I released twelve new hymn settings this week so today I’m sharing a peek behind the scenes into how four of the piano arrangements came to be. Click on any of them to learn more details about the sheet music.
The frozen custard shop sitting at the end of my street serves very inventive flavors. A plain caramel swirl just isn’t creative enough for them so you’ll find things like caramel-peanut-butter-chocolate-covered-pretzel. Their over-the-top combinations provided inspiration for this zany, rhythmic piano arrangement of Kum Ba Yah which has musical chocolate syrup and nuts and sprinkles and whipped cream and (of course!) a herry on top. Not for a meditative time during worship – it’s a fun prelude or postlude, especially for a Confirmation service.
About a year and a half ago, I fell madly in love with this hymn and promised myself I would someday write a piano arrangement of it – especially since piano arrangements for this hymn are rare. The hymn tune Thaxted, taken from Gustav Holst’s symphony The Planets, is so beautiful on its own that I didn’t think it needed much embellishment (but I still gave it some.) This arrangement, starting gently and continually building until it reaches a majestic climax, would be ideal as a prelude or an offertory selection.
One Saturday morning, I was feeling stagnant with an arrangement I was working on so I sat down at the piano with a hymnal just to noodle around for a bit. With no intention of coming up with anything new, this arrangement found me. (Yep, you read that right.) Most settings of Revive Us Again are rollicking gospel versions but, being a rebel, I chose to keep this piano arrangement breezy – like the winds at the first Pentecost. Ironically, the motive you hear throughout this arrangement came from the stagnating arrangement – revived in this one instead. 😉
This actually started out as a medley of four shepherd-themed hymns but I got lazy and arranged only one of them. (Just kidding.) Seriously, when I began working on the section in the medley that included this hymn – tune name Columbia – I found I had more than enough musical material to create a stand-alone arrangement. Starting with the simple yet beautiful Irish tune, I paired it with an original melody. Because it never gets forceful, this one is perfect for a wedding, a funeral, or a reflective time during worship.
Thanks for reading – enjoy the music! 🙂