Friday, February 3, 2012

For the Beauty of the Earth

This is a Celtic version of the beautiful hymn "For the Beauty of the Earth" as recorded by my mom (flute) and I (piano). The words to this hymn are so lovely.
The footage is from Ireland, New Zealand, South America, and other countries of Earth.
Hope you are blessed :)

Steve Petit Evangelistic Team and
Rebekah Snyder

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Someone brought to my attention that the comments were malfunctioning. That has been officially fixed!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Wondrous Works of Joe Hisaishi

Close friends call him Mamoru Fujisawa, but most laymen and fans know him as Joe Hisaishi (pronounced His-ah-ee-shee). He's the prolific Japanese composer for Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli (who has been compared to the Walt Disney of Japan).
Indeed, he is best known for his Studio Ghibli soundtrack scores. His most popular compositions are most frequently heard accompanying the fantastical imaginative movies of said director Miyazaki. As such, the union between movie director and composer are fitting, combining the whimsical, fantasy-like qualities of both arts into a harmonious blend of thrilling entertainment. So significant have his contributions to modern Japanese music been, that he has been awarded the Japanese Academy Award for Best Music six times- in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2009, and and 2011.
If you are a frequent listener, you might know him for a smorgasbord of styles and sounds outside of the Japanese movie industry. From minimalist to experimental electronic, and European classical to Japanese classical, Hisaishi has covered and created forms of genres entirely his own.
Nostalgia pervades his mystical lore-inspired Japanese albums "Piano stories" I,II, III, IV. Clearly inspired by classical, romanticism, contemporary, and new age, these albums are simple yet poignant in charm, delivering contemplative piano music that is perfect to relax to.

[Listen to Highlander from Piano Stories II]

Of his Ghibli film music, my personal favorites are his scores to Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and Laputa: Castle in the Sky. 
The Howl's Moving Castle score is reminiscent of a Parisian sidewalk cafe setting- with free, waltz-like style. The film takes place in a fantastical kingdom in the19th century. The music captures that feel with expertise. Despite his Asian heritage, the composer adapts Western music with supreme accuracy. You get the simplistic feel of old classics, the colorful harmonies of the romantic era, and the brisk 3/4 tempo of a Viennese waltz.

Howl's Moving Castle Theme

The score for Spirited Away is captivating and entrancing. From subtle, gentle tracks like "One Summer's Day", and "Sixth Station" to the powerful and magnificent "Reprise" and "Dragon Boy", it's a score that perfectly captures a girl's mystical adventure to a dream-like world full of odd spirit-beings. It contains pieces that are slow and soft, yet powerful enough to coax tears from the emotional listeners. 

One Summer's Day from Spirited Away

Then we have Laputa: Castle in the Sky, a movie a young girl and boy's fascinating adventure to find a legendary floating castle in the clouds. If you could envision a soundtrack to one such movie, this would be it. Full of New Age synth, Classical sophistication, memorable hooks, and wistful harmonies, this album is stirringly sublime. It is definitely one of Hisaishi's best.

"Collapse of Laputa": Castle in the Sky

Hisaishi's music is fairly accessible off and iTunes. If you want to listen but not purchase, Spotify and Pandora has many of his selections. Sadly, his sheet music is not too easy to come by in the United States.
If you are insistent and desperate like me, you'll have to feel your way around the Japanese Amazon website to access Piano Stories, Encore, and other sheet music by him:
 Japanese Amazon: Joe Hisaishi
Official website:
 A few fans have compiled their own arrangements of his Studio Ghibli music and uploaded it to obscure anime-music forums. 
If browsing foreign sites is completely unfamiliar to you, one helpful tool is Google translate. Good luck! 


Piano Stories
Etudes ~A Wish to the Moon~
Laputa: Castle in the Sky soundtrack
Howl's Moving Castle soundtrack
Spirited Away Soundtrack
Joe Hisaishi review
Joe Hisaishi soundtrack review
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea soundtrack
Kiki's Delivery service soundtrack


Joe Hisaishi sheet music, Joe Hisaishi Laputa sheet music, Joe Hisaishi Ghibli Sheet music, Joe Hisaishi Piano stories sheet music, Ponyo, Castle in the Sky sheet music 

Friday, January 6, 2012

700 views: THANK YOU!

A GREAT big thank you to everyone who has shared in my passion and love of music! Yesterday this little blog met it's 700th viewer. What a surprise! I set this blog up 3 months ago as a way to share my thoughts on God and music to the world, and so far that vision has been far surpassed. 
A particularly special THANKYOU to you who have advertised my blog. You're fabulous. It's truly a gift to have such wonderful followers (and lurkers)! 

To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.
                                                                             -Aaron Copeland

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Libera: A Traditional Boys Choir with Unique Contemporary Style

I have always had a fondness for boys choirs. Not only do I love to see children value their gifts and enjoy expressing them, but I love to hear ordinary people exhibiting extraordinary talents.  Whether it's the Vienna Boys Choir, St. Thomas Choir, or Metropolitan boys choir, there is no denying the beautiful angelic sound that these choirs produce.
One boys choir that I was recently introduced to is Libera. I absolutely adore their works. Many long-time fans of the boychoir tradition may balk at the thought of introducing synths, electronic beats, and extensive remixing into recordings of this nature, but take my advice- the result is nothing short of fabulous. It's a  refreshing, lush, new age sound blended with first-class harmonious choral singing.
From a Christian, Baptist perspective, I find the majority of  their sacred songs to be absolute gems of praise to God. (such as the few I have listed with links below) In addition to many originals, they have a nice selection of hymns such as "Onward Christian Soldiers" and "All Things Bright and Beautiful" that are very familiar and theologically sound. Be warned that there are Catholic titles that may not agree with your theology. Others are based off common Latin texts such as "Agnus Dei", "Lacrimosa", "Sanctus", "Adoramus", etc. 

A few on my "must-check-out" list are:

1. Adoramus
On top of the fact this song gives beautiful praise to God, the vocals are absolutely stunning, and the instrumentation is marvelous.
LISTEN: Adoramus

2. Gloria
"Gloria, in excelsis deo" (aka. Glory to God in the highest) are beautiful words to include in any song. And when you combine that with Saint-Saens majestic Symphony No. 3 "Organ symphony" finale...well, consider yourself  in for a treat.  
LISTEN: Gloria

3. I am the Day
I am the day, soon to be born
I am the light before the morning
I am the night that will be dawn
I am the end and the beginning

I am the Alpha and Omega
The night and day, the first and last

The powerful words speak for themselves. The heavenly vocals, and powerful chords, suspensions, coloratura, polyphony, all weave together to produce a truly breathtaking song.

LISTEN: I Am the Day

4. Time
This one is not sacred. It concerns the subjects of past and future time, memories, and eternity- which can be extraordinarily mysterious and confusing concepts. The music is atmospheric and melancholy, begging deep reflection and focus upon the words. Altogether very beautiful and mysterious.
                       LISTEN: Time

5. Voca Me
Given that "Lacrimosa" means "mournful day", and this song includes the word many times, you can imagine that it reflects that accurately. If you love suspensions, and a whole lot of minor, you will enjoy this one. The ending builds up to a beautiful, sky-high climax, and is completely stunning.



6. You Were There

You were there
In everything I knew
From the moment I began
Always there
In every way I go
Saved me falling
Held my hand

You are shelter from the storm
The shadows fade away
All cares pass away

I absolutely love the words to this song, and the music is gorgeous beyond words. I was blown away the first time I heard it. Such beautiful praise to God.


   LISTEN: You were There