If I Could Say It Now is composer/pianist Lesley Spencer’s eleventh release and third solo piano album. The twenty-one tracks were composed over a fifteen-year period from 1997-2012, making it a musical autobiography of that period of her life and featuring musical descriptions of travels, beloved pets, friends, passions, fantasies, light-hearted moments, and times of reflection and sorrow. It is one thing to be able to compose wonderful, evocative music and quite another to be able to play it so expressively that the feelings and experiences come to life, and Lesley Spencer makes both endeavors seem effortless – a true master of her instrument.
If I Could Say It Now begins with “Passionate Journey,” a beautifully-flowing piece that casts a warm, dreamy spell. “Daydreams” also has a lovely flow, this time with a playful touch of whimsy. “Jekyll and Hyde Waltz” is a lot of fun. The first theme is smooth and easy-going, but the ominous chords that begin about 90 seconds into the piece signal the arrival of Mr. Hyde. The themes alternate and develop as the piece progresses – great storytelling without words! The title track is a reflective and nostalgic piece that is tinged with regret and sadness – beautiful! “Sonatina” is a three-movement work in the classical tradition. Each movement is a piece unto itself made even better as part of a whole. “Russian Waltz” is a favorite. Dark and very melancholy, I love the deep bass accents that make the melody even more poignant. “A Night in Paris” is a novella told via musical themes woven together, each telling about a segment of this magical night – another great piece! “Elegy For Molly” is a heartfelt farewell to a very brave and beloved Golden Retriever. I also really like “Life Goes On,” with its feelings of acceptance as well as of dusting oneself off and moving forward. “Suite 3” is a grouping of six shorter pieces, four that are very energetic and two that are slower and more contemplative. “Fairy Tale” begins with a light, gentle theme that creates a magical scene. As the tale develops, different characters and events emerge, some more intense and bold than others. The opening theme is also the closing theme, indicating, I think, a happy ending. “The Red Balloon” is a playful waltz that gives a wonderful vision of a bright red balloon flying freely in the breeze as it travels on an unexpected journey. “Une Valse Francaise” is a gorgeous, wistful closing piece. Very slow and graceful with a simple but elegant melody, it ends this great album in a dreamy mood, much like the one it began with. Brava, Lesley!
Lesley Spencer has become one of my favorite composers, and this outstanding album is an excellent example of why. Pianists will be happy to know that sheet music is also available.