Time again for another track by the most posted about composer an piano player on this blog; William Ogmundson! You can read a lot more about him here, but here’s the short intro:
The track The dove was released as a single on may the 29th of 2020.
Tell us something about the track The dove!
I wrote “The Dove” while in Palestine last spring. We saw the wall between Israel and Palestine up close, with tear gas canisters littering the ground and barbed wire everywhere. Two opposing sides, with no hope of reconciliation in the foreseeable future. One thing that struck me though, was that wildflowers were flourishing amidst the barbed wire, and birds flew freely over the wall. For a brief moment, it suddenly occurred to me that the natural world continued on, despite disagreements among humans, and that maybe there was hope for us as well. Thus, the song was conceived. The melody (representing the dove) is simple and plain, with a some somewhat dissonant chords beneath (the wall).
Thank you Will for this track!
Today it’s time to introduce you to the most posted about composer on this blog; William Ogmundson. I don’t think he needs any further introduction at this point, but head over to the Behind the piano post, if you want to know everything!
The track Goddess of the Night was released as a single on the 10th of April.
Tell us something about your track Goddess of the Night!
This song was originally set to lyrics written by Shakespeare for a production of Othello. It’s a pretty song, but since Desdemona sings it right before she is killed very dramatically by Othello, no one remembered it as such. So…I decided to re-imagine it as a solo piano piece, and voila!
Thank you William for sending me this track!
Today it’s time to introduce you to yet another track by the ever so productive composer and piano player William Ogmundson from the United States.
The track Eleanor was released as a single in January of 2020.
Tell us something about your track Eleanor!
This song was improvised on the spot, (a one-take wonder, so to speak) on a Steinway Grand Piano at CedarHouse Sound and Mastering in North Sutton, NH, a couple miles from my home. I fell in love with this piano when I first played it in 2005, and have been recording on her (yes, she has a gender) ever since. Her name is Eleanor, which is really quite a nice name, especially considering some of the other popular names from the 1890s, when she was born (Gertrude or Maude for example). The piece is simple yet sweet, and hopefully will hold up through the years as well as its namesake has.
Thank you again William for your music!
On of the most creative and productive pianists out there must indeed be William Ogmundson. I have written about him and his music many times before, so I head over here to read everything about William!
The song A Rare Day is released as a single on December 27th, 2019.
Tell us something about your song A rare day!
This song had different origins than most, in that the first four melody notes (Eb, G, F and B) were chosen by a live audience at a house concert in Florence, Oregon this past November. I improvised a song on the spot in a blues style (also audience chosen), which I later refined a bit and slowed down. The first four notes remained though, and my amazing graphic designer, Linda Maroney, gave the song its title “A Rare Day”. Florence, OR is quite foggy and misty most of the time and this day was amazingly clear and sunny, hence the title. I often improvise in front of live audiences, and most of them are quite forgettable, but for some reason this one stayed with me, and wouldn’t leave my head until I finished it. There’s probably a metaphor there somewhere.
Thank you for sending me this song William!
Trying to claim I am introducing the returning reader of the blog to William Ogmundson since William is one of the most creative and productive artists ever. I have posted a lot about William and his music before, and you can find it all here!
Short intro however: William lives in New London in America and is a composer and piano player.
The song The Infinite Cosmos was released mid September of 2019 as a single.
Tell us something about your track The Infinite Cosmos!
This track was recorded at the amazing studio CedarHouse Sound and Mastering, which happens to be in my hometown.
This song was is unique because I wanted to make it ambient sounding, but without resorting to a synthesizer. What I ended up doing was taping down selected notes on the Steinway grand and capturing the overtones that were created. I then had that played backwards and combined the two versions to create a pulsating ambient sound as the backdrop for the sparse melody. I’m calling the style “acoustic ambience”. I think the funniest part about recording this piece was seeing the look of horror and dismay on the sound engineer’s face when I started taping down keys on the lovely old Steinway. I had a blast though and I have to say that the resulting sound was pretty cool!
Thank you for this tune William!
This is not the first time I post about the amazing piano player from New London, New Hamshire in the United States, William Ogmundson. Still confused, however, whether or not to put an Ö in the last name or not, but I’ll go for the O this time as well.
Now William is back with another song not of his own, but it’s still fantastic. This tune was actually one of the first ones I learned when I started playing guitar many years ago.
The song is released as a single, and came out in august 2019.
Tell us something about the song Scarborough Fair!
It’s the first of several experiments I conducted using overtones. The effects are fairly subtle, but several bass notes were taped down (painting tape) for this recording, creating more bass and adding to the “ambient” effect.
Thank you again William for sending me your music!
Some people release music mor often then others. William Ogmundson is one of those who constantly release new music, and who am I to decline a spotted post just because you’re “too creative”? William is an American composer from New Hampshire, and you can read more about him here!
Into the Distance is featured on his latest album La Vie En Coluleurs (I think it might be French, and without knowing French at all I would translate it to The colors of life). The album was released in June 2019.
Tell us something about your track Into the Distance!
Into the distance was recorded at Greg Maroney’s studio in Pennsylvania. I was in the process of recording my album La Vie en Couleurs when I noticed a wooden box sitting in the corner. Greg explained it was a shruti box and how it was a drone that worked off of below like a harmonium, so of course I had to try it out! (Greg had a really cool former life where he made a living playing middle eastern music for a belly dancing troupe, but that’s another story).
So, Greg played the shruti box drone, and I improvised a piano part over it, which became Into the Distance. I tried my hand at the shruti as well and Greg played piano, which became his new single Heart of Darkness. The pieces were like yin and yang-mine was light and cheery-his very dark and brooding, which I found fascinating, since we were both just improvising over the same two-note drone (G and D). I thought it was cool to subtly combine eastern and western cultures on a song, and I’ve never attempted a song before that doesn’t have a chord progression, chorus, bridge, or any of the formal elements of composition. It seems to have a centeredness, a feeling of calm, that is unlike anything else I’ve come up with.
Thank you again for sharing your music with us William!
I have written about William Ogmundson before, here and here. Sometimes when I get submissions to write about, it feels like the music doesn’t even matter. Of course I always listen first, but the story behind a song can be good enough for itself. This was the case with Williams latest song I will return. I’ll let William explain.
Tell us something about your track I will return!
I Will Return was released as a single. I wrote it when I was music directing fifth and sixth graders in Palestine this past April, and it was released May 31st. I considered putting it on my new album La Vie en Couleurs but decided to let it stand alone.
I was really struck by the resilience and strength in the face of adversity (the Arabic word is “Sumud”) that the Palestinians displayed, and above all their kindness and hospitality. The key is an important symbol in Palestine. When many of them were driven from their homes in 1967 they locked their doors and took their keys with them, assuming they would come back at some point. It’s been over fifty years and that obviously hasn’t happened, but the key is still a symbol of hope and the dove of course represents peace. The image was inspired by a piece of artwork from a refugee camp in Bethlehem. The artist had crafted it out of olive wood and a used tear gas canister. I loved the idea of taking something awful and turning it into something beautiful.
I wrote the track when I was staying in the village of Kafr Ni’ma (just outside of Ramallah). It was a strange dichotomy listening to the birds, the calls to prayer and all the other pastoral sounds of the village while also hearing in the distance the sounds of construction from the next hill over where the Israelis were building a huge new settlement. The idea with settlements is to build several in an area and then connect the dots, so to speak. Whenever Palestinians see another settlement being created, there is naturally a sense of anger and profound sadness, as they gradually see their land and way of life slipping away. I tried to capture all of this in a bittersweet song.
Thank you for this wonderful story William!
A while back I introduced you to William Ogmundson and his work with Marble Halls, taken from the opera The Gypsy Girl. William is an Emmy nominated composer from the United Stated. He has performed all over North America and across Europe (including the Vatican republic).
The track Infinity loop is taken from his latest album Forevermore which was released in march 2019.
Tell us something about your track The enchanted music box!
The album is half premeditated and half improvised, but the songs all have a quiet feeling of nostalgia. This song is melody driven, meant to imitate the fragile beauty of a music box. The song was written while watching a music box dancer with headphones on to block out the sound. The original version of this song first appeared in 2017 as a ballet number for a musical show that William co-wrote with Trish Lindberg called “Peace Child”. William continued to work on the idea and here is the final product.
Thank you for sharing with us William!
Today, I’m introducing you to composer and pianist William Ogmundson from New London, New Hampshire inte the USA.
Tell me something about the song Marble Halls!
I didn’t write this particular song, though I wish that I had. It was part of an opera from 1843 by William Michael Balfe entitled The Gypsy Girl and was sung by Enya in the 90’s. This is my solo piano version.
I’ve always loved this song-the lyrics are beautiful and tragic. Unrequited love. I recorded this in one take at pianist Greg Maroney’s studio in Pennsylvania. That almost never happens, but after we listened to it, we both agreed that there wasn’t much point in doing multiple takes-somehow I got it right the first time around, and I figured Greg would know better than most people so I went with it. This was part of a whole day of recording, where I captured all the tracks for my upcoming CD Forevermore and also the first third or so of an Animal CD which I’ll probably finish up this spring.