White Coat Compositions

Released: 15 July 2009

White Coat Compositions is my third CD of original works for piano, but the first on which I have included vocal compositions. For a pair of these songs, I have been very fortunate to borrow the talents of two senior medical students, Geoffroy Sisk and Alexandra Kejner. My three wonderful children again have contributed as instrumentalists and I have also included one brief composition by my younger son, Ben.

CD Artwork

Liner Notes

  1. Sara’s Rose: This piece was written in 2009 to celebrate the addition of Sara Rose to the Hertzfeld family.
  2. The Chasing Music: When my children were younger, they enjoyed chasing each other in loops around the downstairs of our home. My job was to provide the “chasing music.” This is a modified version of what I used to play for them.
  3. A Show of Hands: This is a duet for piano, four hands, that I composed earlier this year to play with my older son, Derek. Naturally, I gave him the upper part, the more difficult of the two parts to play. We debuted the piece at his piano recital in May of this year.
  4. A Touch of Classical: A little piece in classical style, composed earlier this year. It is dedicated to Robert and Kathie Maxwell, the King and Queen of Hospitality.
  5. The Greek Mystique: This composition represents my attempt to create something that sounds (at least a little) like a piece of Greek folk music. It was written to celebrate the birth of Alex Myers, whose mother is of Greek extraction.
  6. The Kevin Train: In 2003, our friend Cindy Hagelin asked for cards and letters to help celebrate the 50th birthday of her husband, Kevin. I composed a little song to contribute to the celebration, which I called “The Kevin Train.” My goal was to combine a humorous look at Kevin’s unique personality with a sincere declaration of how much he meant to my family. When he died unexpectedly in June of 2007, she honored me by playing the song at his memorial service. I haven’t included the lyrics in this rendition, but a couplet from the song might help to characterize Kevin for those who didn’t have the good fortune to know him: “A one-man play with no need for rehearsal, fervent beliefs with no chance for reversal.” [2021 update: A version with the lyrics can be found on the Vocal Compositions playlist.]
  7. China Patterns: For this piece, hoping to bring some spontaneity and freshness, I decided not to write out the composition in advance, but instead to improvise while sitting at the piano in the recording studio. It is dedicated to Ben and Wilma Rosenbloom, honorary members of the Fine Family since before I was born.
  8. My Special Friend: This piece was written in 1982 to accompany lyrics written by my friend, Tammi Weiss. In this version, my daughter, Ellie, is playing the vocal part on her flute.
  9. Twenty Years: This is the last piece I wrote for this CD. It was written for my beautiful wife, Karen, to celebrate our 20th anniversary. I had wanted to keep the dedication a surprise, so I told her as I was composing it that it was going to be called Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fine.
  1. Letting Go: This was also written in the summer of 1982 and is another piece inspired by one of Tammi’s poems. The opening lines are “Somehow I know it’s over, not that I understand.”
  2. Asa’s Waltz (duet): This piece was written to celebrate the birth of my nephew, Asa Yoshioka, in 2004 and appeared on my first CD (Fine Tuning). In this recording, the original piano part is played by my daughter, Ellie, and I have added an additional part on the upper portion of the piano keyboard. As we were practicing together, Ellie would frequently say to me, with mock anger: “Hey, stay out of my octave!”
  3. Michigan Weather: This piece was inspired by the old joke about the weather in Michigan: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a couple of hours and it will have changed.” It seems appropriate that an impressive rainstorm blew into Ann Arbor just as I sat down to record it. Its seven sections are dedicated to my seven nieces and nephews: Kenyon, Keaton, Kenny, Julia and Aubrey (Fine) and Jessie and Matt (Minard).
  4. Stenella Attenuate: This piece was composed and performed by my son, Ben. The title is the scientific name of one of Ben’s favorite animals, the pantropical spotted dolphin.
  5. Father’s Day: I wrote this lengthy song, an unabashedly sentimental tribute to my children, in May of 2001 to indicate what unusual gift I wanted for Father’s Day that year. I didn’t get what I asked for, but things turned out pretty well anyway.
  6. Redemption: This emotional song was written earlier this year for someone close to me who had been going through a rough time. Geoffrey Sisk was kind enough to bring it to life for me.
  7. The Mowtown Blues: One recent Saturday, in need of something to do, I decided to challenge myself and to see if I could write an entertaining song about a boring topic. I looked out the window and wrote about the first thing I saw!
  8. The Hippocratic Ode: This is an intentionally idealistic tribute to the medical profession, perhaps just a bit daring in this era of skepticism. I deliberately omitted some of our frustrations, such as insurance regulations, paperwork, etc. in order to present what I consider to be the “big picture” of what the doctor-patient relationship should be. I imagine the song being sung by a medical student just before the administration of the Hippocratic oath at her medical school graduation. The fact that Alexandra Kejner recorded it just four days after she officially became a doctor makes it that much more meaningful to me!