Ponder: to think about carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.
Anew: In a new or different and typically more positive way.
These two words come from the third stanza of Joachim Neander’s perennially popular hymn, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.” And just as this stanza invites us to “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,” this orchestral hymn invites us to consider afresh the attributes and works of Almighty God. Ponder Anew is purely an instrumental work but the text and tune are so familiar that the words will spontaneously spring to mind as the theme unwinds. Thereby, the new harmonies, rhythms, and phrasings in Ponder Anew will likely elicit from the listener a new and different way of thinking about the text. So, as this new setting of the tune melds together peace, majesty, mystery, power, beauty, and grace it stirs the listener to “think carefully, in a new and more positive way, about what the Almighty can do.”
The music in not particularly difficult and should be readily playable by high school or higher level musicians. Yet, both musicians and audience will find the power and intimacy of the work interesting and enjoyable with music that reflects the majesty and mystery of its subject.
Scherzo No. 1 in C-minor is a short, rapid-fire, and light-hearted piano solo for nimble fingers. Despite the minor key-center, the heavy syncopation, headlong tempo (allegro furioso!), and brief foray into F-major, give the scherzo a happy and amusing disposition, which is fitting for scherzo’s original meaning of “musical joke.” The piece is not complex but its pace requires good dexterity to play it well at tempo. Scherzo No. 1 will provide an excellent change of pace/mood for a concert or recital program.
Something a Little Different is a brief excursion into bi-tonality for tenor sax and piano. It’s a little bit jazzy, a little bit impressionistic, a little bit 20th century, and, well, something a little different. Suitable for intermediate and above players, this is a fun to piece to play and to hear. While it is unique and modern in its stylings, Something a Little Different is easy on the ears and very accessible for all kinds of audiences. It makes a great recital piece for the up and coming saxophonist to show off, or would work as a transition movement in a concert program, or for any program needing 21st century works.
This solo piano setting of the beloved Christmas carol applies fresh and distinctive harmonies to the traditional melody. A haunting and slightly dissonant introduction sets a contemplative mood that heralds a unique approach to the carol. Set in ABA form, lush harmonies and delicate lyrical phrases contrast with the syncopated and ornamented melody of the uptempo B section. The work is within the grasp of the intermediate to advanced pianist without extensive rehearsal but still contains sufficient challenge to provide a rewarding experience for performer and listener alike. The First Noel is an excellent piece for offertory, instrumental praise, candlelight service, or any occasion reflecting on the miracle of Christ’s incarnation during the Christmas season as well as being perfectly at home on the recital or concert program.
What Child We Sing? blends the melodies of GREENSLEEVES and NOEL NOUVELET into a new work for orchestra that explores the clash of transcendence meeting imminence at Christ’s incarnation. Soft and ethereal whispers of strings and winds meet violent thunders of brass and percussion in contemplation of the awesome majesty of the Eternal Son wrapped in the harmless, delicate flesh of a newborn babe.
What Child We Sing? fits perfectly in the Advent or Christmas seasons with its strong exposition of traditional Christmas carols and would be suitable as a prelude, offertory, or reflective music in either liturgical or unstructured service. It has sufficient artistic metric to be suitable for the concert stage as well, although it is not at all difficult, being suitable for intermediate or higher level musicians. “