J. Donald Walters

Secrets of Love

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Lest the potential reviewer mistake his intentions on the basis of this album's intriguing and provocative title, Donald Walters (aka J. Donald Walters, aka Swami Kriyananda) offers the following clarification in the press release accompanying promotional copies of the disc: "With this music, I was trying to express soul love, love of God, love of God in nature, and a love of God in human beings, not a personal love, not desire, not sex, not boyfriend and girlfriend. I would like the music to stir deep feelings in the listener because that is essential for real understanding." Secrets of Love, then, is an album of instrumental music composed, co-arranged, and co-orchestrated by Walters and played by keyboardist, co-arranger, and co-orchestrator David Miller, flutist Sharon Brooks, cellist David Eby, and harpist Donelle Page that has spiritual and esthetic aspirations. As a sleeve note puts it, "All 18 songs are dynamic tools for awakening the loving qualities within your heart, if you listen receptively and with deep concentration." But in case that sounds too demanding, the note quickly adds, "As with any beautiful piece of music, this album can also be played as background music, 'mood' music, or music for relaxation." Leaving aside the troubling matter of Walters thus having reviewed his own album, one can add that the pieces use classically influenced, but essentially simple melodies played on the keyboards, usually with one of the three other instruments adding a second melodic line. The music is played very slowly and gracefully, though the moods shift subtly from light buoyancy to wistfulness. The final track, "Goodnight, Sweetheart," fully realizes the album's tendency to function as an extended lullaby, though Walters, making his first actual appearance on the record, proves a slightly stilted and amateurish singer.

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