Sound Bites

Released: 3 May 2016

It is my pleasure to share my 9th album of original compositions for piano, Sound Bites. How is this album different from the others? Well, the compositions are significantly longer, on average, than those on my previous albums and, for the first time, I have not included any pieces composed before I started producing studio albums ten years ago. Moreover, the studio has a new grand piano!

CD Artwork

Liner Notes

  1. The Depths of the Purple Sea: This contemplative composition was inspired by one of my favorite poems, The Cloud, by Percy Shelley:
    Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
    This pilot is guiding me,
    Lured by the love of the genii that move
    In the depths of the purple sea;

    It is dedicated to Korin Hancherlian-Amos and Nelson Amos, friends (and gifted musicians) who have been instrumental (pun intended) in helping me produce every one of my CDs.

  2. Legacy Trio: This is a new arrangement of a piece I wrote in tribute to my friend and colleague, Steve Gradwohl, on the day of his untimely death in 2013. I’ve added parts for cello and violin, with Stefan Koch and Priscilla Johnson helping to express poignantly the emotion I experienced that day.
  3. Nostalgia: The word “nostalgia” is often used to refer to a hazy and happy recollection of a bygone time. The Greek roots of the term, though, can be translated as “return home” and “pain.” I believe that the reference to pain is appropriate. The sweet memory brings a smile, but also a proportional wistfulness as one realizes that the remembered happiness remains irrevocably lodged in the past. This piece was the first one that I composed for this collection and it is dedicated to my fellow members of “We Love a Piano,” a group of piano enthusiasts who meet monthly for an enriching evening of music and conversation.
  4. The Kinetic Aesthetic: This composition also emphasizes contrast, with slow and stately chord progressions eventually giving way to livelier sections. There is also a change from D minor to D major and back again. It is dedicated to my fellow Buckeye, Glenn Maxwell, who can be both stately and lively.
  1. Shadows of the Past, for Violin and Piano: This is a new arrangement of a piece that I originally wrote last year for Chords on the Table. I am very grateful to Priscilla Johnson for adding a fresh and lovely dimension to it.
  2. The Double Helix: This was the last piece to be composed for this CD, so it deserves to go first. To celebrate the upcoming marriage of Rebecca Kiefer and Michael Haling, I decided to combine two contrasting musical styles, in different keys and time signatures, and then alternate them in sections throughout the piece. The title comes from the name given to the structure of DNA, which consists of two strands of nucleic acid twisted around one another.
  3. Aventuras de la Vida: This composition emphasizes Latin rhythms and changing moods. It had its debut at the home of my colleague, Kate Klein, during a social gathering of our doctoring course group (creatively named “C9”) and I affectionately dedicate it to Kate and our medical students (Alissa, Annemarie, Ari, Balaji, Conor, Ilana, Jim, Marisa, Mayuri, Sunny), who are definitely experiencing life adventures of their own.
  4. Short Stories, A-M: I had so much fun improvising a series of brief, harmonically-related pieces on my last CD that I decided to do it again for Sound Bites, twice! In each case, I was trying for a different feel for these compositions, deliberately simpler and less structured. The stories are dedicated to our dear friend, Cindy Hagelin.
  5. Raindrop Reflections, for Cello and Piano: This is a new cello and piano arrangement of a piece that I wrote in 2009, one inspired by the sound of gentle rainfall in autumn. Again, Stefan Koch beautifully brings the cello part to life.
  6. C Shanties: This is the second, shorter series of improvised pieces. I thought it would be good to end the CD in the familiar coziness of C major.