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Songbook Review: Studio Live Session
Ralph Zurmühle
Cover image of the songbook Studio Live Session by Ralph Zurmühle
Studio Live Session
Ralph Zurmühle
2023 / Ralph Zurmühle
48 pages / 8 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Studio Live Session is the companion sheet music collection for Ralph Zurmühle's 2023 album by the same name. The album was released on vinyl only and features Ralph's live performances of eight favorites from his various solo piano albums released from 2000 to 2019. The sheet music was notated by Ralph Zurmühle and is currently available only from his website, but what a treasure the book is! I don't own a copy of the vinyl recording, but I was very pleasantly surprised (since Ralph's music is often improvised) to discover that most of the sheet music is very close - if not exact - to the original recordings. It's been a long time since I've heard most of these pieces, so it was great to go back and listen to them again either on CD or on one of the streaming platforms to refresh my memory.

I wouldn't call this sheet music easy, but it isn't terribly difficult either - I'd rate it at upper-intermediate to early-advanced. Some of the rhythms are intricate, while others are very straight-forward. The slower pieces are especially expressive, and there is a very interesting variety of styles in the music: "The Oracle" is very free and atmospheric, "The Train" is fast and upbeat, and "Farewell" and "For Michael" are slower and deeply emotional. I thoroughly enjoyed playing the songbook from cover-to-cover a couple of times and will enjoy polishing up some favorites so I can just sit down and play them with the grace they deserve.

This songbook and Ralph's other songbooks and sheet music are available at https://www.ralphpiano.com/sheet.html - some of it for free (not the songbooks!), so check it out!

The titles of the pieces, the keys they are in, and the number of pages are:

La Plana - Key of Eb (3 flats) - 5 pages
Hymn - Key of F minor (4 flats) - 3 pages
Nightwalk - Key of E minor (1 sharp) - 5 pages
The Train - Key of C (0 sharps or flats)/ C minor (3 flats) - 9 pages
The Oracle - Key of G minor (2 flats) - 8 pages
Farewell - Key of A minor (0 sharps or flats) - 7 pages
At The Threshold - Key of A minor (0 sharps or flats) - 5 pages
For Michael - Key of G (1 sharp) - 3 pages
March 7, 2024
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