It’s always one of those little guilty pleasures to enjoy, the moment you hear that there is a new Mark Barnes album on offer, as you know it’s going to tick all the boxes you have ready with regard to excellence in music and musical composition, but lately Barnes has been excelling, expanding his passionate performances, and this new album Winter Wishes is a prime example of that aforementioned statement, so be ready.
The opening track is the perfect place to start and Winter Sky is a colourful pastiche of perfection, presenting passion-filled moments, mixed with segments of such utter tenderness and love.
There is a certain David Lanz feel about this next piece called The Snow Globe, it must be the romantic tones and timbre, or perhaps the delicate pristine quality of performance, whatever, this track is one of the most fluent from Barnes yet, and utterly beautiful too.
Winter Wishes is a 10 track album of pure peace and serenity and contains crafted moments of brilliance like Snow Angel, with its fun, yet heart felt melody, or perhaps one of my favourites in Solstice, that major minor mood has always been a personal delight for me, and on this track I have that musical mastery in abundance, or perhaps the title track, as Mark finds himself as the master composer on Winter Wishes, a song that is without doubt, a deeply moving and emotional creation.
There is something on this album for everyone, for example the cheer filled reverie of Wonders of the World, this is one of the most uplifting pieces off the album, and in my view would probably make a perfect single, with its moderate pace and catchy melody.
The album draws to a close with the moody refrains of Rhapsody in Winter, a deep heart felt offering that is extremely powerful, and if listened carefully to, incredibly emotive. We then conclude the release with a little drama within the arrangement Aurora, a composition that hovers with intent like the northern lights themselves, once more the melody creates a musical moment that could with ease be captured for a movie segment, and simply the best way with which to finish the release too.
I think the artist may well have done it, I think Winter Wishes by Mark Barnes, may well be the best we have heard from the artist so far, he is certainly in the groove lately and his musical muse is working overtime, this album is tender, it touches the heart and soul of our inner most desires, and is a testament to those most cherished memories of winter times past and remembered well, there can be no doubt that Mark Barnes is a sublime composer and performer on the keys, and this new album cements his legacy as perhaps one of the most chilled, yet passionate keyboardists of all time.