One morning last winter, composer and pianist Lisa Swerdlow woke before dawn. Without knowing why, experienced a sense of foreboding and found herself reflecting on her life and contemplating all that she hoped yet to accomplish. She climbed out of bed and headed to the barn to feed her horses, as was her habit, just as the sun began to break over the Sierra Nevada mountains to the east of her home. Storm clouds hovered over the horizon, resulting in a spectacular winter sunrise that served to calm her troubled thoughts.
The composition that grew out of that experience is “Dawn Contemplation,” a riveting piano solo spectacularly orchestrated by Doug Hammer. Ethereal and atmospheric, every note is filled with passion. One phrase flows into another with melancholic earnestness, building to a powerful climax before resolving gently. This music is powerful and stirring, evoking a range of emotions, and is a fitting soundtrack to the challenging times we find ourselves in as a result of Covid-19. A triumph for Lisa Swerdlow and Doug Hammer, I give it my highest recommendation.
“Sing me of Winter” is a brand new holiday single by the gifted composer and talented pianist Lisa Swerdlow. According to Swerdlow, this music was inspired by her friend Paul Landry who advised her NOT to do yet another cover of an existing Christmas song but instead to write one of her own. And I for one am very grateful that she did! It’s a spirited tune in a fast triple meter; the piano fairly sparkles and is set off with a beautiful orchestration by Paul Kraushaar, who added just the right “festive” touches. This is dramatic music that could serve as the soundtrack to a scene in a movie; the piece opens with a sense of urgency that gradually unfolds into excitement and ends with a sweep of the heart and a glorious sense of resolution. “Sing Me of Winter” is going on ALL of my holiday playlists and I look forward to listening to it again and again, throughout the current season and for many years to come. Don’t miss it! Very highly recommended!