eventually soars into a glorious sunrise and is the perfect conclusion for this amazing collection of pieces.

It made me laugh; it made me cry. Truly, “Phoenix” is one of the most unique and satisfying solo piano albums I have heard in ages, and I give it my highest recommendation.

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
There are many very versatile pianist/composers in the world today, but William Ogmundson is truly exceptional! I was extremely impressed when I saw him perform at this year’s Whisperings Solo Piano Radio “Discovery” concert and was amazed that even though I was familiar with his name, I’d never heard his music. I recently reviewed his 2018 release, "Simple Gifts," which is one of my favorite albums of the year. After that, I reviewed his 2010 "Ragtime" album and was once again blown away. Those three encounters with Ogmundson’s music only moderately prepared me for the delightful surprise of his 2016 release, "Phoenix." This spectacular album is made up of thirteen original compositions that alternate between quiet elegance and much bigger, bolder compositions. All are performed on piano, but several tracks feature Ogmundson on a Hammond B3 organ, orchestra bells, marimba, woodblocks and wine glasses. In addition to his six recordings, Ogmundson is an EMMY-nominated composer and lyricist and has written numerous musical scores for the stage and television. He has been performing since he was five and has played in venues throughout North America and Europe. Ogmundson also has a large selection of videos on YouTube that clearly demonstrate what an amazing pianist/composer he truly is.

"Phoenix" begins with “Diabolical Development,” a playful and dramatic piece with a catchy Latin rhythm. There is a little Hammond organ in this one, but it’s mostly piano. “Heather’s Processional” is the music Ogmundson’s wife walked to for their wedding. Stately without being stiff, the composer was obviously writing his ultimate love song (without words). “Piranha” cranks up the intensity with an ominous tone that doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s even a little boogie-woogie in the middle of the piece! Are you hooked yet? “Walking On H2O” is smooth and graceful with some organ and choral voices added to the piano - very classical. “Pip’s Delight” starts out with a Hammond organ and piano duet and then the piano takes over with a light and fanciful theme that joyfully dances around the keyboard until the organ re-enters at the end. As the title suggests, “Full Moon On Snow” is very peaceful and calm, and was created in a more classical style. The first theme in “Cosmic Spider” is downright spooky, but the second theme has an elegant flow that is quite beautiful. “Maypole” mixes piano with organ and harpsichord in a Baroque/Celtic mash-up that really works! “Seduction” is light and fun with accents here and there played by tapping on wine glasses. The title track is a story told with changing themes and musical styles. The bright and effervescent “Joy Everlasting” includes woodblocks for percussion, bells, and keyboard as well as piano. “Johnny’s Prelude” was originally written for the Northern New England Repertory Theater Company. The first half is quite dark with a droning organ note behind the piano. The second half is a complete change of mood with a lighthearted ragtime piano solo that dances all over the piano. “Red Sky At Morning” is by far that longest piece on the album at over six minutes, and is breathtaking from start to finish. It starts out serenely, but then builds as stormy turbulence takes over, tossing around everything in its wake. The piece returns to a calmer theme and gradually gathers momentum to a stormy climax, calming to the end. Wow!

I am so excited to have found William Ogmundson and his music! If you haven’t already, you should check them out ASAP!