Conversation Pieces, Vol 1.

Released: 30 August 2018

I have been composing piano music since I was six. My first piece was “Let’s Go to the Bakery,” which, unfortunately, was written a few months too late for me to have played it at Woodstock. Conversation Pieces is a compilation of some of my favorite pieces from the last few decades. So that I could share more of these “highlights” with you, I have edited most of the pieces, chiefly by eliminating section repeats. Because many of the pieces I have composed were dedicated to particular people, I wish to emphasize that my decisions about which ones to include were based solely on the musical attributes of the pieces, never on my level  of affection for these individuals!

CD Artwork

Liner Notes

  1. Legacy Trio: This was a new arrangement of a piece for solo piano that I wrote in tribute to my friend and colleague, Steve Gradwohl, on the day of his untimely death in 2013. Stefan Koch’s and Priscilla Johnson’s beautiful playing helped me to express poignantly the emotion I experienced that day.
  2. Susan’s Song (edited): This piece was composed in 2008 as a gift for our good friend, Susan Pfund, during the time she was going through chemotherapy treatments.
  3. The Greek Mystique (edited): This was written for my friends, Anna and Wade Myers, when they were expecting their third child. I was attempting to honor Anna’s Greek heritage by creating something that sounded (at least a little) like a piece of Greek folk music.
  4. Tolyatti Treasures (edited): This piece was a welcoming gift for Anna and Kate when the Vought family adopted them from Tolyatti, Russia.
  5. Midnight (edited): I always played this piece best in a darkened room late at night. I dedicated it to my son, Derek, no stranger to staying up late.
  6. The Latin Translation (edited): My daughter, Ellie, played cello in her high school orchestra and her final concert included a wonderfully rhythmic piece by a Latin American composer. As I listened, I decided to try to craft a piece in a similar style.
  7. Shadows Numberless (edited): This piece was composed in March of 2010 for my wonderful father, Burril Fine. The title comes from the opening stanza of his favorite poem, Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale.”
  8. Sara’s Rose (edited): This piece was written early in 2009 to celebrate the birth of Sara Rose Hertzfeld.
  9. Snow Day: I composed this lively piece in 2018, inspired by the exuberance that ensued when a big snowstorm forced the cancellation of school one day!
  1. The Fifth Amendement: This rhythmic piece, with the bass made up largely of fifths, is dedicated to my longtime friend, Paul Davis (“Mel”), one of the smartest and funniest people around.
  2. Major and Minard (edited): This composition dances between major and minor modes and was dedicated to my terrific nephew, Matt Minard.
  3. Post-Lubrication Axle Mechanics (edited): This ragtime composition was written for the Sylvania Northview Variety show, “The Cat’s Meow,” in 1981. Fortunately, the performance diverted attention away from my complete lack of acting talent.
  4. Shadows of the Past (edited): This piece, one of my favorites to play, was intended to evoke the haziness of memory and the elusive nature of recollection. Or, perhaps, my lifelong love for mint chocolate chip ice cream. Your choice. It was originally a piece for solo piano and then adapted the next year for violin and piano. The version presented here is a hybrid of the two.
  5. School Spirit (edited): This lively piece, almost all of which was improvised, was dedicated to my two sisters-in-law who have careers as educators. Freda Yoshioka teaches Japanese at a prestigious private school in California and Loreen Olson is an associate professor in the Communication Studies department of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
  6. A Wonderful Life: This piece was written in honor of Pastor William C. Moore, who died in late February of 2011. The title refers both to one of his favorite movies and to his own lifetime of service to others.
  7. Buckeye Glory (edited): I hope my colleagues at The University of Michigan Medical Center like this short piece, even if they strongly disapprove of the title. It was written in 2002 to evoke the keen anticipation felt when one’s favorite football team is about to play.
  8. Anticipating Derek: I composed this piece in 1991 on the day that I learned that I was going to be a father for the first time.