Condensed and added to 10/7/10
I think your pieces are very well written. Some composers spoil their pieces by making them so complicated that they cannot handle them. Yours were simple enough, I might include some of them in my repertoire, no-one must have ever heard them around here.
Hi, I've finally got around to play your pieces. I tried out Deep River Crossing pieces and I have to say that I've heard much worse on cds ! Jollygood. When I play them I get this flowing and floating-like feeling, maybe Iuse too much pedal ? They sound like you should use a lot of pedal, anyway.
Hi, ....I tried out Golden Clouds today and decided to email you about it right away. It sounds just like golden clouds! But also, it sounds .... like something's missing. Wouldn't it be nice to have a little bird flying around and chirping ? Just singing out a nice melody maybe ? I mean, at the first time it started to sound like an accompaniment so I had to use my imagination to fill up the scenery. I did that in my mind but maybe it wouldn't be too hard to think of a solo line there ? Well I'm not sure if that's a good idea... the piece itself is pretty good and it sounds like what the name is.
Your music is readable enough and enjoyable, too, if you're in the right mood.Yes, there is a mood of its own for your music. The new pieces are more than "filler" to add to the oldies....they are charming and unlike a lot of New Age, actually "say" something.
I don't have any suggestions about this piece, I just wanted to tell you how I'd much rather hear (Early Morning) when I wake up in the morning than the monotonous noise my alarm clock makes. It's like a prelude for the day. I wonder if the name of that piece made me think of these things ? Maybe it was the music itself, though.
I got the music!!! Thank you so much! I was so glad this morning when I received the music. I tried out immediately on my piano and I love it! It was really inspiring playing your music. It has some elements there which somehow makes one thinks positively towards life. While playing some of your other songs, scenes of beautiful scenaries just kept appearing on my mind. I quite like several pieces from the Deep River Crossing. The Quite Pond and Smithwood Church are few of my favourites. Where did you get all your inspiration from? (Note from Leslie: I think of music as starting somewhere beyond anything we can touch, then it floats around unwritten and unheard in the physical world of nature, and breaks upon us as a mysterious gift. I think the living are in great debt to the energy, dedication and commitment of other composers in history. What we compose and play is not of ourselves alone but of our own deepest links with God, nature, and the human past, and takes final shape under the influence of the physical properties of the Piano. As mere parts of the whole, our task is to keep excessive self-consiousness out of the way as we write down or perform what these forces together have formed as it crystallizes through us out into the world.)
I saw and downloaded some of your newly posted files last evening. The process was very smooth: Adobe Acrobat was automatically launched with the first download; all subsequent files appeared quickly and printed extremely well...Thanks. Haven't had much time to study your scores but what I did get to play was very nice. I especially enjoyed "Evening With The Comet."
I downloaded your free piece but was only partially finished printing when my connection got broken and then I needed to find you again later.....and I noticed you didn't have your name on the music! So I had some trouble finding you again, but after another search I did find your site. You should have your name on the music...you are very talented. (Note from Leslie: I have added my name and I got around to labelling page numbers on later pieces after this. I hope people will put numbers on the older pieces themselves if they are likely to scramble the sheets. I want people to play, critique, and use them freely but I just ask that the source be acknowledged.)
I have been coming to your site for a couple of months and really look forward to the free pieces, so I want to (get others). All my non-pianist friends like to hear them, too. (Note from Leslie: This is from another continent I will probably never visit. The Internet gets a lot of criticism, but it can be such a wonder...my hope is that musicians will explore its full potential to bind us closer and to help the world of music flourish).
Hi, I've been playing this piece, Islands, and it's very good ! You've got some interesting harmonies throughout the piece. I wonder if you could changethe key two measures earlier on the third page ? It seems to change two measures before you actually change it. One of the last notes on the fourth page is c-natural, is that what it's supposed to be ? It surprised me but maybe it was meant to ? (Note from Leslie: You're probably right on the key change, which I made. But I didn't see the other thing on re-playing it, so I guess that is what my brain meant to do.)
I've enjoyed playing your "Sometimes I Feel"; - You did a very nice job with that melody. Do you have any other arrangements of folk tunes? (Note from Leslie: Not precisely yet. But try "Imaginary Tale," which has some qualities like that. There may be others in the future. Also "Lead Kindly Light" is a well-known hymn that has been arranged by many other people. My version was adapted straight from the hymnal, not from another arranagement.)
Hi. First off, I wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your music. When you compose do you have in mind already the tonal direction that you want your pieces to go? Or do you write down whatever comes out? Many of the shifts are very surprising, which captures interests. Have you studied 20th century composition? (Note from Leslie: I don't really know good way to answer first question, as I think of the music in the middle part of the process as not coming out of me, but rather as sort of growing out of itself, and I try to let it evolve on its own and not get in its way, while I "receive" it and stay open to "hearing" and noting down the ramifications it reveals to me. I would express it as staying sensitive to the potentials just ahead from the parts that have already materialized. There are probably "forks" that can form within a stream in many directions. Then after a impulse has run its course, I massage, prune and refine it more consciously. The "germ seeds" that start the stream are more difficult to explain, but either come from dreams or improvisations stimulated by historic music, that take off in a different direction. I also save little random bursts in a "scrap pile" and later realize that they fit into each other. I don't know what really trained and talented composers feel like or do. But for me it all happens with paper in front and keyboard below. I'm not like people who carry long passages in their memories. If I don't write it down, it's gone.)
Last question: Just to encourage others, my piano background has all been private instruction, with life training in something else entirely -landscape architecture and urban planning. I have great awe of people who have delved deeply into music theory, and I speculate that they must have secret knowledge and I must be severely limited in some ways that are probably very obvious in their eyes because I only know the rudiments. My alternative source of help is just being an avid sight-reader and music collector, and having very wide-ranging listening tastes.
I did take a look and your site as I was waiting for my printer to spit out all this music, and I was very impressed. I want to return and take a closer look at some of the old stuff (Balfe) and especially at your own original compositions. It's a fascinating site and I wish you well with it.
Hello Yesterday I downloaded Quiet Pond. This is the first time I have used the net to obtain music. This piece is a joy to play it reaches something inside. Today I am trying to find more of your compositions...
We've played some of your pretty compositions tonight, and found them to be quite lovely and very soothing...my soulmate particularly likes "Sunflowers, Last Leaves of Autumn, and Millstream ...from the Finger Lakes
I just discovered your web site this week-end and it is wonderful!! It is just a treasure chest for a pianist! Thank you so much for you hard work and generosity in posting your music on the internet for other people to enjoy. I printed several selections of your compositions and have been thrilled with each one. I esp. enjoyed Quiet Pond. It made a quiet, meditative prelude for church this morning. Texas
I just wanted to thank you for your web site and your music. I am a mom of 5 and in the evenings when it is finally all quiet I like to surf the web and try new music. Your site with the wonderful pictures and music brought so much peace to my evening. I can't wait to try more pieces.
I'm deeply curious. While idly searching the web for any references to my grandfather, Gregory Kannerstein, I came upon the sheet music for one of his pieces at your site*. (I'll assume that there couldn't have been *two* Gregory Kannersteins writing music.)
While there have been occasional rumors that someone in my family has some sheet music somewhere in a box in an attic, this is the first that I have seen. I'm wondering if you remember how you came upon this, and if you are aware of any more of his work that survives.
Sadly, my own piano skills are such that I can't begin to play it, but with luck one of my neighbors will be able to.
Hoping to hear from you,...
*"Night's Magic Spell"
Sadly, Leslie had to answer this one
that the piece
was in an old anthology album of mixed composers and it was all I had
I've found the time to download a few of your original compositions and I especially enjoyed "Evening with the comet,"and "Daydream Prelude." The melody to "Evening with the comet" is absolutely enchanting and I recently found myself spiffing it up slightly (just to make it a little more advanced) to perform it in public. I was recently hired to perform at a university's open house to do background music, and it got an excellent amount of attention. Many people actually inquired about the song so I sent them to your wonderful site and gave you the honor you deserve. Hell, Chopin's Polonaise Militaire did not even get that much attention!! Also, I would like to thank you for keeping the music free, and allowing others the privilege to access it.Anyway, I have been composing since I was 11 years old and your site has finally motivated me enough to get off my but and start doing something with it. So I decided that I want to start a site just like yours where people can access my music for free.
(Note from Leslie: I've had several similar promises and hope all the intentions get fulfilled. Sometimes it's not so much that what you do is really all that magnificent, as that it plays a small role in uplifting and stimulating someone else, maybe someone watching what you do, of whom you are not even aware, someone else who will go much farther.)
I've been meaning to put together some comments for you for some time. I intend to cover quite a few things; so if you are pressed for time please put this aside until you are able to get to it.
First, a performance report! I bet all composers like to hear when and where their pieces were performed. Some time ago our neighbor Jim and his wife Pat had a large buffet dinner party. There were about 30 people there. I didn't even know Jim had a piano. It wasn't too badly out of tune considering how long it had been since he did have it tuned. Somehow the subject of pianos came up and the next thing I knew I was giving a small concert. Jim (being a devout Christian as was all his relatives there) wanted to know if I could play Handel's Messiah. I didn't have that in my repetoire - but I did have a nice version of Bach's Jesu. I also played Chopin Op 28 C major prelude, waltze in E. Mendelssohn's Prelude in e minor. A couple of Bach Inventions. From the pop world I played a glitzy version of Autumn Leaves. Then at the end of the program - I gave them a mystery. The last pieces I would play were by three different people - and they had three things in common. I won't keep you in suspense: the three things in common were 1) all written very recently 2) all by Americans 3 ) all by women. Actually I should have said 4 things because I got all the pieces off the Internet. I did talk about that later. I played "Through the Looking Glass" by Lorie Line. A piece by Lindy Kerby (she writes choral and other works which she dedicates to the Morman church, but I think her piano pieces epitomize "new age"). And lastly I played Heart Shaped Box and Hidden Moon. At the start of the program I announced I would be covering almost 300 years of keyboard music - but the one thing they all had in common is that I liked them!
Now, why is it I like your music? That's a hard question. I have been involved with music my whole life, with piano training starting at age 5. I grew up with Bach and Mozart and Beethoven and Chopin. Probably the standard "classical" repetoire. My memories of my early piano training are still fresh in my mind. In fact, I can remember my first lesson. Sitting in front of 88 "friends". I can remember being told to sit in front of the letter I in KIMBALL on my mom's upright. Learning the C major scale. That each note was "different" like faces on my friends at school. As I found out later I had perfect pitch - I could name any note played on the piano. Back then I was told only 1 in 1000 had perfect pitch. I've heard current research shows that early exposure to music training is also a determing factor who has perfect pitch. But I knew what I liked back then. Schuman's Happy Farmer was a treat. Bach's Anna Magdelena's notebook works all made sense to me. Anything by Mozart.
So there was a certain comfort level I came to expect from pieces that I liked. Which brings me to your music. I find that same "comfort level" in a lot of what you have made available. It's as if I know the piece even before I have practised it. And of course I know exactly how I want to interprete it. That's not to say that's what you intended. But the fact you have left off tempo directions and such is not such a hinderance. Bach never left a tempo direction on anything he ever wrote. In fact, many of your names you have given your pieces describes the character of the piece far better than any tempi direction. "Hymn of the Oak" far better desribes that piece than "Largetto esprievo". Quiet Pond, August Lullaby, Whatever May Come, Realm of Misplaced Things are a few more examples of this. Evening with the Comet is a first class piece whose title I don't understand, but the lack of understanding is entirely mine. And the same is true when a piece of yours goes in a direction I don't understand. That sometimes happens to me on something Bach wrote. So, I wouldn't criticise anything Bach wrote, likewise with anything of yours.
Which brings me to another reason I find your music so appealing. The key in which a piece is written helps the overall character or mood of the piece. That is why I brought up the fact I have perfect pitch. Sometimes I'll come across a new piece, find that I like it, and then see it is written in the perfect key. Your music has many, many examples of pieces written in the perfect key. Smithwood Church comes to mind. Written in the key of F is perfect. In my minds eye I see an old wooden church. F is a woody key. I know this might all sound like nonsense. Using words to describe the characters of the different key signitures is inadequate But I know Beethoven used to sit around coffee houses and talk about the same subject: how key signitures can affect the mood of a work. Maybe that's why he used c# minor so often. A verly exotic key. Another example of your work written in a perfect key is "Heart Shaped Box". D major is perfect. E major would be too "bright" - too much. E flat - no, F major - too dull.
(Note from Leslie: This last person is both sensitive and generous. I don't have perfect pitch, but indeed Smithwood where I played for 5 years was an old wooden church that got a partial brick veneer at some point during its history...In fact, I left this church one night and turned down a dark gravel road to face the famous comet of the piece mentioned directly in the view of my front windshield! I had heard some news predictions of its arrival but never expected to see it like that, and my husband insisted on several more "country outings" that summer week, just to get a mind full of images of it before it disappeared).
Of course Bach is a god, as is Mozart and Beethoven. But one does not live by these "meat and potatoes" alone and I have a hard time understanding the appeal of some well-knowns of the 20th century. I've tried. That's when I discovered New Age (Could Debussy be the first of the New Agers?) I found a book of music published in 1990 called Quiet Moments very interesting. The composer pushes my dissonance limits but doesn't go over the line (my line).Another book that I didn't like was by __ ___. I've heard some CD's by him that I like but not this particular book of music. I don't even want it for sight reading practice. Which brings us to your music. I like the simplicity, the serenity and the charm. Yesterday morning I played Heart Shaped Box and for the entire day the theme ran around in my head. I've shard this music with my mom (who was a music major and concert violinist as well as pinaist). She picked out many of your pieces for her library. Then for the next couple of days I heard your music coming from next door where my Dad and Mom live. I've given two concerts so far. My next concert is scheduled in November and I will lighten my repertoire up to include some popular numbers (like Autumn Leaves) and some of your Music, and tell how I discovered it on the internet. Thanks and Best Wishes.
(Note from Leslie: This writer is coming close to the reason I struggle to save lighter late romantic music and why I think New Age exists. As he does, I challenge myself in the "higher realms" and believe in the discipline of tackling the "greats," even if one never attains the recording or competition level....because the ouput of the masters expands our awareness of our heritage and confers ever-improving skills. After you have chewed on a Debussy, you can sense as soon as you back down a few levels that you will find sight-reading and playing everything else beneath him goes much more easily. I think this intermediate realm is also something we should prize and enjoy for its own accessibility to listeners, and as another reward of lessons and practice. It's like the difference between high cuisine and home-made comfort food. You can't consume the difficult dishes in quantity enough to fill all your needs, which is a perspective that helps in many issues of life. I especially want players to know that even if they feel they can't conquer a Chopin Ballade, they can still find beautiful things to play. I'm afraid lack of exposre to the wealth of literature has led some to get discouraged right at the stage where they could manage the level of what I showcase, but because of not knowing abou it, when life presents other demands, they just give up on piano!)
I have looked forward to re-visiting your site all week long, I don't spend much time on the computer during the week because I'm so exhausted from my much-hated job! So this Sunday visit has been like a balm to my shredded spirit. I polish these lovely piano pieces, enjoy them thoroughly, and then, of course, yearn for more. Thank goodness for music composers, life would be awfully bleak without them. Do you find yourself reflecting upon just what turned you to the path of musical composition? Did you play for a long time and then compose, or did you always write music? I have received so much spiritual comfort from music, including 3 pieces from you - Taken, Hymn of the Oak, and The Other Side of Loss. You seem to have known of my feelings before I ever experienced them, and for that I give you my thankful gratitude.
I must confess that I'm struggling with Last Leaves of Autumn. It is quite beautifully melancholy. I found Flowers in the Garden to be quite enchanting, the forget-me-nots section sounded like those charming flowers! And your Lonely Sparrow is so very like what I would imagine a sparrow's thoughts and conversation to be. The 3-note clusters sound just like a birdsong.
I wanted to ask you what your inspiration was for your song, Hymn of the Oak. No, I haven't mastered it yet! However, I feel almost reverential while I play it, like a pagan worshipping in a grove of sacred trees. It just fits the title perfectly. I don't know if that's what you intended, but it has that effect on me. (Note from Leslie: Actually that was somewhat inspired by a storm event that caused a huge tree to come down that used to shelter part of a greenway trail I love to use for walking. I have a version using digital instruments that I put together with a British photographer's photo series of a dead tree still standing in a park, that was selected as the final piece shown at the Indiana U. school of music Fall recital of grad student work in 2007. Maybe I should link it on the creekmusic site again).
I have 1 last question about your music. I found Campus Owls to be quite spooky, did you write it in a kind of haunted frame of mind?! I really like it, by the way. (Note from Leslie: I heard real owl sounds one time above me when I was at the Chapel Hill - U. of North Carolina campus near sunset while walking across one of the big green areas between buildings. I used to go there to explore the archived sheet music in their music building library. I believe I got a starting impulse for the piece within a few days. by changing a old title I don't recall now from major to minor scale, and then continuing on by improvising.)
These are amazing. I can hear echoes of Chopin and Appalachia somehow blended in them. (My violinist brother's comments. Thanks, Carl.)
(about Found on my Walks)
Bark Textures is quite thoughtful, it matches the theme you wrote about, the inner core of the tree that no one sees until it is no longer an actual tree. AND, you didn't change keys on me! Dark Currents flows just like the stream it depicts, I love the pictures and the nostalgic way the music conveys a time when streams and bridges and waterlife weren't sacrificed to expediency. I can't decide whether I like it better than Letter From Carra or not. I imagine that you have thought about what Carra is like many times, your piano tribute to her would make her feel much honored, I think.
Now I come to Poetic Stones, this piece was quite a challenge for me! I am still struggling with remembering that G is usually a flat, but the tune is quite ancient. I think that is what I loved about the accompanying pictures. Everything looked as though it had been there for a very long time. I think that this piece will reward my attempts to master all of those flats! For my final choice, at least for now, I went with Surface Imprints, which may be my favorite of all, although its too soon to know which will be the one I return to again and again. Thinking about the patterns of the leaves, and how much I love trees, might have influenced my feelings.
I appreciate your website and thanks for your musical work. It is a blessing. Jesus put it on my heart to recapture my piano skills. Your site looks like the best place to start. If I can sneak some time tonight after work and church I'll give it a go. (Note from Leslie: I answered this writer to not be discouraged. I had a huge "lapse" from playing for a number of years in my own life - but the ability to play is worth the effort of reviving it, no matter what stage you were diverted from it.)
(about Found on my Walks) Hello my friend,
Your piece "Missing Pieces", and the background explanation for it, is quite lovely. You see the world in such a beautiful way, and have the talent to match your vision with such soul-stirring music.
In a similar vein, your "Poetic Stones" has proven to be quite intriguing, and I loved the pictures of the stone thrones and mysterious steps.
I have found these compositions of much help to me, as I am struggling to find, and keep, something that is beautiful and magical.
hey leslie. i just wanna thank you for your website. it's so wonderful, providing just the type of pieces i would like. and your works are really really fantastic. i'll be visiting your website now and then for more musics. i'm really really glad i found your page. Thanks sosososo much for it.:)
(About Jobe's Farm)
Oh, Leslie, I am moved---just spellbound---by the lovely work you did with the photography and the music! The way you captured the beauty that we have enjoyed around here for years shows deep insight, and a great deal of creative talent! You can understand why we have loved this land. I'm SO GLAD that Mom and Dad gave you the "go-ahead" to take photos around our farm, because there are some REAL treasures here; things that we may, sadly, have taken for granted sometimes. I am just blown away by the stream in the winter time, the butterflies and bees and flowers and the changing from winter into spring! Oh, this is certainly something I will treasure, and I may see if I can also send to Bob. Your quiet sensitivity has allowed you to see the beauty in objects that many people just take for granted, or completely ignore. THAT, Leslie, is a Gift! I am so grateful that you shared this with me! (Note from Leslie: This is especially comforting to me, as it was written by a daughter of the owner who passed away in 2009. She had come from out of state to do renovations and possibly parcel off his house and a small surrounding area when I met her for the first time and told her about the multimedia files. She sent these comments after seeing them, 6 years after I made the originals).
I have been working on some of your pieces, some very early ones.
"Keys of Pearl" is one of them. Let me tell you, its been a difficult row to hoe! Lots of sweeping arpeggios, very gorgeous, but its hard to keep the notes flowing evenly. I'm determined to master it, however. What a wonderful tribute to your grandmother.
Another is "Rekindled Melody", which I've really enjoyed. Very lyrical, although a little bit of trouble with the sharps.
What can I say about "Tribute", except aaaagh, but the work is well worth it! Its just so beautiful, an over-used adjective, but I can't think of a better word for this piece.
"Lingering Love" is just as the title would indicate, sweetly sentimental and poetic. I really enjoy playing this one, not such a struggle. Its the kind of piano music I love. Even the five flats didn't disconcert me as much as I thought that they would. (Loved the lefthand additions on page 4.)
I printed one more, "Lost Sounds", but I haven't yet had a chance to really work with it. I just wanted to talk to you for a minute, because I feel honored by your online friendship, and hope to see some of the beautiful places you have so effectively shown to me, thru music and pictures.
Hello, I love your songs. I've been looking for music with that kind
of emotion for a long time. Reminds me of when I first discovered
Chopin. I look forward to playing piano again. Wish you well with your
health and may you continue writing wonderful music.