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Songbook Review: Reflections of Home
Michael Mills
Cover image of the songbook Reflections of Home by Michael Mills
Reflections of Home
Michael Mills
2020 / Tom's Creek Publishing
134 pages / 9 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Reflections of Home songbook is the companion sheet music collection for pianist/composer Michael Mills' 2020 debut album by the same name. All nine piano solos from the album are included. Mills is still in his early-20's and the music from Reflections of Home pays homage to the first pieces he composed: "the music that initially compelled me to pursue my dream." About half of the pieces are revised and expanded versions of his first compositions; the others are pieces he composed in honor of his "musical roots." Not surprisingly, the emotional range in the music is broad - from light and carefree to pensive to somewhat dark, providing a nice sampling of this young composer's early work.

Mills' music has been performed throughout the mid-Atlantic region of the US, on public radio, and across Europe. He grew up in a small town in southern West Virginia and taught himself piano and composition until he started his undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech, earning a BA in Music Composition and Technology in 2019. I really appreciate a young artist who refuses to be boxed into any specific genres of music and who wants to reach beyond categories to find his true musical voice. Mills has a deep interest in the human condition and life experiences, a quality that is vividly expressed in his music.

As much as I like the recording, this is not an easy book to just sit down with and play for relaxation. The pieces are 10 -16 1/2 pages each and some are quite complex. This is just a comment, though, not a warning. I find several of these pieces very compelling and plan to spend the time to get to know them better rather than just sight-reading through the book. My suggestion would be to sample the recording, pick out a favorite or two to start with, and then dig into the sheet music. My own favorites are "From Shadow," "Past" and "When Tomorrow Comes." The book includes "A Note from the Composer" and a "Notation Guide" that explains a few less-common markings that appear sparingly in the scores. I'm very impressed with Michael Mills' music and look forward to more, hopefully in the near-future!

The songbook is available to download from Mills' website, SheetMusicPlus.com, and ScoreExchange.com. Individual pieces are also available to download. Printed copies are also available from Mill's website. My review of the album itself is also here on MainlyPiano.com.

The titles of the pieces, the key(s) they are in and the number of pages are:

Fly - Key of Bb (2 flats)/ Dd (5 flats)/ Eb (3 flats) - 11 pages
From Shadow - Key of Eb (3 flats)/ Db (5 flats) - 10 pages
Silent Adoration - Key of C (0 sharps or flats)/ Bb (2 flats)/ Db (5 flats) - 15 1/2 pages
Today and Forever - Key of Eb (3 flats)/ Db (5 flats) - 13 pages
Never For Granted - Key of Db (5 flats) - 10 1/2 pages
Past - Key of F# minor (3 sharps) - 16 1/2 pages
Sincerity - Key of E (4 sharps) - 16 pages
When Tomorrow Comes - Key of A minor (0 sharps or flats)/ Eb (3 flats) - 13 1/2 pages
Baby Blue - Key of D (2 sharps)/ E 3 sharps - 13 pages
February 23, 2021