Dona nobis pacem: A Prayer for Peace (2021)

Words: Traditional

Music: Erik Gustafson 

Piano performance by Erik Gustafson

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Eric Kilburn at Wellspring Sound (www.wellspringsound.com)

Photo image used under license from Shutterstock.com (Jantanee Runpranomkorn)

Design by Elizabeth Tustian

Copyright Ⓟ, © 2021 by Erik K. Gustafson

All rights reserved

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Released on Tuesday, January 26th 2021, this music video and the timing of its premiere were intended to honor important causes for social justice and racial equality in 2021. These important societal concerns, also for the United States, have been highlighted and emboldened by two figures celebrated in January 2021. May we continue to honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (whose holiday was celebrated on Monday, January 18th 2021) as well as lift up the work of President Joseph R. Biden and his administration (whose inauguration was marked on Wednesday, January 20th 2021) for the rights and well-being of all Americans and beyond.

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Beyond Words (2021)

Performed by Willie Sordillo, alto saxophone (www.williesordillo.com)

Composed and performed by Erik Gustafson, piano

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Eric Kilburn at Wellspring Sound (www.wellspringsound.com)

Cover Artwork: Faceted (mixed media on canvas), © Allison Picone (www.allisonpicone.com)

Copyright Ⓟ, © by Erik K. Gustafson

All rights reserved 

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This piece composed in the jazz style pays tribute to one of life’s true gifts embodied in Harry Lyn Huff. Affectionately known as “Prince Harry” to other members of his final spiritual home: Old South Church in Boston, Harry Huff was beloved in touching many lives — not only as a brilliant musician, but also as a great man. When Harry died unexpectedly in November of 2016, many people said of his passing, “there are no words.” The idea and music of Beyond Words thus express a collective feeling about Harry — only augmented in death; and, they also reflect the composer’s sense of loss given his rapport with Harry. Admiration and great appreciation continue in general for Harry as well as his legacy of musical artistry, deep faith and “left-leaning” spirituality, exuberance, and compassion.

 

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When Words Fail Me (2021)

Full title: When Words Fail Me: A Prayer without Words
in memoriam

A heartfelt prayer for persevering during trying circumstances and for enduring tragic events, even loss and death

Composed by Erik Gustafson

Finished upon the occasion of the death of his father on October 13th 2018

This YouTube presentation premiered on January 12th 2021, the second anniversary of the memorial service held for the composer’s father, Alvar W. Gustafson, at Old South Church in Boston

Photograph for this video taken by Alvar W. Gustafson in Paris (France) in 2006

Image featuring Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Performed by Sam Ou, violoncello (samweiou.weebly.comand Erik Gustafson

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Eric Kilburn at Wellspring Sound (www.wellspringsound.com)

Copyright Ⓟ, © by Erik K. Gustafson

All rights reserved

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Music for Uncertain Times: Program for 3 January 2021 (LIVE in 2021)

Erik Gustafson, piano

Anticipating the release of the album: Music for Uncertain Times, this livestream concert was presented via the artist’s YouTube channel on Sunday, January 3rd 2021. This program marked the third livestream performance concert by the artist on YouTube. Mostly, the concert consisted of the classical and original repertoire featured on the album. It also included the outer movements of the Italian Concerto, BWV 971 of J. S. Bach, not appearing on the above album; and it included a seasonal and original composition already recorded and released in 2018: Winter Blues.

Peruse the concert program

Copyright Ⓟ by Erik K. Gustafson
All rights reserved

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Music for Uncertain Times: Sampler (2020)

FULL ALBUM

Now available as CD

DEMO TRACKS

Begin the Beguine (Cole Porter)
Andante (Johann Sebastian Bach)
His Eye Is on the Sparrow (arranged by Erik Gustafson)
C’est Si Bon (Henri Betti)
Maple Leaf Rag (Scott Joplin)

Performed by Erik Gustafson, piano
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Eric Kilburn at Wellspring Sound (www.wellspringsound.com)
Design by Elizabeth Tustian

Copyright Ⓟ by Erik K. Gustafson
All rights reserved

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AN INVITATION to SING —

 

Dona nobis pacem: A Prayer for Peace (2020)

Composer/musician Erik Gustafson speaks about an original composition dating from 2020, and he extends an invitation for group singing of it — even virtually during COVID-19 — towards an overall sense of peace.

Video recorded, mixed, and mastered by Eric Kilburn at Wellspring Sound in November 2020 (www.wellspringsound.com)

Additional video editing by Ryan Gallagher

Thumbnail design by Elizabeth Tustian

Copyright Ⓟ by Erik K. Gustafson

All rights reserved

A separate YouTube presentation with actual music — both notated and realized in piano performance — was released on Tuesday, January 26th 2021: https://youtu.be/oxtjma3gpys

 

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A Place at the Table (2020)

 

Words by Shirley Erena Murray

Music by Erik Gustafson 

 

Performed by Erik Gustafson, vocals and piano

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Eric Kilburn at Wellspring Sound (www.wellspringsound.com)

Design by Elizabeth Tustian

Images under license from Shutterstock.com

Refrain image used by permission from Old South Church in Boston

Music: copyright © 2015, 2021 by Erik K. Gustafson
All rights reserved

A Place at the Table

Words: Shirley Erena Murray © 1998

by Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188

All rights reserved. Used by permission.

To obtain permission to use or copy this hymn text, please visit www.hopepublishing.com 

To obtain a .pdf copy of the hymn score, please contact [email protected]

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This hymn setting of “A Place at the Table” started with an appreciation of the text by Shirley Erena Murray. This appreciation has involved the nature of the words themselves, and it has extended to their affirmation of the dignity and worth of all people. First encountered in Hope Publishing Company’s hymnal, Worship & Rejoice (2001), the words have long resonated with me across different versions and configurations of the verses. For instance, it was not until I read about an “optional” verse in The Hymn: A Journal of Congregational Song, that I became aware of the text’s lifting up inclusion of and equality for LGBTQ+ people. In the present hymn setting (a revision of the music originally composed in 2015), this “optional” verse has received more priority and assurance of attention. Here, the verse with the beginning: “for gay and for straight,” has substituted for another verse initially seen: beginning with “for just and unjust,” and addressing the situation of abuse.

In the music of the present hymn setting, a positive message has been sought to emerge throughout – not only found in its version of text, but also with the melody and accompaniment composed and the resulting union of words and music. Not adhering to a traditional format, this hymn setting does not include consistent four-part harmony, and it does not involve consistent doubling of melody in the accompaniment. Where the refrain and its music do have a more pronounced sense of melody, it is meant to carry stronger reinforcement. While having more involved accompaniment overall than usually expected for hymns, this music can also encourage enthusiastic singing – whether as a liturgical hymn during worship or as a choral anthem in adaptation. With its emphatic conclusion, may the upbeat tone of the music emphasize the uplifting message of the words, for singers and listeners alike.

Copyright  by Erik K. Gustafson

 

All rights reserved

 

 

 

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His Eye Is On the Sparrow (2020)

Arrangement by Erik Gustafson

Tune: SPARROW, by Charles H. Gabriel (1905)

Performed by Erik Gustafson, piano

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Eric Kilburn at Wellspring Sound

Design by Elizabeth Tustian
Image used under license from Shutterstock.com

Copyright Ⓟ, © by Erik K. Gustafson
All rights reserved

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Of this arrangement, Erik Gustafson writes:

A perennial favorite hymn for many people and across different backgrounds, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” has become nearer and dearer to my heart in recent years. Before COVID-19, a friend of mine from church experienced the death of her husband, and she asked me to play some piano music for his memorial service. Deciding that a more elaborate version of “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” would be more appropriate to share for the occasion, I reworked and expanded upon the music I found given in The New Century Hymnal. For the memorial service, I had not the time to write out the arrangement fully; but I still provided a rendition of three verses. Eventually, the finalized arrangement would include a more up-tempo “second verse”; and in each realization of or version of arrangement for this hymn, the emphasis has been on the words of the refrain and their sense of joy and liberation found in connection with God and larger life: “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free.”

 

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His Eye Is on the Sparrow – abridged (2020)

Arrangement by Erik Gustafson

Tune: SPARROW, by Charles H. Gabriel (1905)

Performed by Erik Gustafson, piano

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Eric Kilburn at Wellspring Sound

Design by Elizabeth Tustian
Image used under license from Shutterstock.com

Copyright Ⓟ, © by Erik K. Gustafson
All rights reserved

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Of this arrangement, Erik Gustafson writes:

A perennial favorite hymn for many people and across different backgrounds, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” has become nearer and dearer to my heart in recent years. Before COVID-19, a friend of mine from church experienced the death of her husband, and she asked me to play some piano music for his memorial service. Deciding that a more elaborate version of “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” would be more appropriate to share for the occasion, I reworked and expanded upon the music I found given in The New Century Hymnal. For the memorial service, I had not the time to write out the arrangement fully; but I still provided a rendition of three verses. Eventually, the finalized arrangement would include a more up-tempo “second verse”; and in each realization of or version of arrangement for this hymn, the emphasis has been on the words of the refrain and their sense of joy and liberation found in connection with God and larger life: “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free.”

This abridged version omits the second and third renditions of the tune found in the full arrangement. This version was created around the same time as the fuller version of the arrangement; and, it was created mainly to suit playing a version of this hymn at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Tufts Medical Center — both of Boston — among other selections of similar length as background music.

 

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Sea-Fever (2014)

Words by John Masefield (1910 published version of poem, “Sea-Fever”)
Music by Erik Gustafson (2013 revision of original version from 2008)

Performed by Rob Woodin, baritone
and Erik Gustafson, piano

Image from painting by Ted Nystrom (2013)
Used by permission

Copyright Ⓟ, © by Erik K. Gustafson
All rights reserved

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Of this song setting, composer Erik Gustafson writes:

The poem: “Sea-Fever” by John Masefield, has resonated with me quite a lot over the course of many years. Known first to me through an other-worldly television series: the original Star Trek from the 1960s, the poem has hit much more closer to home. My first paid job – even as a preteen – was washing fileted fish and serving as dock boy for one of two fishing wharves (won’t say which one) in my local seaside neighborhood. The “call of the running tide” and “the gull’s way” had thus already become quite familiar to me from an early age.

My father had mentioned the same poem to me from his own high school studies of English poetry, and he later encouraged me to finish the song setting I had been working on for solo (male) voice and piano. While not literally commissioning my song setting of Masefield’s poem, my father often light-heartedly “prepaid” for my finishing compositions in general with giving me a bottle or two of French wine. Not that I needed prodding to write and finish this song and other works in general. Actually, in a labor of love, this song has been reworked and tweaked — and tweaked again — from about 2008 (the year of its first completion) until about 2013 (the year of the revision used for the present recording).

Great appreciation remains for the two singers involved in making the present recording possible: Harry Baechtel, former section leader of Festival Worship Choir, Old South Church in Boston and highly coloristic and expressive baritone, and then Rob Woodin, also former section leader of Old South Church in Boston and also gifted and beautiful baritone. Where Harry read through and rehearsed an initial draft or two of the music, Rob more extensively rehearsed a more refined version, eventually for recording and performance.

In addition, much gratitude continues to be extended to Ted Nystrom, professional painter and gracious artist. He painted the image used for this video presentation upon listening to the present recording of this song.

 

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Elina Rose (2013)

Composed, performed and recorded by  Erik Gustafson, piano

Image of inspiration for composition: photograph taken by Alvar W. Gustafson, paternal grandfather to composer

Same photo included as cover image for this YouTube video

Music finished in 2012 during residency at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), Amherst, Virginia 

Recording made at Old South Church in Boston

Copyright Ⓟ, © by Erik K. Gustafson
All rights reserved

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This is the Day! (2013)

Text: Psalm 118:24

Music: Erik K. Gustafson

Performed by Chancel Choir, Old South Church in Boston

Directed by Harry L. Huff, Minister of Music

Copyright Ⓟ, © by Erik K. Gustafson
All rights reserved

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This music for unaccompanied mixed choir began as a simple melody and as a kind of assignment. In October 2006, the composer participated as Fellow in a week-long workshop with Alice Parker in Hawley, Massachusetts; and, both prior to attendance at this workshop and in response to Alice’s request to have original melodic material for (favorite) scripture or short verses from the bible, the composer penned the tune that would later serve as the basis for the enclosed choral music. Six years later in 2012, the composer finished this music during a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) in Amherst, Virginia. The composer had worked on the writing of this music sporadically, and he gratefully had the opportunity to share this music at Old South Church in Boston shortly after its completion. The composer created the enclosed video in 2013, resulting from a collaboration with other congregant members of Old South Church: Nancy Richardson (photography) and Jim Hood (typography), as well as a related colleague: Patrick Keating (audio engineering). 

 

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