New Piano Music
Dr. Charlotte Kroeker, Executive Director, Church Music Institute
Unke, Zach. At the Name of Jesus: Piano Settings. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2018, $22.
Mr. Unke offers creative settings of sixteen hymn tunes using the range and dynamics of the piano to realize his ideas. The pieces tend to preserve the tunes and improvise upon them, using the strophic nature of the hymn as an organizational structure. One sometimes wishes for fewer primary and root position chords, but the settings will have use in introducing the tunes for congregational singing. Included are GIVE ME JESUS (Give Me Jesus), HERE I AM, LORD (Here I Am, Lord), JESUS LOVES ME (Jesus Loves Me!), KING’S WESTON (At the Name of Jesus), KINGSFOLD (I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say), MAGDALEN/THE SOLID ROCK (My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less), GORDON/OH, HOW I LOVE JESUS (My Jesus, I Love Thee), SHOWALTER (Leaning on the Everlasting Arms), SONG OF PRAISE (Voices Raised to You), STEPHANOS/TRUST IN JESUS (I Am Trusting/Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus), BRADBURY/WEIL ICH JESU SCHÄFLEIN BIN (Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us), WERDE MUNTER (Come with Us, O Blessed Jesus).
PIANO WITH SOLO INSTRUMENT:
Beckstrand, William. Three Nativity Carols for Flute and Piano. St. Louis, MO: MorningStar Music Publishers, 2018. $12 or downloadable for $6 each.
Once in awhile we encounter finely written music based on pre-existing tunes that satisfies many criteria. These are three such pieces. The publisher describes Mr. Beckstrand’s writing as “organic,” reminiscent of Distler and Part, informed by the music of the church. Three Nativity Carols are intelligent pieces, crafted carefully and without guile. Musicians will enjoy playing them, listeners will find them accessible on first hearing, texts associated with tunes will live coherently within the settings. Tunes are WARUM SOLLTICH (All My Heart Again Rejoices), CAROL OF HOPE (Each Winter as the Year Grows Older), BESANCON (People, Look East). The score can be purchased with all three settings including a reproducible part for flute, or each piece can be purchased separately online for download. Thank you, Mr. Beckstrand, for Christmas gifts, 2018.
Funderburk, Duane. Two Pieces for Cello and Piano. St. Louis, MO: MorningStar Music Publishers, 2018. $12 print or downloadable.
Duane Funderburk continues to add to his repertoire of fine “Piano with. . .” titles in these two settings for piano and cello. As we have come to expect from this fine composer, both players share interesting musical tasks. These pieces are for two musicians, a duo. Included are MARTYRDOM (Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed) and PROMISED LAND (On Jordan’s Stormy Banks).