Jeff Bjorck | This I Know: Ageless Hymns of Faith

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This I Know: Ageless Hymns of Faith

by Jeff Bjorck

Bjorck's fourth solo piano release features his fresh, sensitive, and evocative arrangements of fifteen timeless sacred melodies, providing the listener with almost 75 minutes of spiritual and emotional retreat.
Genre: New Age: Solo Instrumental
Release Date: 

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1. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
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5:06 $0.99
2. 'tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
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4:45 $0.99
3. Day By Day
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6:23 $0.99
4. Fairest Lord Jesus
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4:54 $0.99
5. Holy, Holy, Holy
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6:54 $0.99
6. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
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5:01 $0.99
7. It Is Well With My Soul
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4:43 $0.99
8. Jerusalem
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5:16 $0.99
9. O, The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus
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4:42 $0.99
10. Give to the Wind Thy Fears
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4:54 $0.99
11. Be Still My Soul
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7:16 $0.99
12. All Creatures of Our God and King
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5:13 $0.99
13. Be Thou My Vision
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4:10 $0.99
14. Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling
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3:36 $0.99
15. Jesus Loves Me
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1:22 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Jeff Bjorck grew up with the grand old hymns. They rang out from the record player and radio at home, and he sang them every week in church. His deep love for these classic melodies has inspired his fourth Pure Piano CD, This I Know: Ageless Hymns of Faith. With nine new hymn arrangements and six returning favorites, this CD features almost 75 minutes of Bjorck’s interpretations of the music that helped to shape his faith in Christ. He states, “Each of these pieces is a personal favorite, anchored in rich history, relevant for today, and pointing me to a ‘hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29:11).”

The six tracks previously released on earlier CDs were recorded between 1995 and 2005, as were “Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus,” “It Is Well With My Soul,” and “Jesus Loves Me.” The remaining six new pieces were recorded in 2007.

This I Know provides more of Jeff’s signature quiet music to calm the heart in a noisy world. A number of the arrangements can also be enjoyed with the volume turned up—way up—reflecting their heritage as rousing anthems. While developing these pieces, Jeff became aware of musical influences planted during his childhood that reemerged as he played. “Our church pianist was a student of Rudy Atwood, renowned accompanist for Charles E. Fuller’s Old Fashioned Revival Hour radio broadcast. Mr. Atwood even came and played at our church once when I was a boy. As I composed these hymns, I was surprised to hear hints of his style in my own playing. It is no small coincidence that I would grow up to become a professor at the seminary founded by Charles Fuller. That’s quite an interesting full circle!” Fittingly, this CD is being released in the very same year that Fuller Seminary celebrates its 60th birthday.

Although Jeff acknowledges the influence of old-time religion, the arrangements on This I Know represent a fresh approach to these classic hymns. In fact, some hymn lovers may be challenged to recognize all fifteen pieces in their current forms, each of which present variations of the original themes. Bjorck insists, however, that “While I play these arrangements, I hear the old hymns clearly…at least in my head!”

Whereas most hymns are typically associated with the authors who penned their lyrics, the composers of the melodies are generally less well known. With this in mind, Jeff views this CD as a tribute, first and foremost, to the composers. “Although I know at least some lyrics to all of these hymns, it is their melodies that are indelibly carved in my consciousness. I would not be surprised if the same were true for many listeners!”


Reviews


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Jean Kindstedt

What a Blessing
I was not familiar with Jeff's music, and was introduced to it on Mike's Funnies. I love the new praise music, but really love the old hymns. His way of playing them, brought back so many memories connected with so many of them, and they seemed to come to life. One in particular was very special. Last December we lost my mother in law in her battle with Alzheimer's. One of the songs I always associated with her and remember her singing was Day by Day. When I heard Jeff play it, it brought tears to my eyes as I thought of mom and how that was her favorite Swedish hymn, (my in-laws are all Swedish) and the example she was of God's love. Thank you Jeff for your music, for sharing your gift and for bringing back some special memories of a woman who loved her God, and knew who she was. May God Bless your gift as you share with others. I know it is a CD that will be played often. Thank you.
JEK

REVIEWS NEW AGE

Simplemente delicado, simplemente asombroso!.
This I Know es el cuarto trabajo del polifacético pianista Jeff Bjorck. Un trabajo que recoge quince himnos tradicionales, seis de ellos inéditos. Melodías con las que Jeff ha convivido desde su infancia y a las que ha aportado un nuevo enfoque. Variando las melodías y desviándolas levemente de su estilo clásico ha conseguido acercar estos himnos al oyente, con el objetivo de calmar su corazón y trasladarle desde este frenético mundo a uno, donde la palabra "Paz" hace honor a su nombre.
"Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" es la cálida adaptación que Jeff hace del popular himno escrito en su día por el pastor Robert Robinson. La popular melodía es reproducida por una alegre mano derecha. Una pieza más enérgica que el himno original, con un toque de frescura que llena de paz y bienestar el corazón del oyente. Conmovedora pieza!.

"'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" es un himno dotado de una gran hermosura, dulce, delicado. Un alternado toque de notas por la mano izquierda es el sutil y perfecto acompañamiento para la mano derecha. Son momentos de sosiego, un melodía que invita a la evasión; cerrar los ojos, respirar profundo y dibujar una leve sonrisa. Bellísima pieza!.

"Day By Day" pertenece a su anterior álbum Impressions In Black And Whites, una pieza que invade de buenos recuerdos al artista, además de ser el himno preferido de los padres de este. "Day By Day" es un tema acogedor, amable, donde ambas manos dan vida a un emocionante melodía, capaz de parar el tiempo y conseguir que el oyente disfrute de unos valiosos minutos de tranquilidad. Emocionante!.

"Fairest Lord Jesus" es uno de los primeros himnos aprendidos por Jeff en su infancia. Un marcado golpe de acordes como introducción y una grácil melodía reproducida por notas altas, van abriendo paso a una pieza que fluye lenta; progresiones de acordes tocados por la izquierda y notas altas tocadas por la diestra dan vida a uno de los temas más tiernos y hermosos.

"Holy, Holy, Holy" es un himno que ya se publicó en su anterior álbum Pure Piano Panoramas, este es un de los himno más importantes en la vida de Jeff, pues fue utilizado para el día de su boda. De tono tranquilo, esta pieza sumerge al oyente en su mundo ideal, un mundo donde sólo existe la paz y la calma. El fluir lento de la melodía y los descansos, tan importantes como la propia melodía, le aportan una sensibilidad única a este himno. Pura delicadeza!.

Un vaivén de notas en acordes bajos son la introducción de "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross", una bella y esperanzadora pieza. Los acordes bien marcados por la mano derecha y el continuo vaivén de acordes reproducidos por la izquierda, crean un momento de plena quietud, hasta que una melodía poderosa y enérgica en su cenit llama la atención del oyente, un momento emocionante en el que es fácil imaginar el instante de resurrección; una solitaria cruz permanece vacía en la cima de un monte.

"It Is Well With My Soul" es un himno muy popular, del que se han hecho innumerables adaptaciones, en este caso, este himno es parsimonioso. Una melodía entrecortada y simple reproducida por la mano derecha y por marcados acordes tocados por la izquierda, dan vida a una melancólica pieza; hasta que un arpegio rápido de acordes en la zona baja del piano que acompañan a la popular melodía, le aportan fuerza y una gran alegría al tema. Una pieza emocionante!.

Una de las piezas más poderosas de este álbum lleva como título "Jerusalem". Un track ya utilizado en un álbum anterior del artista, en Pure Piano Portraits. "Jerusalem" es un himno muy conocido gracias a la película "Carros de Fuego", donde una fuerte melodía a la que da vida la mano derecha y a la que acompaña un arpegio de acordes, crean una fascinante e interesante pieza. Una de las favoritas de Jeff.

"O, The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus". Un vaivén de acordes reproducidos por la mano izquierda y una ágil mano derecha crean un lamento o una plegaria dirigida a lo más alto del cielo. Una pieza que en algunos instantes, resulta ser hipnotizadora y que, en ocasiones, se muestra triste. Un tema que sumerge al oyente en sus más profundos pensamientos, una pieza idónea para momentos de reflexión. Un himno que se incluye en uno de los anteriores álbumes de Jeff, concretamente en Pure Piano Panoramas.

"Give To The Wind Thy Fears" es un himno lleno de optimismo. Una bella y enérgica melodía a la que da vida la mano derecha y que invita al oyente a lanzar sus miedos al aire y seguir hacia adelante. Una pieza maravillosa, con un inmenso valor sentimental para Jeff. Un himno que aporta confianza al oyente. Pura energía!.

"Be Still My Soul" es la pieza más extensa del álbum, más de siete minutos; un conocido himno al que Jeff le da una sensibilidad única creando un una melodía entrecortada, donde las manos del artistas fluyen con calma sobre el piano, sintiendo cada nota, cada acorde. Pura delicadeza!.

"All Creatures Of Our God And King" es un himno compuesto en el siglo XIII por San Francisco de Asís, titulado originalmente "Canticle of the Sun". Esta pieza posee una pegadiza y hermosa melodía que Jeff ha variado originalmente, aportándole un toque personal, y como consecuencia, dotándola de una gran sensibilidad y belleza. Asombrosa!.

El himno preferido de Jeff es "Be Thou My Vision", una animosa y rítmica pieza; un grácil ritmo marcado por las notas rápidas de la mano derecha y por las progresiones de la mano izquierda. Un himno alegre y esperanzador que muestra al oyente una visión distinta, una visión única y pura, la de Dios. Risueña pieza!.

"Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling" es un delicado y apacible himno; un dulce sueño que ha cobrado vida en las manos de Jeff. La melodía dibuja un momento tierno, un susurro de voces en un momento de quietud, un dialogo en el que se distinguen las palabras Amor, Paz y Fe. Las manos de Jeff caminan por el teclado con delicadeza dando vida a esta linda pieza.

"Jesus Love Me" es la pieza que inspiró el título de este trabajo "Jesús Me Ama", al que Jeff responde: "Eso Lo Sé" o lo que es lo mismo "This I Know". Una delicada adaptación, donde el sentimiento que Jeff esgrime para dar vida al popular himno, dan fe de la importancia que este da al significado del título del track. Una pieza perfecta como colofón de este maravilloso trabajo.

This I Know es, hasta la fecha, el mejor álbum de himnos populares revisados en Reviews New Age. Jeff se deja el alma en cada una de las quince interpretaciones que componen este álbum, y eso se puede apreciar en cada nota y en cada acorde, tocados con una delicadeza sorprendente. Un álbum dirigido a todas aquellas personas que no encuentran el momento para calmar sus fatigados corazones en este trastornado mundo. Un álbum altamente recomendado.
reviewsnewage.com
05/05/10

Kathy Parsons

Inspiring Piano Solos!
“This I Know: Ageless Hymns of Faith” is the fourth in Jeff Bjorck’s “Pure Piano” solo piano series. The first three albums begin and end with favorite hymns, and this one does, too, but on this one, all fifteen tracks are Bjorck’s arrangements of hymns that have been and are important in his life. A clinical psychologist, researcher, and professor at Fuller Seminary’s Graduate School of Psychology (Pasadena, CA), in addition to being a composer/arranger/pianist and avid humanitarian and hang-glider, Dr. Bjorck brings a wealth of experience and emotional depth to these timeless classics, making them his own and presenting them as deeply personal expressions of his faith. The excellent liner notes put into words what each of these hymns means to Bjorck and why he chose them for this collection, giving insight into the origins of the music and revealing much about Bjorck himself. The fifteen hymns include the six from Bjorck’s previous releases, three that were recorded between 1995 and 2005, and six new recordings that were done in 2007. There are a lot of collections of favorite hymns out there, but very few reach this level of personal expression, artistry, and passion. It is very obvious that Bjorck has lived with this music for most of his life and that his interpretations of the songs come from his soul as well as his heart.

All of the selections on “This I Know” are an inspiration, but I’ll mention a few of my favorites. “’Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus” is a beautiful arrangement that clearly expresses the peace of “letting go” and trusting completely. The simple melody is accompanied by a flowing left hand that is occasionally punctuated by deep bass notes. “Fairest Lord Jesus” was one of the first hymns Bjorck learned as a young child, and his arrangement reflects a childlike innocence and unwavering faith. “Holy, Holy, Holy” was the hymn Bjorck and his wife chose for their wedding processional - obviously a very important song for them. This arrangement has a quiet peacefulness that is intended to be meditative and calming. “Jerusalem” appeared on Bjorck’s first album, and was a favorite of mine then. I had the privilege and pleasure of proofreading Bjorck’s sheet music of this piece recently, and just love this arrangement. “O, The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus” is my favorite track. The haunting melody and rolling left hand accompaniment are both passionate and compelling. I also really like “Be Still My Soul.” Beginning very simply in the treble with the melody only, the emotional depth of this piece is amazing. The piece fills out as it progresses, but Bjorck keeps it uncluttered and direct, a song from the heart. Bjorck concludes this collection with a sweet and gentle version of “Jesus Loves Me,” a perfect ending.

“This I Know” is a wonderful recording for anyone who loves the classic hymns, but will also be a joy for anyone who loves deeply-felt piano solos. A rich and satisfying experience awaits the listener. Sure to be a favorite for 2007! Very highly recommended!

RKHIII

Great performance...great production !!
I found out about this CD in one of the recording forums on the web. I'd never heard of Jeff but feel fortunate to have happened upon his music. After listening to several soundbytes of this disc that were posted on the gearslutz forum, I knew immediately it was something I wanted to add to my collection. The songs on the disc are billed as a collection of hymns, though many won't be recognized as such due to Jeff's creative interpretations. The production, engineering and recording of this CD will blow you away...it's as if you're sitting in the room with Jeff as he plays. The only thing that overshadows what producer Bill Pearson did in the studio with the knobs is what Jeff Bjorck did in the studio on the piano. This is just a great collection of soothing solo piano music played by a very talented musician and captured by a top notch producer. And it keeps my blood pressure down while sitting in traffic in Atlanta! Truly the best $15 bucks I've spent in awhile.

Garden State Critic

This Evocative, Timeless Album Takes You Places
I've listened to Jeff Bjorck's latest instrumental piano album, "This I Know: Ancient Hymns of Faith," several times over the last month or so. While this veteran artist's lovely renditions of classics such as "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" haven't yet failed to set a mellow, meditative mood, this collection of 15 tracks (nearly 75 minutes total) somehow turned even more poignant and alive during a recent Sunday afternoon car trip through central Connecticut.

Passing through the snow-covered New England landscape as the sun shined upon huddled neighborhoods, gray smoke exiting chimneys and tall church steeples casting long shadows across bare trees, Bjorck's music was akin to a time machine. I found the emotion of his playing (and even more crucially, the very rustic, timeless quality of his tone and composition) filled my mind with images of the countless people who've worshiped to these hymns over the centuries. Passing by Thomaston I wondered what it might have sounded like inside the town's Covenant Church during its first Sunday service in 1890 as the founding congregants heard the opening strains of "Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling"---then only a decade old. Bjorck's melodies come about as close as you can to answering such questions.

Given this album's considerable evocative qualities, the highlights are unsurprisingly numerous: There's the incredibly gentle interpretation of "Fairest Lord Jesus" in which Bjorck easily drifts in and out of the familiar melody, offering pleasant flourishes and a beautiful high-to-low cascading coda; Bjorck deftly captures the hard emotions of "It Is Well with My Soul" (the lyrics of which were penned by Horatio Spafford in 1873 after he lost his four daughters in a shipwreck), beginning the tune quietly with single, reverberating notes before the melody builds and Bjorck plays the Yamaha C7 grand with greater and greater strength, and then returning to a thoughtful, meditative place as it closes---a well-done musical reflection of the wavelike feelings that so often follow tragedy; perhaps my favorite track is "'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus," as Bjorck finds a wonderful dissonant note in his introductory phrasing that immediately invites me into the sweetness of the hymn; the fitting end to "This I Know" is a lullaby-like, upper-note version of "Jesus Loves Me"---and while not an ancient hymn, it smartly sums up the music and deep theology of the hymns Bjorck interprets here (and don't forget its memorable lyric takes its place in the title of this album).

Other pluses that must be mentioned include the artwork---especially the graphics on the disc itself (created originally by Bjorck's late father) and the very apropos stained-glass window depiction on the cover---and the detailed liner notes that not only introduce listeners to the history of these hymns, but also help us get to know the composer and his faith that gave wings to this project in the first place.

"This I Know: Ancient Hymns of Faith" is indeed timeless---but don't let that fact dissuade you from immediately letting it enrich your present reality.