Contemporary Instrumental Review: Mark Barnes-Winter Wishes

Release Date: April 19, 2023

Label: Independent


Mark Barnes’ website says Winter... a time of renewal… a time of peace… a time to reflect. I agree that it can be a time to reflect so you find renewal and peace. Winter Wishes is his latest release. You may find, if you listen close, that what you seek is everything suggested. It is the season when the magic of snowflakes hits the air, and the birth of Jesus is honored. 

The music may warm your heart during old man winter’s cold spells. However, it looks like the worst of the Winter is in the rearview mirror; folks living in the Northeast know it may come back at any point until we are out of April, even though it was in the 80s the past few days!


Mark’s music is piano based, with orchestral layers that follow his lead, enhancing each piece with purpose matching the artwork and tracks. That is how it is supposed to happen, so you must look at everything presented and think about it while listening. At least, that is my process, and I highly recommend you try it if you have not to this point.


The temp and flow are gorgeous. For instance, “Snow Angel” is an invitation into his world created especially for each listener. If you are in a warmer climate year-round, you may not realize the significance of Winter and all its wonder and beauty. And even though there is beauty all around you, there are times that it can be cold and complex, and treacherous. Living here for most of my life and experiencing warmer climates for several years in California, I realize more as I age that beauty and peace can be at any time of year. 


Music can hold so much beauty as well. Mark brings each track to life by wrapping the winter season in his warm blanket via the ivory keys. I heard throughout the recording a foundation that sounded like classical taken to another place in new age and contemporary instrumental. I hear music like this often for weeks, months, and years. Given that timeframe, capturing my imagination and thought process while listening takes considerable effort. 


Winter Wishes was an excellent way to reflect upon Winter and much more as the recording moved through each track. I think the closing track, “Aurora,” will discover how it mirrors the beauty of the aurora borealis or the city based in Colorado, which is the gateway to the Rockies. Whatever way you look at it, it works as a magnificent ending to an exceptional recording. 


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

April 15, 2023


01. Winter Sky

02. The Snow Globe

03. Chilled Out

04. Snow Angel

05. Solstice

06. Winter Wishes

07. The Faerie Forrest

08. Wonders Of The World

09. Rhapsody in Winter

10. Aurora

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