“Secret Places, Private Thoughts” is a gorgeous collection of original piano solos by multi-talented pianist/composer/arranger Lesley Spencer. As the title suggests, these pieces are mostly reflective and intimate, allowing the listener a glimpse inside of the composer’s soul. Often, albums of this type convey feelings of pain and loss, but the thoughts and places reflected upon here are mainly warm and pleasant – not necessarily joyful, but optimistic and soothing. The music is varied enough for repeated active listening, but the tone and mood are fairly consistent, creating a feeling of an easy-going peace that would serve as a lovely backdrop for quiet activities. Lesley Spencer’s other recordings have been mostly piano and ensemble works, so this solo piano album is especially welcome. The CD opens with “Song of the Wind,” a piece that sometimes swirls and dances and sometimes just kind of breezes along. This is a gentle, playful wind that catches falling leaves and keeps them from touching the ground. A beautiful beginning! “Childhood Revisited” celebrates innocence and beckons us back to simpler times. “Affairs of the Heart” is poignant and more than a little nostalgic, remembering good times and people who have come and gone from our lives. “Sweet Voice Within” is one of my favorites. Warm and gentle, this piece exudes a quiet joy. “Only Yesterday” is another favorite, with its powerful sense of longing. “Piano Suite” is a five-movement piece that illustrates five different emotions and states of mind. “Nostalgia” delicately conveys the sense of longing for the past; “Empathy” gives a feeling of true understanding and acceptance; “Longing” has a rubato rhythm and the deep bass notes of the piano evoke feelings of passion; “Affection” is light, warm, and sunny; and “Serenity” depicts that sense of perfect inner peace that can often be elusive. “Piano Suite” is a powerful and compelling work. “Ballade” feels especially personal to me. Its gentle flow and deep introspection seem almost naked in their sincerity and honesty. “Impromptu” is probably my favorite piece on this album. Deeply emotional and passionate, the listener is drawn in and held tight by this heartfelt musical tale. “Spirit Awakening” takes us back to the light and joyful side of life, and “Joie De Vivre” closes the album with a bit of musical sunshine. “Secret Places, Private Thoughts” is an outstanding collection of deeply personal piano solos. The music is soothing and uplifting, but is far more substantial than “ear candy.” Recommended!
KATHY PARSONS – MainlyPiano.com
“I work with clients in recovery from substance abuse and trauma and I know that learning to relax and achieve inner peace is very difficult for them. I have used Secret Places Private Thoughts as background music for individual sessions, guided imagery and relaxation techniques. My clients have said the music helps them to become relaxed and focus on their emotions. I have observed that our work together is more productive when we use SPPT and would recommend it to anyone trying to achieve a more thoughtful, less stressful state of mind.”
JENNIFER SCANLON, M.ED. – PSYCHO THERAPIST
“The flowing melody lines in Secret Places Private Thoughts help me to wind down from the fast pace of my work.” Often, I listen to this music in my car on the way home and my family has noticed that I arrive more relaxed and ready to enjoy the evening. I recommend this music to my patients as an aid to reduce stress because I know it works!
JOHNNIE TURNER, M.D. – MEDICAL DIRECTOR
BANDEN HOUSE & PEER SERVICES, INC. – EVANSTON, IL
“Secret Place Private Thoughts creates an environment of sound which nurtures the spirit – it moved me into an environment of tranquility. This music certainly invites introspection and a sense of serenity, which will help my clients in their progress in therapy.”
KATE MAHONEY – L.C.S.W. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
PEER SERVICES, INC. – EVANSTON, IL
“Secret Places Private Thoughts is an emotionally soothing combination of music; gentle, nurturing – inviting body, mind and spirit to a place of deep relaxation, healing and peace.”
NANCY BUTZ, M.A. L.C.P.C. PSYCHO-THERAPIST