Winter Piano Preludes Nos. 1-10
James Michael Stevens
2022 / James M Stevens Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Winter Piano Preludes Nos. 1-10 was James Michael Stevens' last album of 2022, a year that saw the release of a staggering sixteen albums and thirty singles! Also the Dean of the School of Music at Welch College in Gallatin, TN, Dr. Stevens' original music tends to be warm, relaxing and is often dreamy and romantic - a great choice for quieter times when beautiful music is appreciated either in the background or for more focused listening pleasure. Most of these preludes are tinged with feelings of reflection and melancholy, as winter music often is, but they are also very calming and peaceful - and who couldn't use more of that throughout the year?
The first "Winter Piano Prelude" begins with a repeated pattern on the right hand that suggests a very chilly atmosphere. The left hand plays single notes or broken chords, keeping it simple but very effective. "Prelude No. 2" begins in a lighter major key and transitions to a more evocative and atmospheric minor key. The darkly introspective "Prelude No. 3" is far from gloomy, but feels very deep in thought. "Prelude No. 4" makes me think of the quiet stillness of falling snow and how it sparkles in the sunlight or even moonlight. This isn't a complicated piece of music at all, but it is very descriptive and graceful. "Prelude No. 5" overflows with warmth and contentment - a gentle winter daydream, perhaps, or maybe a romantic evening by a cozy fireplace. "Prelude No. 6" is more hushed and somewhat melancholy - one of my favorites. The relaxed and expressive "Prelude No. 7" could be reflecting on a walk in a winter wonderland or looking out a window while enjoying a cup of tea or hot cocoa. It's fascinating how "Prelude No. 8" conveys a sense of bitter cold. "Prelude No. 9" seems to express warm feelings of wonder and happiness with its graceful melody and easy tempo. The smooth and romantic "Prelude No. 10" brings the album to a close, leaving the listener relaxed and refreshed. Ahhhhhhhhh...
Sure to soothe the spirit any time of the year, Winter Piano Preludes Nos. 1-10 is available from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites such as Spotify. The sheet music is also available to download as a complete songbook or individual pieces from SheetMusicPlus.com and SheetMusicDirect.com. The songbook is also reviewed here on MainlyPiano.com.
January 23, 2023