Romantic Piano CDs / Music
- Reviews -
Kathy Parsons' Review of Let's Be Romantic! - 14 Love Songs
“'Let's Be Romantic!' is Canadian pianist Gordon Murray’s first CD, and is a beautiful collection of fourteen love songs, most of which were hits in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s and went on to become pop classics. Murray wraps these gems in classical solo piano elegance and gives them a loving, romantic warmth well-suited to candlelight dinners and cozy evenings by a fire (with or without a loved one to share with!). A lot of albums like this can be cloying with a multitude of glissandos, trills, and fancy finger work that detract from the melodies, but Murray’s playing is full of grace and emotion, letting the melodies sing over a flowing, arpeggiated accompaniment in the left hand. It is the left hand patterns that tie the songs together and give the album a consistent mood from start to finish.
The album begins with a lovely, flowing arrangement of 'Just The Way You Look Tonight', which is an older standard, but reminds me of the classy vocal recording by The Lettermen in the early 60’s, I believe. Next comes the BeeGee’s classic, 'How Deep Is Your Love?' - a dreamy arrangement that floats on a cloud. 'Moon River' has always been one of my favorite pop songs, and this version doesn’t disappoint. The sweetly sentimental melody is carried effortlessly by the flow of the left hand. I also really like 'Somewhere' from 'West Side Story'. The sense of longing is palpable, as is the feeling of hope. What would a collection of love songs be without 'Unchained Melody'? Again, Murray’s interpretation of this song feels just right. I can almost picture Bobby Hatfield singing along, giving it his all. Boz Scaggs’ 'We’re All Alone' has a happy feeling of anticipation. 'How Do You Keep the Music Playing?' is more subdued and melancholy, and this arrangement is gorgeous. 'Let It Be Me' is a song I haven’t heard for awhile, but it fits right in, and I like it a lot better without the lyrics! Other titles include 'If', 'Endless Love', 'You Are So Beautiful', and 'Looking Through the Eyes of Love' (the theme from 'Ice Castles').
If you are looking for a collection of familiar love songs that is soothing, elegant, and very romantic, check this one out."
Solo Piano Publications
Other Reviews / Testimonials
(All CD references refer to Let's Be Romantic! - 14 Love Songs.)
"Hi Gordon. I have listened to your CD. It is terrific. Beautiful! Good for you. You did a great job..." - Chris Raptis - Toronto, Ontario - e-mail sent Fri, 22 July 2005
"...I always enjoy (for want of a better word) listening to 'Let's Be Romantic'. It's soothing and relaxing." - Chris Raptis - e-mail sent Sun, 4 Sept 2005
"Dear Gordon Murray: The above-captioned CD I acquired from you at Queen's Park is one of the quieter piano playing disks I have...All my other piano CDs are a bit attention getting...I enjoy your disk regularly...You do have quite the panache with your tails and baby grand...Best of luck with future piano engagements in Toronto & vicinity." - Tiko Toyomi Tada - e-mail sent Tues, 6 Sept 2005
"...I am going to Japan...By the way your CD is amazing. I love it. I listen to it almost every morning. My housemate also love it. I would like to use for students, when I come back to my work. Is that OK? They will be able to relax...Take care..." - Yukari - e-mail sent Tues, 13 Sept 2005
"Dear Gordon: We arrived in good conditions home, in Timisoara...In Romania, this week, is very cold. The weather is as in Siberia!...Each Thursday, at 13-15 o'clock (Canadian hour), we hear your disk, 'Let's Be Romantic!', and we remember the charming piano concerts in the...Centre. We wish you all the best..." - Prof. Mircea Ciugudean - e-mail sent Fri, 27 Jan 2006
"Dear Gordon: From time to time I have caught parts of your Thursday concert. Today I sat down and listened to the entire concert. It taught me that beauty and harmony are here with us, even in a busy shopping mall. You play with great tenderness and emotion, moving those in the audience as they become one with you and your playing. And now, I have your CD playing for the third time. The music reminds me of the concert, the free-spirited woman (*a dear soul who from time to time dances as I play), and a woman who cried...Thank-you for the gift of your music and for the effect it brings. Please record again, if you can. With best wishes..." - Suzanne - card dated 17 Feb 2006 that I found on the piano at the shopping-centre on Thurs, 23 Feb 2006
"Gordon was exactly what I was looking for to play at my husband's 75th birthday party. Without even being told, he knew exactly what type of music to play for our guests. He was professional and accommodating, and our guests were all very impressed with his talent and choice of music. Our party would not have been such a great success without him. We will definitely use Gordon again for future festivities, and I will recommend him to others." - Naomi Goodman - written testimonial given to me by Ms. Goodman at the shopping-centre on Thurs, 1 June 2006
"Dear Gordon: You are a real talent who captivates those who pass by at the mall from their daily chores as well as many of those who come specially to listen to you play the piano. We hope that your gift of music is spread to the world! A heartfull congratulations on your extraordinary CD, or piece of art if you will, "Let's Be Romantic"! It's fabulous the way you combined those 14 world-known pop musics into gentle romantic melodies and spiced them up with charm as well as gracious arrangements which touch the soul. Cheers!" - Lucí & Oneida - e-mail sent Mon, 18 Sept 2006
""Meeting Gordon Murray was a unique experience in the time I spent in Canada. His music touches my heart in ways I didn't know it was possible. The first time I saw him playing I cried a lot, because it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen, and also because I could feel Gordon's devotion and love to music. He plays with his body, his (at least) twenty fingers and his soul, and I'm very glad to have met such an amazing musician and an extraordinary person." - Maira Bueno - e-mail sent Wed, 25 July 2007
"Just wanted to tell you again how much we enjoyed your piano playing at my father's 80th birthday party. Your relaxed and friendly demeanor combined with just the right mix of styles definitely added an extra dimension to the celebration that was enjoyed by all.
In addition to an extensive repertoire (classical, romantic, Broadway, pop, and more), we were also very impressed with your sight-reading and improvisation abilities. You easily managed to meet the flood of requests from guests armed with favorite sheet music and songbooks...!!!
All-in-all, it was a great party that was made even better by your playing - from quiet background music to raucous family sing-alongs. My father enjoyed himself immensely and appreciated your participation very much...
e-mail sent Mon, 3 Dec 2007
"For my 80th birthday, my family threw a party, the first part of which was at my son's house in Toronto. He had arranged for Gordon Murray to play the piano during the party, and asked me to select pieces I'd like to hear. I talked to Gordon, and he obliged.
We are a singing family, so at one point we gathered around the piano and joined in. Not only was his piano playing first-rate, but his enthusiasm was infectious, and that added a lot to the pleasure of the party.
I would highly recommend Gordon to anyone wanting a pianist to add colour and fun to a get-together.
Colin B. Wrong
e-mail sent Sun, 6 Jan 2008
"Gordon Murray played the piano at a recent party celebrating my parents’ sixtieth anniversary. I had hoped that his playing would make a pleasant backdrop to this important family affair, but I wasn’t prepared for what happened: his music simply transformed the event. His playing is a joy to listen to; it is both powerful and delightful. He puts great feeling into his music. His range is spectacular: from his command of the great classics -- we particularly enjoyed his Rachmaninoff and Chopin – to his stunning ability to play any tune we could think of (as well as many we could only hum a few bars of -- only to have him produce lovely matching chords as we stumbled to find the tune).
But this only captures part of what we enjoyed so much about Gordon’s presence that evening. His cachet as a piano player also includes his charming personality. In his gentle, soft-spoken manner, he easily fell into the flow of the party, engaging with all who came over to the piano. As my father peppered him with dozens of requests for obscure tunes, Gordon energetically obliged. At one point, we were all up dancing as he played the old favourites. With his quiet charisma and masterful wizardry at the keyboard, he pulled the evening together. As I look back on this wonderful event, I see my parents sitting next to the piano, delightedly reliving their sixty years together through Gordon’s beautiful music.
Journalist and Author"
e-mail sent Sat, 3 May 2008
"Gordon Murray is an excellent pianist. He’s an artist who has “the touch” – a real ability to communicate feeling, which I find inspiring. He’s at home with classical music, show tunes, ballads and pop music. Additionally, he engages easily with his audience. People like his personality. I’m definitely a fan.
e-mail sent Sat, 5 July 2008
"It is with a great deal of pleasure that I write this testimonial for Gordon Murray. In March 2007, I began what was an 18-month planning for a surprise 60th birthday party for my husband. As part of that celebration, I wanted someone to play background music for me. My search led me to Gordon and I can only give him every possible accolade. Apart from being amazingly talented, he is exceedingly gracious and pleasant. He was accommodating and most helpful in suggesting music to complement the songs that I had personally chosen. He is definitely a superb choice for adding that "touch of class" to any special occasion.
Gordon, I thank you for making my husband's surprise 60th a very beautiful and elegant affair. I wish you all the success you so richly deserve.
e-mail sent Thurs, 25 Sept 2008
Thank you so very much for performing at our parent's 50th anniversary celebration, our parents still talk about the evening and the beautiful music they enjoyed immensely. Friends and family commented on how accommodating (with all their requests!!) and pleasant you are. It made the evening truly a memorable occasion. We’ll certainly keep you in mind for any future events!
Once again, thank you Gordon
The Pinchak Family"
e-mail sent Fri, 14 Aug 2009
*The Pinchaks' anniversary celebration was held at the Islington Golf Club on Sat, 25 July 2009.
"My brother and his wife visited recently from Mexico and I wanted to surprise them with a very small gathering I’ve been planning.
I’m a cooking enthusiast and I wanted to provide an extra touch to that dinner so I contacted several pianists to discuss the event (small party 3 couples) and Gordon was the fastest to reply and inquire about our needs. I was worried that maybe this could be a small venue and he wouldn’t be interested but by the other hand he is very flexible and very accommodating to our needs.
I had a long menu (16 dishes!) that required a piece of music for each of them … so I described them to Gordon and he was very helpful in the process of pairing a nice piece of music to each dish.. ranging from classical to modern and even Mexican music (My brother and his wife are from Mexico) so they were very happy.
Gordon, my wife and I would like to thank you for all the effort that you put to make that night one of the best dinners my friends and relatives had in their life.
Thanks again for the wonderful time and for the amazing performance you provided to our party.,
e-mail sent Sun, 27 Sept 2009
"Hi Gordon. I wanted to thank you very much for helping to make our 'Summer Concert Series' such a success! Bill told me you had people in tears yesterday and you have quite a following now! Thanks and I will definitely keep you in mind for any future 'musical' performances." - Mary Cuckovic, Special Event Supervisor, Toronto Transit Commission - e-mail sent Wed, 31 Aug 2005
"...Mr. Murray has provided the background music at several of our customer dinners. Mr. Murray's musical selections and mastery of piano technique enhanced our enjoyment of these gatherings. His light touch did not distract from conversation, and his professional demeanour was entirely appropriate for an elegant, corporate social function..." - Sonja Webster, Communication and Marketing Co-ordinator for Ecclesiastical Insurance Place (http://www.ecclesiastical.ca) - e-mail sent Fri, 29 Sept 2006
"I wanted to thank you once again for coming out to play at our Mount Dennis Garage official opening ceremony. You in your tux and the baby grand piano certainly added a touch of elegance to the event. Your combination of easy tunes with classic Christmas carols was just right for the occasion.
It is always a pleasure working with you and I look forward to future events. Take care and all the best during this holiday season!" - Mary Cuckovic, Special Event Supervisor, Toronto Transit Comission - e-mail sent Tues, 16 Dec 2008
Please also see the Wedding Testimonials on the Toronto Wedding page.