CD: Daydream
Artist: Michele de Wilton



Michele de Wilton“Daydream” is the latest release from solo pianist Michele de Wilton following in the wake of her intriguing and imaginative “Myths & Legends” CD. The title of that previous album goes a long way in explaining the inspiration behind her compositions. As a musical storyteller, Michele has always felt drawn to classical literature, poetry, and especially the magical world of traditional mythology. On her website, there is a beautifully artistic multi-media presentation entitled “Musical Journey” that blends music, images, and text to provide insight into the wellsprings of her creativity – “the timeless narratives of adventure, love and yearning.” Her “dream piano” (a restored 1925 Steinway) provides the perfect loom for her to weave her musical creations. In her words, “As long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with the piano, the notion of moving my fingers to give voice to my emotions.”


A perfect example of her enchantment with tales of yore is on the CD’s second song, “The Dawn Rider,” which was inspired by Russian folklore. She explains: “It was inspired, in part, by a fearsome witch character named Baba Yaga. I was struck by the haunting image of the Dawn Rider, a spectral presence threading his way between dark tree trunks like morning mist. The image stuck in my head and came to life when I began working on a melody that reminded me of a Russian music box. As the song builds, I imagine dawn gilding the branches of the trees with pale gold, the rising sun rimming the treetops with orange. And, then, as the song fades into the upper register, the Dawn Rider disappearing like a wisp of vapor in the light of a new day.” This descriptive narrative is a window into the creative soul of this imaginative artist.


While Michele’s music definitely evokes images in the mind of the listener, she has gone one step further in bringing those images to life by producing two stunning music videos, which can be seen on her website. In a song from “Daydream” entitled “Shimoda,” she draws from a tragic story of a young Japanese woman named Okichi, whose real-life drama is said to be the basis of “Madame Butterfly.” The video, which is absolutely beautiful, was filmed with special permission in the Japanese Gardens of the Chicago Botanical Garden, and intersperses imagery of Zen-like natural beauty, indigo-hued butterflies, and serene waterfalls, with video of Michele playing the piano in an elegant Oriental setting and strolling the gardens gracefully in slow motion dressed in flowing sapphire blue silk. It’s exquisitely done and wonderfully relaxing. Her website also showcases a mystical mythological music video from her first album.


One of my favorite tracks from “Daydream” is “Winterbluegreen” which, in my mind, painted a delicate picture of snowflakes softly falling, blanketing a crystalline winter wonderland. Interestingly, while listening to the song “The White Hart” the music conjured up, for me, a sense of Arthurian England and Camelot. When I later did a bit of research I found that The White Hart was actually the emblem of Richard ll of England in the 14th century. So I would have to say that Michele did a good job of conveying her vision musically. And I also especially enjoyed the last song, “Lullaby in Lavender,” with its sweet lilting melody that enfolds you in its comforting embrace.


While Michele’s earliest inspirations were classical composers such as Chopin and Mendelssohn, like branches on a tree, her influences spread out over the years to include Joan Baez, Janis Ian, Andrew Lloyd Webber, George Winston, Vangelis, and film score writers like Hans Zimmer and Ennio Morricone. However, her own music was something that she pretty much did in private. It was not that long ago when people who heard it responded and made her aware of how it had a relaxing effect on the listener. This provided the motivation for Michele to begin recording her music and making it available. She has whole-heartedly embraced this calling and not only created two beautiful CD’s, but also videos, multimedia presentations, and a blog entitled “everyday serenity,” all of which can be seen at her website. Michele has accomplished a lot in a relatively short span of time, and I’m sure she has many enchanting tales yet to tell.