Measuring Up

Released: 6 January 2011

I’m pleased to present Measuring Up, my fifth album of original compositions for piano. The final two selections were composed by my younger son, Ben, who is well on his way to surpassing his father! It is dedicated to my own beloved father, Burril Fine, who died the morning before our final recording session. I cannot express adequately how much he will be missed.

CD Artwork

Liner Notes

  1. Midnight: Composed in late 2010, this was the first of the pieces to be completed. I always played it best in a darkened room late at night. It is dedicated to my son, Derek, who is always the most likely to be up at midnight (and 1:00 AM, and 2:00 AM, and . . .)
  2. Rondo Classico: This classical piece has an interlude that might be considered more typical of the Romantic era. I have dedicated the piece to my beautiful wife, Karen, a classic in her own right.
  3. Alien Gerbil/Anion Gap: Many years ago, my three children and I collaborated on a song called “Alien Gerbil.” (They came up with the provocative title and the lyrics.) This track has the introduction to that song merged with a ragtime piece that is named after an important medical concept. Anion Gap” is dedicated to my friend, David Simon, the man whose love of ragtime sparked my own. [2021 update: A version of “Alien Gerbil” with the lyrics can be found on the Vocal Compositions playlist.]
  4. Un Boceta de España: This “Sketch of Spain” features the impressive musical talent of Emily Nastelin, who has been awarded a scholarship to study trumpet performance at The New England Conservatory. It is dedicated to my son, Ben, who is making good progress with both his Spanish and his trumpet playing.
  5. Brief Candle: The title comes from the famous soliloquy from Macbeth that begins “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.” It is dedicated to my children’s piano teacher, Darlene Ebersole, whose teaching skill and kindness have meant so much to our family over the last twelve years.
  6. Sixth Floor Lullaby: I composed this piece in honor of my dear daughter, Ellie, and the many wonderful nurses who took care of her at C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital during March of 2011.
  7. The GNN Anthem: This song was composed several years ago for my terrific siblings: Mark, Anita, and David. We all communicate frequently by e-mail and refer to ourselves as “The Grandma News Network.” [2021 update: A version with the lyrics can be found on the Vocal Compositions playlist.]
  8. Devotion: I wrote this piece to celebrate the life of our neighbor, Brian Vought, a good and caring man who died in 2011.
  9. Diversion in d minor: Originally, I wanted this composition, completed in May of this year, to have a bit of the flavor of an Eastern European folk song. Once it was underway, though, it seemed also to get diverted in some other directions. It is dedicated to my vivacious Aunt Judi (Nussbaum).
  1. Time after Time: This is the piano part of a song written in 1982 with my good friend, Liz Maxwell, who was then attending Northwestern University. She wrote the lyrics from the perspective of a young woman who loves her boyfriend but is continually disappointed by him. At the very end, the woman reveals that she is really singing about the Northwestern football team, then in the midst of one of the longest losing streaks in college football history. We had hoped to have the song performed in the Waa-Mu student variety show that year, but the football team rudely dashed our hopes by ending the streak on September 25th of that year.
  2. A Wonderful Life: This piece was written in honor of Pastor William C. Moore, who died in late February of this year. The title refers to one of his favorite movies and to his own lifetime of service to others.
  3. The Hershey Hop: This lively composition is named for our beloved pet rabbit, Hershey, who enjoys sitting under the piano and listening as we play. (Well, we assume that he is listening …)
  4. The Tuesday Zoo: This is a piano arrangement of a song I wrote a few years ago to describe the Tuesday afternoon residents’ clinic that I help to supervise. [2021 update: A version with the lyrics can be found on the Vocal Compositions playlist.]
  5. Expatriates: In my early years of medical school, Leigh Rivenbark, one of Liz Maxwell’s friends at Northwestern, was kind enough to ask me to set one of her poems to music. Since I didn’t have someone available to sing her wonderful lyrics on this CD, I played the melody as a separate part in the treble clef. [2021 update: A version with the lyrics can be found on the Vocal Compositions playlist.]
  6. Her Name is Saku Louise: A short song written one night in June of 2003 to celebrate the 2nd birthday of my dear niece, Saku Yoshioka: Her name is Saku Louise/A lot of sweetness with no calories.” In this arrangement, my daughter, Ellie, plays a flute part in the chorus.
  7. Dusk: One of the two compositions contributed by my talented son, Ben.
  8. Equinox: Ben’s other composition. He has a style all his own!