The Augsburg Fortress catalog now contains my latest book of hymn settings for piano, Easy Hymns for the Church Pianist, volume 2. There’s a baker’s dozen of 13 tunes: Assurance, Crusader’s Hymn (Schönster Herr Jesu), Divinum mysterium, Dix, Ellacombe, Foundation, Give Me Jesus, Gloria, Hyfrydol, Resignation, Stille Nacht, The Ash Grove, and Wondrous Love. Many of these are included on my new album, Hymns of Comfort and Praise (coming soon!).
Here’s a little background on this volume: As a church musician, I know that finding time to learn new repertoire can be difficult. And, as a classically trained pianist, I know that finding satisfying, idiomatic hymn settings can be difficult, too. With this collection, I have attempted to write pieces that are not too technically challenging but that are still engaging for the performer and listener alike. “Angels We Have Heard on High” is a lot of fun to play, and it sounds like “Christmas” to me. “Give Me Jesus” does not require great technical facility, but it does require artistry to attain its full emotional impact. “What Wondrous Love Is This” captures the drama of the hymn text and ends with a moment of transcendent longing: “and through eternity I’ll sing on.” I hope you enjoy playing these pieces as much as I do!