Well…after selling my old Steinway baby grand a few years ago when I sold my condo and moved to renting, and after a few years of that and finally buying at house (!), I bought another acoustic piano again! I love it.
A good friend, herself an organist/pianist, asked if I’d given it a name yet. I never thought of that. So, I let names percolate in my head and the one that comes to mind that seems to have stuck is “Claude.” Claude came with a personality too. Difficult to describe, but he’ll be good for me.
In honor of Claude, here’s a little video of an old organ piece of mine from a set of organ pieces called 3 Songs for 4 Composers.
It comes to mind that my Claude is a southern boy, so like all southern boys he needs a middle name and his shall be “Maurice.” And, in true southern boy tradition in polite society it’s proper to refer to him as Claude Maurice.
Composers, painters, writers, poets, photographers, dancers, artists of all kinds have the occasional project they’re never quite satisfied with, that they continue–throughout their career–to fiddle with and change and rethink. My arrangement of the famous old hymn tune, Amazing Grace, is one of those for me.
Part of the problem, I think, is that this is a piece I also improvise on in live performance and no matter how hard you try, how good an ear you’ve got, how adept you are at using technology, it’s impossible to capture in music notation every tiny nuance of an improvised performance.
Nor is it possible to capture every detail of how you imagine the piece ought to be…could be…must be.
I’d had Amazing Grace on the two websites for self-published scores I use, SheetMusicPlus and SheetMusicDirect, but I grew dissatisfied with my arrangement and withdrew it, even after it had had sales.
I finally got what I think might be a better, more likely to be permanent, arrangement of Amazing Grace, and it’s now up and available on YouTube (https://youtu.be/r2ojjBLohk0) and on the two sheet-music sites at:
I’ve been writing a bunch of original pieces (and dozens of arrangements of public domain folk tunes) for what I think might be a combination of instruments that would be attractive to private piano teachers of intermediate and beginner students, especially beginners who only have access to a keyboard.
They’re for piano (the lead instrument, easy intermediate — may be acoustic piano or electronic) and electronic keyboard (primarily string sounds) in a very easy supporting role. The primary instructional goal is ensemble playing for keyboardists. This is something pianists/keyboardists need to learn but is often neglected but is an eventual, valuable professional skill.
Scores are available for perusal and purchase at SheetMusicPlus at these links (there are score samples and audio & video media):
Another instrumental rendition of an SATB choral work, words and music by me. In this video the picture (me playing) is within the picture of the score which tracks with the music. Usually, it’s the other way around. #music
I’m working at getting videos of me actually playing some of the recent pieces. Then, as I go along, I hope to start playing catch-up and record videos some of the older pieces. In my 77, soon to be 78, years I’ve written hours of music. I know I’ll never make videos of it all, but at least some of it, maybe…pieces that work for piano.
Wouldn’t ya know it: someone just now bought my previous version of my arrangement. Whoever you are, thank you! But, I hope you see this post so you can download this revision. I really do think it’s better and more playable.
A basic skill for any organist/church musician is composing hymn descants. Descants are countermelodies that make the singing of the hymn tune more enjoyable for the congregation…they allow the singers to enjoy the tension of counterpoint at a visceral level.