Have you exhausted your budget for new music but find yourself in need of a few more pieces to round out the upcoming choral season? Have you been unable to find a choral setting of a hymn you love? Have you always been curious about how the creative process works? Read Timothy Shaw’s blog post on Prelude Music Planner to follow a ten-step process that could help you to create your own music: click here.
Augsburg Fortress has released Timothy Shaw’s book of hymn arrangements for piano, Hymn Settings for the Year: 55 Piano Gems. This book contains all the pieces he wrote in his 52 in 52 series. Here is a description from the publisher: “This collection of hymn settings in diverse forms and styles will serve you well throughout the church year. Some of these pieces may be used as preludes or postludes, while others may be used as hymn introductions and alternate accompaniments. Teachers who want to introduce hymn settings to students will find this a valuable teaching tool. This is also a great resource for funeral service music.”
Augsburg Fortress has released Sundays and Seasons, Year C (2016). This is a wonderful resource that will help lay worship leaders and planners, preachers and presiding ministers, worship team leaders, musicians and visual artists, educators, sacristans and altar guilds, and pastoral liturgists as they prepare engaging worship. I was pleased to contribute the choral music selections for each of the 63 services throughout the church year.
The October 2014 edition of The Diapason (an international journal devoted to the organ, harpsichord, carillon and church music) contains the following review of my advent anthem, “Prepare the Royal Highway” (SATB unaccompanied with tambourine):
This Swedish folk tune from the 17th century has a lilting 6/4 meter that dances along at a moderately fast pace. The choral parts, on two staves, maintain the simplicity and keep the folk spirit throughout while the tambourine adds to the energetic rhythm without intruding or dominating. Its music is on the back cover and as a separate line in the choral score.
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!