Title - 'In the Garden: Piano Orchestrations'
Artist - Peggy Duquesnel, Billy Martin, Steve Hall
For those not in the know, Peggy Duquesnel is a pianist-composer-arranger and all round musician of both a stunning range and musical complexity. Indeed, Duquesnel’s achievements are a testament to her incredible devotion to the art of music.
The pianist, who's worked for such notables as Leslie Uggams, the Platters and guitarist Phil Upchurch, has just released her tenth featured artist album, In the Garden: Piano Orchestrations via Joyspring Music, this past April. Following on from her last musical outing, All I Ask for Christmas (Joyspring Music, 2013), this new album is as delightful as they come.
After teaming to write an award-winning original score for a web series, Duquesnel reunites with orchestrater and woodwind man Billy Martin (who has a lengthy, award-winning history of composing original music for television series such as The Mentalist, How I Met Your Mother, Desperate Housewives and Monk), and late pianist and Piano Orchestrations brand creator Steve Hall (whose 25-year-old, two-million-selling Bankbeat Productions imprint recently came under the Joyspring Music umbrella), for this 15 track collection that explores the spiritual side of her creative muse.
1. No More Tears 2. For The Beauty Of The Earth 3. Garden Of Grace/In The Garden 4. How Great Thou Art/Interlude 5. Time For Love 6. This Is My Father's World/Reverie 7. Just As I Am/Unless A Grain Of Wheat 8. Amazing Love 9. Chopin Nocturne Op. 48 No. 1/Holy, Holy, Holy 10. The Greatest Miracle 11. In The Garden 12. It Is Well With My Soul 13. Heart Of Thanksgiving 14. Canon In D/Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee 15. Simple Gifts
Indeed, In the Garden: Piano Orchestrations is a wondrously soothing set of works that highlight beautifully Duquesnel's lyrical piano poetry, whilst at the same time being enhanced by Martin's woodwinds. The pianist wrote nearly half of the record and conceived of fresh arrangements for the timeless hymns; with the lion's share of the lush orchestrations deftly handled by Martin.
Containing over an hour of tranquil piano and woodwind selections - along with a pair of long-revered hymns from the the late aforementioned Steve Hall - from the vibrant opening of 'No More Tears', on through to both the perky 'For the Beauty of the Earth' and the stirring 'Garden of Grace / In the Garden', the tracks all set the mood for reflection by Duquesnel. Not one for clogging up her works with instrumentation there-for-the-sake-of, these spacious, flowing productions uplift her most poignant piano melodies to a level, quite possibly, even she has not reached before.
The spirited 'This Is My Father's World / Reverie' flows majestically with the storybook tale of 'Amazing Love', with the lonesome 'It Is Well with My Soul,' the spiritual ' Canon in D / Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee' and the ethereal, haunting 'Simple Gifts' wrapping the album in some fine style.
As Duquesnel herself has said about this album, "In The Garden is a continuation of my work with Billy Martin along with remembrances of my late collaborator Steve Hall, with whom I worked for 20 years. It's a prayerful, meditative and inspirational album of new compositions and handpicked hymns inspired by family, dear friends and several momentous moments in my life. I hope that this music provides peaceful experiences and fond memories," she adds. Well, Ms. Duquesnel, mission accomplished. Mission well and truly accomplished.