Julie Rivers

 

"One Starry Night" CD MP3 Tracks - Romantic piano music of the night with lush orchestrations

Starry nights are magical. We all have memories of nights when the Universe seemed to be cooperating with all of our dreams. The Vincent Van Gogh painting on the album cover portrays such a night. Van Gogh wrote about this scene:"...a night sky with a crescent moon emerging from the shadows: stars of exaggerated brilliance in an ultramarine sky across which are hurrying and swirling almost invisible clouds."

The pieces on this album take you through the hours and moods of one starry night to the dawn of the next day. Meridian Crossing, Sunflower Fields, Aphrodite, Star Pool, Astrid’s Song, Wishing, Midnight Blue, Walk With the Moon, Senorita de la Noche Estrellada, Falling, Soul Thoughts, Spheres and Seraphs, How the Sun Rose. Thank you for allowing me to share some of my dreams with you through my music! -- Julie Rivers

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"The Kiss of the Sun" CD MP3 Tracks - Romantic music of the day

Celebrate the passion of the day with The Kiss of the Sun, and the rousing Celtic sounds of River Run, the dazzle of Daystar, the peace and serenity of I’ll Give Myself to the Wind. Also included: The Last Rose, How Sweet is the Meadow, Sad Birds, Midsummer Day, Heartbeats, How Many Angels, When the Sun Goes Down, and Mountain Stars.

From a review about the world premier of The Kiss of the Sun: "The Kiss of the Sun" lived up to all its promises on Valentine's Eve as Julie Rivers and Friends treated patrons to a uniquely romantic "tour de force" presentation of her newest recording. Created by Rivers and staged with the expert help of an impressive assembly of artisans, her sensory appeal was complete through the careful choreography of instruments, voices, video images and movement. Applause to the artists and crafts people who created this one-of-a-kind presentation!"

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"As Far As the Heart Can See" CD MP3 Tracks - Inspired by the beauty of the tallgrass prairies

I love the land! When I am away from the city, I can think, dream and see further and clearer than ever…with my heart. The music on this album was inspired by those feelings.  Summer Skies reflect boundless blue above, and in the distance brilliant white thunderheads, coursing across the Western sky. The Kanza Suite includes Sweet Prairie Morning inspired by the intoxicating smell of prairie grasses on the warm breeze of a dewy Kansas morning. In Cradle Song, night sounds blend with a lullaby under the stars on the plains. The winds of the prairie blow wild and free calling me to ride with them in Ride the Wild Wind. A beautiful Butterfly, gently rests on a wildflower nestled in tall prairie grasses. Song Without Words is influenced by the music of Romantic composers, whose compositions I love to play. In Spirit Rain, a gentle Autumn rain cools the summer-parched plains. The Green Fields of Home depicts the beauty and nostalgia of the rolling Kansas Flint Hills. Festival celebrates the wheat harvest and the blazing sun on golden fields of wheat.  In Canto d’Amore, an immigrant to the heartland reflects on loves and lands left behind. Prayer at Twilight and The Water is Wide, round out the album, with my son performing the violin part in this gorgeous version of The Water is Wide.                   

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"Christmastide" CD MP3 Tracks - Pulls celestial beauty down to Earth

I think of Christmas as being a beautiful, blessed and magical time of year, as most people do .  I wanted to create an album that included some of the beautiful music that we don't hear as much, as well as some of our old favorite carols.  With the help of some good and talented friends, I think we did. You never hear some of the Spanish carols, like Song of the Wise Men,  or In Bethlehem's Cradle, but they are so beautiful and perfect for Peter Larsen to play on guitar, along with the piano arrangement.

Since I am Swedish (my Dad was born in Motala, Sweden), I wanted to include two of my favorite Swedish carols, too. They are When Christmas Morn is Dawning and Christmas is Here, Again.  I was happy my son, a composer/conductor/violinist could join me on an arrangement of the Bach-Gounod  Ave Maria.  That was the most special performance for me. With it's grand orchestrations, God Gave Us Life, a song by Randy Wills that I arranged for piano, is probably the most imposing arrangement on the album.

An extraordinarily special number on the album is Baby Jesus, Sleeping Softly, which was written by my son when he was a little boy. It always moves me with its simplicity and the childhood innocence with which it was created. Seeing him , now, as a mature conductor and violinist, I know that his musical sensitivity was always there, and he expressed it so beautifully in this piece. The rest of the album has familiar carols, like I Wonder as I Wander; Fum, Fum, Fum; Away in a Manger; The Coventry Carol; The Wassail Song; The Holly and the Ivy; Deck the Halls".....and more!

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"James and Julie Rivers, Duo pianists" CD - Five foremost twentieth century duo piano favorites

This collection of favorite twentieth century duo-piano works from their live performances celebrates the fortieth year of James and  Julie Rivers.

This collection of favorite twentieth century duo-piano works from their live performances celebrates the fortieth year of James and  Julie Rivers’This collection of favorite twentieth century duo-piano works from their live performances celebrates the fortieth year of James and  Julie Rivers’ professional collaboration. They met as piano students of Stefan Bardas at the University of North Texas where their earliest concerts were given. Associated with three touring programs over the years (Texas, Kansas and the Mid-America Arts Alliance) they played dozens of concerts each year from the Oregon Bach Festival to the Texas Round Top Festival with countless appearances in smaller communities and major cities across the United States. They have performed major duo piano concerti (Mozart, Poulenc and Bartok) with symphonies in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Texas and Missouri, including the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.

The performances on this album are live and unedited. They were retrieved from in-hall tape recordings of live concerts for capacity crowds attending Topeka Chamber Music Series concerts between April 1978 and November 1983, some of our most active concertizing years. During our collaboration, we played for audiences, not recording studio microphones. We recently decided to document those years with a compilation of music from the concerts most memorable to us. We hope this memento will be accepted by listeners in the joyful spirit in which the performances were offered and received at the time of these recordings.   — James and Julie Rivers

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