John Matthew Rosenberg | Love of This Life

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Rock: Adult Contemporary Jazz: Piano Jazz Moods: Featuring Piano
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Love of This Life

by John Matthew Rosenberg

Singing, song-writing pianist and composer, John Matthew Rosenberg (Uncle John) presents a mix of new material drawn from poetry and personal experience - simply elegant but deep as the ocean…
Genre: Rock: Adult Contemporary
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Rosenberg’s Goldberg Variation
3:30 $1.29
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2. A Poem for Emily
4:14 $1.29
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3. Cockles and Mussels (feat. Peggy Baldwin)
2:59 FREE
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4. Dear in the Headlights
3:43 $1.29
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5. For Bobby F
2:46 $1.29
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6. Happiness
4:03 $1.29
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7. I’ve Been Meaning to Call
3:06 $1.29
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8. Mandela
3:40 $1.29
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9. The Road Not Taken
2:57 $1.29
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10. Top of the World
3:08 $1.29
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Produced by Thomas Brandau and John Matthew Rosenberg for Production Recording and publ. Hip-Hip-Beret Music, BMI
productionrecording.com - hip-hip-beret.com, c p 2014 Production Recording Media Co. Inc., 2235 E Flamingo Road Suite 100D Las Vegas NV 89119 Made in the USA. All Rights reserved. This recording is for private use only. Unauthorized reproduction or retransmission is a violation of applicable laws.
NOTES FROM COMPOSER, JOHN MATTHEW ROSENBERG:

1) Rosenberg’s “Goldberg Variation” The original “Variazioni Goldberg” - an Aria and thirty variations were written by J.S. Bach in 1741 for the harpsichord. They were composed and named for Johann Gottlieb Goldberg following a suggestion by Count Kaiserling of Saxony to write something for his friend to play for him on those nights when the Count couldn’t sleep on account of his insomnia. The constant element providing the “jumping-off point” is the fundamental bass line from the Aria. After using the variations as a great teaching tool, I found myself improvising and creating one more in a contemporary style.

2) “A Poem For Emily” Set to the poem of Miller Williams. Although he spoke at President Bill Clinton’s 2nd Inauguration in 1997, I did not know of Miller until he and his daughter Lucinda gave a concert of "Poetry and Music" at UCLA’s Royce Hall. In a description of the event was this poem, written to his granddaughter on the very day of her birth. I was immediately taken by his perspective, and wrote this melody to his verse, which I was eventually able to present to him. We have stayed in touch over the years. Recently I called to let him know I re-recorded the “Poem” and would be sending him a new version. He told me that the family was in the midst of a big celebration: Emily, now all grown up, was just about to get married.

3) “Cockles and Mussels” featuring Peggy Baldwin. An old "folk song" published in Cambridge, Mass in 1883 and in London in 1884 as a work written and composed by James Yorkston of Edinburgh. The original name of this song is “Molly Malone”, and it’s the unofficial anthem of Dublin, Ireland. I have visited there twice in the last few years: that fine city along with the surrounding countryside never fails to capture and ignite my imagination… My piano is accompanied by Peggy Baldwin’s cellos, all four of them.

4) “Dear In The Headlights” (Four hands) In this piece I was experimenting with the interval of a perfect fifth as the starting point and link to some ever-slowly changing harmonic “impressionistic” underpinnings.

5) “For Bobby F” A very dear friend and fellow piano player passed away a few years ago, yet his memory lives on. He was always ready with a positive spin on things, and knew a million tunes. As a singer and entertainer, Bob Falstein will always have a special place in my life; he was instrumental in introducing me to my wife during the time we sailed aboard the SS Universe Explorer in the winter of ’95.

6) “Happiness” Poem by Emily Perkins Bissell, (aka Priscilla Leonard).
Bissell grew up in Delaware in the mid to late 1800s, fought for child labor laws and introduced Christmas Seals to the United States. She also wrote some wonderful poems. I just found this in one of the many books I use for my source material, and never realized until now how popular this poem has become over the last 107 years.

7) “I’ve Been Meaning To Call” Words by Cheryl Ernst Wells. A dear friend, Cherie and I have known each other for years and I consider her one of my all time favorite lyricists. She can be sharp, witty, succinct, poignant and irreverent, sometimes all at once. This lyric was the result of a phone call she’d made to her friend and great jazz pianist, Jimmy Rowles, only to find out that he had just passed away.

8) “Mandela” Written in 2013, the year he died. After visiting South Africa and touring Robben Island, I was humbled as I began to understand the struggle undertaken by this great man, who along with the support and solidarity of countless others, sacrificed everything for the right to be free.

A few years ago, I’d written and recorded a song using the words of his friend Archbishop Desmond Tutu (found on the back cover of one of his books) and I’d performed this for him on our Semester At Sea ship in New York Harbor. Here is an example of another person whose depth of commitment to the ideals of a better world leaves me speechless.
Upon hearing the news one day that Mr. Mandela was gravely ill in Johannesburg, I was inspired by the simple rhythm of his name to write this instrumental.

9) “The Road Not Taken” Inspired by Robert Frost’s poem of the same name - written in 1916. I discovered that Frost’s words are no longer allowed to be used in the way I did (for I’d already written a really nice song with a great melody). So, here is the music minus the “lyric”. And if his verse happens to be nearby, I think you will find they go together well.

10) “Top Of The World” Words by Gary D. Black. From a book of song lyrics he sent to me – this set just jumped right off the page.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________

RECORDING NOTES FROM PRODUCER AND ENGINEER, THOMAS BRANDAU:

John and I have known each other for many years. We played in a band together, have done a lot of session work and have stayed in touch. Although we’ve recorded together on many occasions, I’ve always wanted to do a proper “album” of his compositions, and we finally got a start here with “Love of This Life”. There are so many more pieces John’s written that cry for full arrangements, and I hope we get the chance to tackle them, but for this first effort, the idea was to showcase his material in an intimate setting.

That said, one of the early decisions was the perspective and miking. For these sessions I was acoustically wanting to put the listener over his shoulder sitting at the keyboard; the closest to what John hears as he performs. We decided to keep the sound of the pedals in the mix, and use the close microphones predominantly. The sound you can hear that’s similar to brushes on a snare drum is actually the pedals, hammers and felts rising and falling on the strings. He is one of the very few pianists whom I know that actually treats the piano as the percussion instrument it is.

John came to me in prep to say that he had found possibly the best piano he’s ever played at Ned Albright’s studio in Venice. He was right of course, and it was such a pleasure to record on the big Steinway. I can’t thank Ned enough for allowing me to essentially use his piano, while taking over his room with all my gear on many occasions.

Between the desire to keep things close, and the considerable air the bottom end moves, I kept the lid on the short pin, with DPA’s over the strings, and Neumanns at 20’ in the room for the distant perspective. On the tracks where John was singing, we left the piano open to the room, but built a substantial baffle to isolate the vocal as best we could. Not perfect, but serviceable; as John really didn’t want to overdub. We tried tracking the piano early on, and it just didn’t seem to work for his performance.

So, that’s pretty much it, except to say that we had a terrific evening when Peggy Baldwin came by with her cello. “Cockles and Mussels” just needed strings, and John wrote a great chart which she knocked out of the park. What a trooper. John and Peggy went at it for hours, changing most of the chart as they went along, the final result being four tracks, a cello quartet by one. Once I got the mic in the right spot, I just sat back, kept arming tracks, and punched record. It was fun watching them work it out.

Speaking of punching the record button, I should mention that this whole project was machine-based. No ProTools. The microphones were fed into analog preamps, with minimal processing, no limiting or EQ, then into an old Alesis HD24 that I refuse to part with. Other than a little EQ on the vocal and a tad of analog limiting to control the transients on the Steinway’s top end, the mix was essentially simple; primarily an analog recording stored digitally. If you should want more specifics about the mics and the recording setup, visit the Production Recording website and shoot me an email: info@productionrecording.com.

One final note. Why did I put the Goldberg Variation in the first position on the CD? On day one, the first session at Ned’s, I thought it wise to start with the solo piano pieces, both because I was still experimenting with the mic positioning and John could concentrate on the piano without having to worry about singing right out of the gate. The piano tuner had just left, and I was pretty much ready to go. John suggested we start with the Goldberg. I thought he was probably most comfortable with it, an old friend. Anyway, we rolled on take one, and when the last long note rang out, thankfully the studio was dead quiet, because John and I looked at each other wondering “did I just hear that?” “It was perfect right?” We listened back a few times and moved on. Never did take two. What a start.

I put it up front on the CD for that reason, and for the fact that if you want a perfect reference piano recording, with respect, I’d look no further.


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