- On a Still and Starry Night (my 2014 Christmas Card Carol) and The First Noel
October 18, 2014
And it’s only October! How does *that* happen?
This year’s carol, “On a Still and Starry Night,” is available as an easy hymn-style one-pager, or as a vocal solo or SATB anthem, both with violin obbligato. There’s also a new vocal/flute duet, “The First Noel,” based on the piano solo I arranged years ago. (You see? I really do respond to requests. It just takes me a decade or two.)
Both these songs and 11 others have been recorded by the lovely and talented Allyse Smith Taylor, and are available on a new CD titled “On a Still and Starry Night.”
As usual, you can download the 128kbps files free from the individual song pages, or get the high-bitrate files from CDBaby or iTunes. There is also an accompaniment tracks version available both from CDBaby or iTunes. (If you prefer, these also find their way onto Amazon… eventually.)
The album is also available on CD, and as a Merry Christmas from us to you, until November 1, you can get the “On a Still and Starry Night” CD with vocals by Allyse Smith Taylor for $2.50 per copy, plus shipping.
Here is “On a Still and Starry Night.”
And here is “The First Noel.”
Next up, hopefully within the week, are arrangements of “Gesu, Bambino” and a duet setting of “Born to Wear a Crown.”
- Last Christmas…
September 26, 2014
…I came up with a Christmas Card Carol, alas, too late to post the score. So here it is as the first offering of the Christmas barrage that is about to begin. It’s called “Star of Wonder,” and it’s set for vocal solo only, with optional violin obbligato. The recording includes vocals by James Loynes, and violin by Sarah Crowther.
Here’s a YouTube video–just lyrics as the song goes along.
Be proud of me though… this year’s Christmas Card Carol is already finished, along with a couple of other new things. They’re part of an album I’m working on with Allyse Smith Taylor that will be out in a couple of weeks.
- Some odds and ends, because of…
July 3, 2014
…a new compilation CD. That I finally finished. Hallelujah. It’s called “He is My Song,” and here’s a list of what’s on the disk, with links to the song pages and a description of the new material that’s been added:
- Be Still, My Soul (James Loynes)
- The Lord is My Shepherd (Heather Prusse)
- This is How I Know (Leilani Toloa Johnson)
- Prayer is the Soul’s Sincere Desire (Allyse Smith Taylor) – the accompaniment track for this one is now available for the first time.
- Make Us One (James Loynes) – this is a new recording by one of my favorite voices
- I Need Thee Every Hour (Sarah Crowther)
- I Glory in My Jesus (Jacosa Limutau)
- Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (Tj Pini) – this is a new recording by a newcomer to the site… I think you’re going to *love* her!
- Gethsemane (James Loynes) – another new recording, and a new piano accompaniment that’s a bit more interesting than the original.
- It Was for Me (Jacosa Limutau)
- For Me Alone (Heather Prusse)
- This is My Father’s World (James Loynes) – this includes a new violin obbligato. (See? I do get around to requests occasionally.)
- The Master’s Voice (Allyse Smith Taylor) – the accompaniment track for this one is now available for the first time.
- He is My All (Heather Prusse and James Loynes)
Last but not least, the Personal Composer files are now done and posted for all the tracks included, so transpose to your heart’s content.Here’s a playlist so you can listen to the whole thing if you’d like, and info on where to get the album or any part thereof:
Listen to this album…
There’s also an accompaniment tracks album available. Here’s the playlist and info for that one:
Listen to this album…
Happy Thursday! Have a lovely weekend.
- Lest we forget our home’s with God…
May 5, 2014
In the August 2010 edition of the Ensign magazine, a lovely hymn titled “Come Home” appeared. We used it in our ward choir, and I liked it well enough that when the composer, Michael Moody, suggested that I arrange it for choral anthem, I was thrilled at the prospect. Since Heather and I were working on a project at the time, I also arranged it for solo with equal-voice harmony, and we included it on the “Reaching for the Light” album.
Here’s the result:
The title is suggestive of music that might be appropriate for a funeral, and while the lyrics would certainly be suitable for that use, the broader message of the song is simply a warm invitation to each of us to return to our Heavenly Father, to live forever with Him as an eternal family.
Scores for the arrangements of “Come Home” are available for SATB choir or for solo with optional equal-voice harmony. There is also a separate score for the obbligatos.
- Video Fun and Games
April 7, 2014
The last couple of projects I’ve worked on have dealt with the visual arts. Let me help you to understand the irony of this.
I drew an avocado once, for an art class in high school. It even somewhat resembled an avocado. I have been so proud of this achievement all my life that I often mention it with pride to my children, a couple of whom are visual artists who put my poor little avocado to shame. “The Avocado” has become a bit of a legend in the DeFord household, complete with those clandestine sympathetic behind-my-back glances that so plainly say, “Poor mom!”
So, needless to say, when these last projects rolled around I didn’t do the visuals–just the music.
One project came about when I was asked to speak at a nearby Stake’s Women’s Conference in March. At the conference, they were going to display some really outstanding paintings by a member of the stake, Megan Rieker. (Check out some of her art here. Take a look at her “Women of Inspiration” gallery… gorgeous stuff! I particularly love this one.) A couple of weeks before the conference, Meg and I had a chance to talk a bit, and found that … drum roll… I had been wishing for slides documenting a beautiful painting as it progressed, and that she had a beautiful painting that she had photographed in various stages from start to finish. Funny how these things work out.
(There’s also a version without vocals, and download information… check the song page. )
The other project was an assignment from the LDS Church Music office, to arrange “I Am A Child of God” as background for a video to be shown during the 2014 General Women’s meeting. It presented a few interesting challenges: it was an 11th-hour sort of project, and needed to be done quickly; it was still in the planning stages, so there was no specific length, no specific voicings, no specifics at all, really!; and … well… spin it as I might, here was the real challenge… this beautiful children’s song has been arranged so many times by so many talented people that I was unsure whether or not I could come up with anything fresh. As it turned out, the video itself was so sweet it didn’t matter much what I did anyway!
David Zabriskie did the orchestration; the video footage features wonderful people from around the world. The sheet music is just piano and a melody line. For suggestions on how it might be used, see the “I Am a Child of God” song page.
So much better than avocados!
My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us, the world is full of it and you simply take as much as you require.
(Sir Edward Elgar, 1857-1934)