Notes from the Shore

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Moments of Comfort and Joy: Conception

Minor ScreenshotOkay, it’s time to start a new project. Ever since I released Moments With Him I’ve been mulling over the next one. I’ve had multiple requests for a Christmas CD and I think the time is right. I’m also going to try and blog a little more about the writing and arranging process if for no other reason than to help keep me on track.

When I started thinking about this project this past summer, I had a very specific concept in mind. I was going to take Christmas carols and create arrangements for each with piano and a solo instrument. The instrument would vary based on the track. All of the arrangements would have a quiet, contemplative nature to them, with interesting chord progressions. I planned to borrow some from both gospel and jazz.

Then one night recently I was lying in bed, early in the morning, and started to think about one of the arrangements. As I lay there, a rather complex orchestration begin to play in my head. Not only that, but multiple carols begin to run together in middle ease. I was concerned because I had no way to record any of the information that was spewing out of my brain. However, I did my best to remember the orchestration, the form, and the mood.

The long and short is that that morning’s experience changed the entire direction of this project. Instead of 12 tracks in the style of My Jesus I Love Thee or How Great Thou Art, there are going to be only 5-7 longer tracks in the vein of My Father’s World. Most tracks will be a medley of multiple carols with similar themes/moods. I’m working on the first two, right now.

At the top of the post is a screen shot from the skeletal arrangement of what I’m alternately referred to as the Minor Medley or the Incarnation Medley – neither of which will probably be the final title. It is a medley of O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, and I Wonder as I WanderAll three are lovely and I’m coming up with ways that I can overlap them in an almost fugal way. Right now the orchestration will include piano, oboe, handbells, strings, french horn, percussion… I can hear the lead for Let All Mortal Flesh in my head on electric guitar – seriously. If if comes out the way I’m hearing it it will be really cool.

Angels ScreenshotThe second medley I’ve started on is the Angels Medley (again title subject to change). This one is – not surprisingly – a medley of angel related Christmas carols. I’ll include Angels We Have Heard on High, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Angels from the Realms of Glory. Right now I’m looking at piano, flute, celesta, strings, and more to be determined. I’m still fleshing this one out.

As a preview, I’m also planning on single song arrangements of Silent Night and God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (which the title of the project pretty well demands. All for now – I hope I can balance my various musical interests and get everything done in a reasonable amount of time

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