The featured keyboard artist from Mannheim Steamroller scores again with this stunning new recording of his original keyboard works. Jackson Berkey’s colorfully descriptive piano music from Cape May, New Jersey continues on this pristinely recorded CD from SDG Records®.
"Atlantic Fantasy" and its companion pieces, "Cape May Solitudes", were written between 1999 and 2003 during Jackson’s writing sabbaticals at “Colvmns By The Sea”, a former B&B in Cape May, New Jersey. This SDG CD, along with its correlated publications from SDG Press®, brings new major works to the piano repertoire of the 21st Century.
Jackson Berkey’s performances reveal a mature artist and composer, often in a very contemplative, reflective mood. The title work, "Atlantic Fantasy", is comprised of six sections, seamlessly connected in a 20-minute, masterful display of pianism. The composer’s collection of reminiscences, "Cape May Solitudes", provides deep reflections on those parts of our lives no longer with us. People, places, and pets are brought to life through music combined with the natural sounds of the Atlantic ocean, winter winds, seagulls, and the return of the L’Ultima Amor chimes from the composer-pianist’s earlier CD, "Cape May Preludes".
QUOTES & REVIEWS
"At the present we have a total of 11 SDG CDs in our library. The Jackson Berkey ATLANTIC FANTASY is an excellent addition. All of the compositions are quite modern in their mood, but very easy on the ear. I know our radio audience will enjoy listening to these selections. I am listening to S.S. Atlantus as I write you this. Thank You."
John Ray Jordan, KEDM 90.3 FM Public Radio, Classical Music Announcer
"Jackson's new release is really inspired! Never have I been moved to tears when listening to music, I'm a big guy - that just doesn't happen. but this new album is wonderful."
Dan Stratton, Illustration
Written between 1999 and 2003, these piano compositions were inspired during my writing sabbaticals at Cape May, New Jersey. This CD and its corresponding SDG Press® publication brings to the piano repertoire of the 21st Century an extended keyboard work similar to the Piano Fantasy of Aaron Copland. Although my "Atlantic Fantasy" is more programmatic than Copland’s work, it is similarly written for the mature pianist –– a musician with a clear understanding of structure, balance, and proportion in the performance of a large-scale work.
The highly varied sections of "Atlantic Fantasy" are connected seamlessly, producing a 20-minute solo piano work. Unlike my "Cape May Preludes", there are no audible seagulls, ocean waves, or wind chimes. As the Fantasy unfolds, all is left to the imagination of the performer and listener.
My piano collection, "Cape May Solitudes", provides deep reflections on those parts of our lives no longer with us, be they people, places, or pets. Here in my performances the ocean becomes audible, as do the cold Atlantic winter winds, wind chimes, gulls, and the return of my "L’Ultima Amor" chimes from "Cape May Preludes".
One of the Solitudes, "Fire and Snow", is a fond farewell to the memory of my January Cape May retreat, “Colvmns By The Sea”. While still easily recognized on the outside, the “Colvmns” inside is now five beautiful condominiums. Many aspects of the century-old, private house-turned-bed & breakfast have been retained, including the beautiful three-story, wood staircase just inside the front entrance. Also still in use is the roof deck which, from its vantage point, provides stunning panoramas of the ever-changing sunrises and sunsets on the Atlantic coast.
JACKSON BERKEY • COMPOSER / PIANIST
Jackson Berkey’s artistry encompasses that of an acclaimed pianist, an inventive and highly creative composer, a meticulous producer and recording artist. His range of accomplishments in music combine with a depth of talent that is formidable indeed. His New York Town Hall Debut in 1969 launched a remarkable and highly varied career.
First known as touring pianist for the Norman Luboff Choir, Jackson has recorded and toured as “Featured Keyboard Artist” with Chip Davis and Mannheim Steamroller for the past 30 years. With his advanced degree in performance from New York’s Juilliard School, Berkey’s musical foundation lies in the classical, sacred, and chamber genre.
His earlier American Gramaphone releases “Sunken Cathedral”, “Ballade”, and 109 featured compelling performances of classical piano works by Scriabin, Beethoven, Debussy, Rachmaninoff and Persichetti. That pursuit now continues with performances of works by Scarlatti, Debussy, Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt. American Gramaphone’s “Holiday Musik” series offers Berkey’s performances of Harpsichord works by Domenico Scarlatti and J. S. Bach.
On SDG Records®, Jackson’s solo CD, “Facets”, includes stunning performances of many “signature” works throughout his career, including classical pieces by Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Sibelius, Beethoven, Chopin, and Fauré. On that label the artist has also released “The Mountains and The Sea”, “Berkey Meets Horowitz on the 503”, “Cape May Preludes”, “Harpsichord Carols”, and in 2004, “Atlantic Fantasy”. All CDs offer performances of original solo keyboard and instrumental works from his published catalog.
An accomplished composer, Jackson Berkey’s publications include music for solo voice, solo instruments, chamber ensemble, orchestra, symphonic band, and choir. His “Chamber Concerto for Organ, Winds, Percussion, and Strings” and his “Conversations for Harp and Chamber Orchestra” were both premièred in 2004. From solo musicians to full orchestra and multiple choirs, Berkey’s compositions create excitement through brilliant rhythmic patterns, metric modulations, and intense dance rhythms. His sensitivity to text and to both joyous and tender melodies give pleasure to every performer, including those oft-neglected players of the inner lines in ensemble music. Every musical force interacts with its musical partners, whether they be solo or duet melodies or a percussion ensemble with organ. His writing reveals careful attention to structure, form, and performance success; even with difficult-to-balance entities such as harp and orchestra. Highly evident in his intelligent and expressive solo piano works is Berkey’s unique ability to shape phrases and draw extraordinary color from the instrument.
Jackson and his wife Almeda - herself a distinguished conductor, singer, and librettist - have documented their work with SDG Records®, which also records the professional choir, Soli Deo Gloria Cantorum. Almeda conducts pristine performances of many of Jackson’s compositions, as well as beautiful music from all periods of classical music and folk music. A beautiful sampling of Luboff choral arrangements is showcased on their nostalgic “Norman Luboff Remembered”. Six other Cantorum CDs include Berkey compositions among other classical works. Also recording two CDs of Jackson’s treble choral music on SDG Records® is the internationally recognized Seattle Girls’ Choir conducted by Dr. Jerome Wright.
An ASCAP award-winning composer, Jackson’s catalog of over 300 works is enjoying hundreds of fine performances across the United States and abroad. Recent honors include First Prize in the New Music for Young Ensembles Composition Contest in New York City for his Piano “Trio Kassarjian”; the Alienor Harpsichord Festival at Hilton Head, S.C; and the Nebraska Individual Artist Fellowship for Performing Arts, Distinguished Achievement in Composition Award. Jackson Berkey appeared on the artist roster of Baldwin Piano and Organ Company for more than two decades. Performances of several of Jackson’s longer works have been conducted by Almeda in New York’s Carnegie Hall. She also conducted the world première of his “L’Ultima Amor” for triple women’s choirs, commissioned for the 400 voices of the AmericaFest 2001 International Women’s Choir Festival. Some works have been set to film and to dance, such as “ Arma Lucis”, performed at Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
About SDG Records® and SDG Press®
Soli Deo Gloria - "To God, alone, the glory."
J.S. Bach used this phrase as a signature at the end of many of his works. One sees it over doorways and music instruments in Europe. SDG Press® was founded in 1985 to publish the compositions and arrangements of Jackson Berkey.
For many years, both Almeda and Jackson toured and performed with Norman Luboff, the extraordinary choral performer, composer, and publisher. It was at Norman's suggestion that the Berkeys formed "Soli Deo Gloria Cantorum" which Almeda conducts. SDG Records® was first established as the record label for the Cantorum.
Jackson Berkey also has many works published by Walton Music Corporation, Norman Luboff's highly regarded publishing company. Berkey's entire published catalog may be viewed at www.berkey.com. Click "Official Website" above.