Riversongs (2018)

I have recently filmed performances of my two favourite pieces from my first collection of piano compositions – “Riversongs” (2018).

The first of these is a simple, lyrical melody written for my oldest granddaughter, Aimy. It is a simple expression of loving feelings by a grandfather (or “Papy”, as Aimy calls me) for his beautiful granddaughter.

The second recording is the title song of the album, “Riversong”. This piece written in 2014 is a poignant piece. It describes views of the River Trent in Autumn and early Winter. Following the death of my lovely wife, Michele, in 2010, I often walked the fields by the river very early in the morning and was struck by the peaceful beauty of the scenes – the mists over the water, the stillness of the riverbank and the faint silhouettes of St.Wysten’s steeple across the river in Repton. I would begin to sense the stirrings of the little river “people”, their slumber interrupted by the early morning light. Close by, Willington would be coming to life, its inhabitants ready for another day. The scenes seemed to mirror a sense in me of the beauty and vulnerability of life shared by all living beings.

I dedicated this composition to Jeremy and Debbie, my son and his wife who, like me, lived on the banks of the Trent.

If you enjoyed these recordings, you will find the album on most of the top music streaming services – Spotify, YouTube, Apple, Amazon, Tidal, Deezer etc.

Listen to John’s Music on your favourite Streaming Service

First Light

I wrote this little piece for my late wife, Michèle, who died just before Christmas in 2010. I found that writing a musical diary was so beneficial to my grieving process. I remember at the time feeling Michèle’s loss as if it were a deep wound in my heart. I found that music gently soothed my aching heart and recalled me to the new life that I had to confront – slowly and painfully. A life without her – a life where she was everywhere, yet nowhere. In fact the original title I gave to the piece was “Everywhere and Nowhere”.

However, with the passing years happiness and joy have gradually come back into my life. I changed the title to “First Light” because this title speaks of new beginnings and the return of a future direction so essential to a refreshed engagement with life and the many loving people who form part of that life.

It is a deeply personal rendition but, after so many years, I feel privileged to share it with you

Photo by Quentin Bounias on Unsplash

Chopin’s Preludes

Chopin wrote a number of preludes for piano solo. His cycle of 24 Preludes, Opus 28 covers all major and minor keys

They are short pieces for the piano, and were originally published in 1839. Whereas the term “prelude” had up to that time been used to describe an introductory piece, Chopin’s preludes are self-contained units, each conveying a specific idea or emotion.

Chopin wrote some of the preludes whilst staying at Valldemossa, Mallorca, during the winter of 1838–39, where he had fled with George Sand and her children to escape the damp Paris weather.

The following two preludes are my favourites. They each convey a depth of feeling that quite surpasses expectation. They are No. 4 in E Minor and No. 15 in D flat Major.

Chopin Prelude Opus 28 No. 4 in E Flat Minor
Chopin Prelude Opus 28 No. 15 in D Flat Major

I do hope you enjoy listening to them. They have proved to be very popular over the years and have found their way into popular culture through film, theatre and drama. A wonderful legacy!

Here are two quite different videos from Youtube about Chopin and Sands stay in Valldemossa!

This is a short film about Valldemossa, where Chopin used to spend few months of his life working. Maciej Puczynski.
María Márquez: Pianist and Narrator. Guillem Durán: Edition Camera operator and resources Gabriel Quetglas: The charterhouse keeper and guide. Lara Wong: Camera operator and resources Esteban Márquez: Graphics Fundacja Talenty Muzyczne Europy. Musical Talents of Europe.