Time Signatures

Released: 6 January 2013

I am proud to present Time Signatures, my seventh CD of original compositions for piano and the first on which I have no collaborators (perhaps I should use the term “co-conspirators”). It is dedicated to my wife, Karen, with my thanks for all of the encouragement and support she has given to me and my recording projects.

CD Artwork

Liner Notes

  1. Shades of Blue: This lengthy piece was written this year as a gift for my friends, Jean and “Flip” Connell, and inspired particularly by Jean’s grace and selflessness as she faced her final illness. The name reflects their tremendous love for their alma mater, The University of Michigan.
  2. At the Recital: This is a piece that seemed as if it might well be heard at a student piano recital. (It might have sounded more authentic, I suppose, with a few obvious mistakes thrown in.) It is dedicated to piano teachers everywhere.
  3. Emancipated Minor: This is a bouncy piece with Klezmer and ragtime flavors, composed this last summer and a lot of fun to play. The title came to me in a wordplay epiphany when my son, Derek, used the term in a discussion we were having.
  4. Legacy: In May of 2013, my colleague and friend, Steve Gradwohl, died unexpectedly. He was a wonderful doctor and a terrific person. When I heard the news, I sat down at the piano, as I often do in such situations. This piece is the result. It was started that night and finished a few days later after I listened to the many eloquent tributes to Steve offered at a celebration of his life held at the Michigan Union.
  5. Grilled Reuben: Without question, there have been too few musical pieces named after delicatessen food (the most prominent being Mozart’s Eine kleine Knockwurst, Beethoven‘s bageltelles, and Chopin’s legendary Mayonnaise Polonaise). The grilled Reuben, my favorite sandwich, certainly deserves one. Attentive listeners will notice that the transition at the 2:34 mark obviously symbolizes the addition of the Russian dressing and Swiss cheese.
  6. Rumination: There is universal agreement among philosophers that deep thinking must always be done in D minor. If it leads eventually to a cognitive breakthrough, that breakthrough may be in F major.
  1. Chromatic Waltz: This piece, which employs chromatic scale themes, was one of the first that I composed for this CD. It is dedicated to the memory of Anton Lingl, one of my favorite patients and one who always took a great interest in my music. He seemed particularly to enjoy the compositions in minor keys.
  2. Stellar Ode: This piece dates back to my early years in college, when Margo (Maxwell) Hertzfeld entrusted me to set one of her poems to music. It was one of the first songs that I composed.
  3. The Lourdes Prayer: In October of 2013, I had the honor of being the special guest presenter at the Lourdes University Fall Music Showcase. This gentle piece was composed for the occasion, to express my gratitude for the opportunity to return to my hometown of Sylvania, Ohio to make this presentation.
  4. Lillian: This is an instrumental version of a song written a few years after I left college, with lyrics by my college roommate, Roderick Long. We had previously collaborated on a few songs while we were still students.
  5. Heart Murmurs: In this piece, I accompany my own heartbeat with a simple improvised piano part employing pentatonic scales. I’ve always felt that my piano pieces “come from the heart,” so this is just a more literal version of that same sentiment.
  6. What You Deserve: This song was written as a surprise gift for my dear wife, Karen, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the day that we met: November 5, 1988. Among the many things she deserves is a husband with a better singing voice, but that was not meant to be.