Adóro Te Devóte is an ancient Eucharistic hymn of the Catholic Church. The well-known melody was originally composed as a Gregorian chant for a Latin text written by St. Thomas Aquinas. The melody has also been used for other more contemporary texts, including For the Beauty of the Earth.
This is an instrumental piano arrangement of the chant melody. It is somewhat unusual in that it has no time signature — instead, it tries to stay very true to the unmetered Gregorian interpretation. Phrases are delimited with various shades of pauses: tick marks, half, full, and double barlines. Harmonically, however, the piece is very modern. It should be played freely, as though it were a chant, a series of pitches that sound and reverberate outside of time.
The first two (translated) verses of the hymn, though unsung in this arrangement, speak to the meaning of the piece:
Prostrate I adore Thee, Deity unseen,
Who Thy glory hidest 'neath these shadows mean;
Lo, to Thee surrendered, my whole heart is bowed,
Tranced as it beholds Thee, shrined within the cloud.
Taste, and touch, and vision, to discern Thee fail;
Faith, that comes by hearing, pierces through the veil.
I believe whate'er the Son of God hath told;
What the Truth hath spoken, that for truth I hold.
Just for fun, here's how this piece looks with my synesthesia applied:
The spring when I turned ten, my mom worked as a waitress at a retirement home close by. I used to go every night after the residents had finished dinner and change the menu board for the next day. In exchange the kitchen staff always gave me free dessert, and Mom and I would walk home together when she was done cleaning up.
There was a baby grand piano in the dining room of the retirement home that I loved to play when they'd let me. I'd never had piano lessons, but I had a keyboard at home. Mostly I played long arpeggios up and down the piano, back and forth, until someone told me to stop.
Most of the waiters and waitresses besides Mom were high school students. There was one waiter in particular, Bill Richards, who was a musician and composer. One night after the vacuuming was done, he sat down at the piano and played a piece he'd written. It was just about the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard. I was completely mesmerized. When I got home, I went straight to the keyboard and tried to remember what Bill had played. The beginning was a simple pattern of upward-leading broken chords that sounded to me like the words "open up" being spoken. The piece was also in the key of C# major, which was a new challenge for me — I'd never tried playing in such an exotic key before. Eventually, as the days and weeks went by, I developed my own version of the piece, based on what Bill had played but adapted to my own ability and with some of my own material filling the gaps where I couldn't remember Bill's chord progressions.
Summer came and Bill went away to college. I never heard him play his unnamed piece again, although I played it endlessly over and over myself. I added violin, glockenspiel, and synthesizers, composed a melody to soar over its ostinato pattern, and made several recordings of it on cassette tape. Three years later, Bill came to town to visit, and I was excited to show him what I had done with his piece. For some reason, though, we never managed to get together. As time passed, I played the piece less and less, although its simple beauty had left a mark on my musical sensibilities.
Late one night over a decade later, in a music room up at the university, I played the piece on a real piano. It had been refined over the years; seasoned; re-adapted to a more mature style, but its freshness was still there. I decided to try to track Bill down on the internet.
It was then that I discovered that, after an amazingly successful career in computer programming, Bill had tragically drowned in a boating accident. He would never know the impact his song had had.
Later, I arranged "Bill's Song" for Frontier Academy's elementary choir (see other listing for the choral arrangement). After realizing that there could be no appropriate words to fit the existing melody, I chose to use solfège syllables. The first four bars of the piano part have remained intact, a verbatim copy of Bill's original "open up" introduction from so long ago.
Bill's mother still lives in my town. I found her on the internet and brought her a recording of "Bill's Song," complete with the children's voices, one August afternoon. She recognized it right away, and showed me a picture of Bill from high school. After leaving town, he had gone on to travel the world, working odd jobs and playing music for people, before becoming a computer programmer and entrepreneur. His short life had been quite an adventure.
I hope this arrangement does justice to Bill, one of my greatest musical influences.
Bliss is a simple piece that was composed as a wedding present for my close friends Paul and Sara, both musicians and lovers of the arts.
City Lights is a short piano sketch I wrote one gray winter morning in 2007 as the snow fell outside the patio doors. It reminded me of the twinkling of distant city lights on a cold evening.
"Homecoming" is a passionate cinematic piano quintet. It was written when I was experimenting with pitch-shifting violins to make them sound like violas and cellos.
Please note that the piano part for the piano quintet version is different from the solo piano version.
The video below is of the piano quintet version. You are currently looking at the listing for the solo piano version.
Liam's Song was composed in honor of my best friend's high school graduation. When we were younger, Liam and I used to play and compose music together all the time, him on guitar or piano and me on piano or violin. We played at many events in our town, around the state, and in other states. Liam was very often the one writing the songs, getting the gigs, figuring out the logistics, and hauling the equipment. His family was very generous in helping out, too — carting us all over the place with our amplifiers and instrument cases. I owe Liam a lot... he's the brother I never had.
And yes, Liam, I'm still waiting to hear the definitive mix of the CD we recorded so long ago. :)
The audio preview of Liam's Song includes a string section. However, please note that the arrangement available for purchase is for the piano part only.
Life's Adventure is a lively and exciting piano piece. It dances along in a brisk 7/16 meter along all the black notes of F# major. A fun and challenging piece to play, it might just leave you breathless.
Though the time signature is 7/16, the eighth note is generally the pulse and many times the phrasing treats two measures as a single unit.
Sacred Heart is a simple piano piece dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is the only piece I've ever composed that has no accidentals at all. I composed it when I was housesitting one warm spring afternoon just after I graduated from college. A breeze was blowing through the window as I sat at the family's beautiful Yamaha baby grand, and the wind chime in the window rang as I played.
I wrote the Stockholm Suite around Easter of 2013. It is in a more Romantic style than many of my pieces. It is named for Stockholm, Sweden, a city I have only visited once but would love to see again someday.
The suite is in three movements: I. Rubato, II. Appassionato, and III. Andante. The third movement is a standard nocturne, and this is the movement featured in the audio sample.
Watch out for the left-hand clef on the first movement! It sounds an octave lower than treble clef. I decided to use this octave clef (more commonly seen in vocal music) because putting the left hand in bass or treble clef puts most of the piece on leger lines, which looks needlessly complex.
Ever wonder what it's like to have synesthesia?
One way to describe synesthesia is a "crossing" of senses. There's more to it, of course... but in my case, I have what they call "pitch-color" synesthesia, or "chromesthesia" — meaning I experience colors and textures when I hear musical pitches and timbres. This all happens automatically, without conscious effort and without the aid of mind-altering substances. :)
I wrote "Two Fingers" as the subject of a short film to show how my synesthesia works. In the film, each note is colored according to my own synesthesia (D natural is red, for example). Other synesthetes will say my colors are all wrong, since the experience is different for everyone.
Pitch-color synesthesia is not a simple one-dimensional experience, but a subtly shifting and shimmering image where each note's appearance is affected by its timbre and its relationship to the other notes that are sounding.
The entire piano part to this piece can be played, as the title indicates, using only two fingers... but it's much easier to play it using standard, common-sense piano fingerings.
You can watch the film below.