Michael Ford is a lifelong piano player and part of the songwriting team Boynton/Ford that made five albums for children with three gold and one platinum. As a solo artist he released Dream of the Wind and Simple Truth which were both nominated for best contemporary classical album by the Independent Music Awards. His latest is titled Leah's Farewell.
Now truth be told this is an album that will appeal to predominantly fans of classical music and solo piano. There is an audience for this type of music. In this day and age especially with a younger demographic this niche is on the fringe. You hear a lot of younger people talking about Frank Ocean, Beach House or Sufjan Stevens but let’s face it solo piano compositions are usually not the topic of discussion. Well maybe that should change a little.
Leah's Farewell is an emotionally resonant piano album that showcases someone who has exceptional ability on their instrument. Whether you are a fan of this type of music or not I don’t see how it's possible not to be impressed by the musicianship that is displayed throughout Leah’s Farewell.
His playing is dynamic, nuanced and quite elegant. That being said there is a range to playing. Take for instance “A Mighty Barcarolle.” The song starts out borderline aggressive as he stabs at a myriad of notes. You can visualize his hands frantically racing across the keys. The song then gently glides into a transaction that is soft and serene.
There isn't a single piece on here that wasn’t impressive but there were some highlights that stuck out to me. “The Time Has Come” builds, breakdowns and could leave one perplexed in thought. “Jump For Joy” has a vibe that is indicative of the title. It sort of has an old time saloon type vibe. The title track is slower, melancholy and a dramatic song you could imagine being used in a play.
Ford closes with a seven-plus-minute epic entitled “Flight Piece.” You could make an argument for this being the most impressive technical piece. Just listen to the first thirty seconds and you will see what I’m talking about.
If you aren’t familiar with compositional piano music I would at the very least give Leah's Farewell a moment of your time. As mentioned earlier even if you decide this isn't your cup of tea you will respect Ford’s ability .If you are familiar with this genre then this is a no brainer - just get it.
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