"a catchy, can't-quite-put-your-finger-on-it style...uniquely appealing. His energetic arrangements...share the positivism of many new age recordings, and the CD, taken as a whole, plays out as thoughtful but optimistic...He is able to make his production work, primarily because the carols hang together so well (almost as it were a really, really long medley of popular carols)...If you enjoy listening to contemporary piano stylists, you will enjoy Michael Barden's Glory to the Newborn King."
From Kathy Parsons at www.solopianopublications.com:
"Barden has a big, full sound, but this album isn't about showmanship. It is the sound of an accomplished musician who is passionate about his material. The arrangements are quite original and different, so this is a very nice album if you want to hear a new (but not overly radical) take on some old favorites...All [of the tracks] are very well-done and enjoyable."
These reviews can be read in their entirety below...
Michael Barden is a pianist from central Wisconsin, who performs regularly throughout the state as a solo artist, and also with a number of groups, including Uptown (also on CD Baby).
"Glory to the Newborn King" is essentially a re-release of Michael's 1994 cassette of the same name. It is a collection of solo piano arrangements of eleven classic Christmas carols. The overall mood of this CD is introspective and relaxing; it's a good one if you're ever trying to just sit back and "wind down" during the chaotic rush of the holiday season.
For the original cassette recording, all the songs were performed on a Yamaha Disklavier, which is a modern-day "player piano" that can record, store, & replay piano performances using a computer interface. So in 1994, the songs were played, recorded, and released as the original "Glory to the Newborn King" cassette. A year or two later, those original performances were edited to clean up some mistakes; then, in summer 2002, they were re-recorded, using a Disklavier piano at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The recordings were then brought into Michael's studio, where the sound was produced for a bigger, clearer sound quality, and where the song order was also adjusted for a better flow, thus creating this 2002 CD release.
The final track on the CD comes from a live jazz trio performance at a hotel in Wisconsin Rapids, WI, on December 2001. The trio consisted of Michael on piano, Simon Weller on saxophone, and Larry Shneider on bass. Simon's friend, Paul Garber, happened to bring out some new recording equipment that evening to try out. The result of this impromptu recording session is a bonus track: "I'll Be Home For Christmas."
Mike's other two recordings, "REST" and "Groovy Church Tunes", are also available on CD Baby.