Last year around this time, my oldest son Joel released his fourth album, and his first Christmas album, “Midwinter Carols”. A beautiful collection ancient carols set to instrumental piano, it is a marvelous and mysterious journey, a perfect introduction to the advent season. Joel is once again giving away two of his albums, and I asked if he could give us an update of what he is up to since last year:
Last November, you told us about your work in film music in Los Angeles. What are you up to lately?
It’s been a busy and exciting year. At this point last fall, I was gearing up to write the score for Nathan’s movie, “Confessions of a Prodigal Son”. I was able to finish the music this spring, and there are exciting developments happening with the movie all the time, some of which we hope to talk about soon! Suffice to say that we are all very proud of this film and we can’t wait to show it to the world.
I have also continued working as an orchestrator with my good friend Joseph Julian Gonzalez, a marvelous composer for film, TV, and concert music. We have worked on many different projects along the way, including everything from short films to feature-length documentaries for TV.
One project in particular has been especially exciting for both Joseph and me. Over the past year, I have been re-orchestrating a concert piece Joseph wrote 23 years ago, entitled “Misa Azteca”. It is a beautiful and profoundly spiritual orchestral setting of the mass, which also incorporates elements of Mexican history and culture. It has been performed over the years at Carnegie Hall in New York, Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Sorbonne in Paris, Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and many other exciting venues. I finished my work on the piece a few weeks ago, and at the end of October, it was performed at a Vatican-sponsored sacred music festival, at the Basilica of St. Ignatius in Rome. It was a thrilling end to an exciting, year-long process, and I am so gratified that Joseph allowed me to partake in such a wonderful story of art, faith and culture.
Tell us more about your album “Midwinter Carols”. What inspired you to write it?
I’ve always wanted to write an Christmas-themed album, and many, many people have asked me to do it along the way. At the same time, I wanted it to be unique and express my own musical understanding of the advent season. Last year things finally lined up for me to be able to venture forth on writing such a project.
“Midwinter Carols” is a collection of eight ancient carols from all over Europe—England, France, Germany—as well as two original piano interludes. These carols from a very different age reflect a people who held in their hearts a hope for the light of Christ’s coming while wandering through dark, cold winter months. Unlike us moderns, medieval society had no electric light or heat to mitigate against the short daylight hours and the long, cold darkness of night during bitter european winters. That physical reality allowed medieval writers to see the correlation with their own spiritual darkness, into which the light of Christ shines so brightly. Consequently, the carols of that time bear a great depth of hope and anticipation for the coming of “the light that shines in the darkness”.
It is my hope that in addition to enjoying my album, people many of you will be inspired to listen to the original carols that I have adapted, and fall in love with them the same way that I did.
Music has always played such an integral part of our lives as Clarksons. What advice can you give parents who want to inspire their children to love music?
One of the prime ways that children learn anything is through imitation. If they have a model to imitate, they will follow that model closely. If you want your children to love music, then YOU must love music. It must become a part of your heart, your rhythms. If you want your children to develop an appetite for a wide variety of musical styles, then you must also learn to listen and appreciate those styles as well. It is similar to discipleship; if you love God with all your heart and follow after Him, that will be the best way for your children to know how to love God as well. That model trickles down into every part of education, and music can be such a transformative part of all of our lives!
Where can someone get your album?
You can purchase the mp3 album directly from CD baby by clicking here, or you can alternatively purchase it anywhere else music is sold online.
As an extra surprise:
Last week before I left home, I received a surprise package in the mail! The most beautiful advent book. Truly--it is a work of art. I love Ann, her heart, her desire to walk with God, her heart for her family. And I love the way she has written and illustrated this book. I know you will absolutely want to buy one for your family and use it for advent this year, too. As an extra gift, to the winner, I would love to give away one of Ann Voscamp's new book to one of you with Joel's album. A very happy Christmas surprise to prepare your heart with music and with His word!
PS For those of you wonderful friends who have asked me how to be a part of this book launch, please just go to facebook and in the search engine for facebook, write Own Your Life Launch Team and go there. Ask to become a member and you will begin receiving news about the book and our launch coming up. I really appreciate your dedication to helping me get some of these messages into more women's lives.
Hope you are the one who wins! :)