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Songbook Review: Reverence
Ralph Zurmühle
Cover image of the songbook Reverence by Ralph Zurmühle
Ralph Zurmühle
2024 / Ralph Zurmühle
56 pages / 12 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
I have a new favorite solo piano sheet music book! Ralph Zurmühle's Reverence is the companion sheet music collection for his 2024 solo piano album with the same title, and I've played it from cover to cover twice (so far!), enjoying it even more the second time. Notated by Ralph Zurmühle himself, some of the twelve pieces are fairly easy and some are more complicated, but they are all so expressive and heartfelt that they are a real pleasure to play - and to practice (sorry - that's the piano teacher in me talking!)!. Most of the pieces are fairly slow, but some have some quick runs or ornamentation that make them somewhat more advanced but very do-able with a little work. I'd rate most of the music at an upper-intermediate to early-advanced playing level.

Ralph Zurmühle's creative process begins with improvisation (as opposed to writing the scores out prior to playing them or planning his music before going to the piano), and feelings of freedom and spontaneity remain in his finished work. Ralph has been one of my favorite composers since I started reviewing his recordings back in 2008, but this is the first of his sheet music that I've played myself. Very happily, I will soon review his other songbook, Studio Live Session. I have a feeling I'm really going to like that one, too!

The Reverence sheet music book includes Ralph's biography and Black Elk's quotation from the liner notes of the recording. The scores are all well-spaced and easy to read (I am using an 8.5"x11" iPad). There are a few reaches of more than an octave, but not too many. Some of the rhythms are a bit complicated at first, but are easy to work out. Many of the twelve pieces would be great for teaching advancing students and for student recitals.

The full PDF songbook is available to download from Ralph's website. Ralph also has a selection of single pieces of sheet music that he offers as free downloads. Both songbooks are for sale. Very highly recommended!

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

Earth From a Distance - Key of G (1 sharp) - 2 pages
Opening In the Sky - Key of C minor (3 flats) - 7 pages
For A Friend - Key of E (4 sharps) - 2 pages
Ode To The Sun - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 5 pages
Those Moments - Key of F minor (4 flats) - 5 pages
Pamela's Song - Key of G (1 sharp) - 4 pages
At Sea - Key of B minor (2 flats)/ E minor (1 sharp)/ A minor (0)/ D minor (1 flat) - 10 pages
Children's Song - Key of F (1 flat)/ Eb (3 flats) - 4 pages
First Days of Spring - Key of C (0)/ Eb (3 flats) - 4 pages
Hymn For the Ancestors - Key of Db (5 flats) - 2 pages
Scarborough Fair - Key of D minor (1 flat) - 5 pages
Reverence - Key of C (0) - 2 pages
February 26, 2024
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