James Michael Stevens
2023 / James M Stevens Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Winterfelt Piano is the twelfth piano album for 2023 from James Michael Stevens, and what a peaceful beauty it is! The ten original piano solos are titled "Winterfelt Piano, No. 1-10," leaving it to the listener to visualize or imagine what each piece is "about" or to simply enjoy the music without suggesting what inspired it. The mood of the full album is very gentle and relaxed (no thunder storms on this one!), often reminding me of the profound quiet of snow falling or the peaceful feeling of taking a walk through a winter wonderland of sparkling snowflakes. It's the perfect accompaniment to a winter evening by a cozy fireplace, or for studying, or relaxing with a nice cup of hot chocolate (or a glass of wine!) - or simply for some beautifully soothing piano music to set a peaceful mood and/or to get blissfully lost in.
If you are not familiar with the felted piano technique, a piece of felt or other soft cloth is placed between the hammers and the strings of the piano, softening the percussive effect of the hammers hitting the strings as they are played. The resulting sound can vary quite a bit depending on the effect the artist is looking for. Sometimes (but not on this album!) all of the inner workings of the piano can be heard as part of the music, and at the opposite end of the spectrum, the cloth just softens the impact of the hammers for a more delicate effect. I would place Winterfelt Piano at the latter part of that range as the piano sound is lovely and very soothing.
James Michael Stevens is the Dean of the Music Department at Welch College in Gallatin, Tennessee and is quite possibly the most prolific composer on the planet with 7,381 items currently for sale on SheetMusicPlus.com and a staggering number of recordings of his original works and arrangements for piano, organ, choir and other instruments - an amazing legacy of music!
Winterfelt Piano is available as a download or to stream on Amazon and Apple Music/iTunes as well as many streaming sites including Spotify. The sheet music for each piece as well as the full album is available to download from SheetMusicPlus.com and SheetMusicDirect.com. This is one of my favorite albums by James Michael Stevens (so far)!
December 23, 2023