Philip Wesley | Comfort and Joy

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Holiday: Easy Listening New Age: Solo Instrumental Moods: Featuring Piano
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Comfort and Joy

by Philip Wesley

Soft and dreamy solo piano music for the holidays. Reminiscent of David Lanz, Jim Brickman, or George Winston.
Genre: Holiday: Easy Listening
Release Date: 

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1. Away in a Manger
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4:52 $0.99
2. Joy to the World
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4:56 $0.99
3. Angels We Have Heard on High
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5:23 $0.99
4. Silent Night
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5:13 $0.99
5. We Three Kings
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5:10 $0.99
6. O Christmas Tree
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4:16 $0.99
7. Carol of the Bells
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6:15 $0.99
8. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
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3:24 $0.99
9. Greensleeves/What Child is This?
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5:45 $0.99
10. Comfort and Joy
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3:45 $0.99
11. In the Eyes of a Child
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3:25 $0.99
12. Wishing for Home
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4:18 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
This is Philip's third CD, and some of his best work to date! This contemporary celebration of Christmas blends the timeless melodies of the holidays and Philip's signature piano style. This CD was named one of the best recordings of 2005 by Solo Piano Publications!

“For me, playing the piano is the most gratifying form of self expression. Where words fail there is music.”

The road to the piano for Philip Wesley has not been a straight path. You could say the piano actually found Philip Wesley. Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, Philip Wesley grew up in a middle class household heavily involved in sports both soccer and football. An avid fan of music during his youth, Philip surprisingly did not begin playing music until the age of 16 when he received his first guitar as a Christmas present. Enraptured by rock music, Philip dove headlong into independent study. He taught himself to read and write guitar tablature, then poured over guitar books, learned songs note for note, and perfected blistering guitar solos.

When Philip entered college a few years later, he decided to major in Music Therapy. During his studies of music and music theory, he was serendipitously introduced to the solo piano music of David Lanz and was instantly mesmerized by it. At the tender age of 20, Philip began his long relationship with the piano. Once again, Philip poured over music books, this time… the piano. “People hear that I didn’t start playing the piano until age 20 and they are almost always amazed. I tell people that it’s not too late to learn something new. When you have the drive, the passion, the dedication and the curiosity to learn something, new doors will open for you.”

Upon graduation from college, Philip worked as a board certified psychiatric music therapist for nearly 10 years. During that time he began writing his own soulful piano music, developing his musical voice, and subsequently releasing his albums. To date he has released 5 albums of solo piano music including…

'Hope Endures'

‘Dark Night of the Soul’

‘Comfort & Joy’

‘In a Lifetime’

‘Finding Solace’

“The piano continues to challenge and inspire me; I can play my whole life and still not master this magnificent beast. I’m not a virtuoso pianist by any stretch of the imagination, just an artist that takes great satisfaction in having a positive impact on people’s emotions.”

Philip Wesley’s music has been featured in radio, TV, and print, and has been nominated by various publications including ‘Wind and Wire’, ‘Solo Piano Publications’, and ‘Mainly Piano’ as some of ‘the best of’ solo piano albums.


Reviews


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Christopher H. Merrell

Simple, Beautiful, Relaxing
Mr. Wesley's holiday CD, Comfort and Joy, is truly a newly cherished addition to my holiday CD collection. This CD is a gentle blend of traditional holiday standards performed perfectly to set the tone for a relaxing winter's eve. Being a person who seeks out gentle, meditative musical taste - this CD is a perfect find. Thanks Mr. Wesley.

Mike Debbage

Philip Wesley’s album is a perfect antidote to bring you back to the true real
The true message of Christmas is celebrating and remembering the birth of Christ. Since then it has been somewhat commercialized yet even here the love of friends and family gathering together to exchange gifts still holds partly true to the spirit of the first Christmas. The season for the most part brings both comfort and joy thus the title of this album as well as the spirit in which the music was arranged manifests that spirit.

Wesley’s second album In A Lifetime included three cover tunes that ultimately weakened the album. The compliment is that they sounded out of place next to the strong self-composed material. Of course, releasing an all holiday affair gives the artist the liberty of producing an album of cover songs. This time Philip polarized the In A Lifetime concept and boldly added three original compositions to the time trusted traditional tunes. In this instance the blessed blend works seamlessly with outstanding results.

The album’s opener “Away In A Manger” is mixed effortlessly with the softness of “Brahms Lullaby”. Add the “Greensleeves/What Child Is This?” alongside the original composition “In The Eyes Of A Child” and the album focuses you back on the comfort of the Christ child willing to come down from the heavens to earth. Combined with the purity of “Silent Night” it will bring back memories of your childhood as your restless head finally drifted off to dreamland on Christmas Eve anticipating the big day ahead.

In contrast, there is the pure joy and bountiful message of celebration and love that is expressed in the more upbeat “Joy To The World”. Although a little more subdue there is the transcendent “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” that also effectively expresses the joyous spirit of Christmas. And to bring both aspects of comfort and joy there is the amalgamation of both spirits that live in the self-titled track that was previously featured on In A Lifetime.

Concluding with the brand new dreamy and exquisite composition “Wishing For Home”, you realize that from start to finish Wesley manages to harness the spirit of Christmas. In fact, even the artwork expresses this unity with a landscape of a simple but strong Christmas tree that stands alone in a field of virginal snow like a beacon of light to the world that surrounds it.

Wesley’s music is pure and simple that brings both comfort and joy to a season that is many times overwrought with commercialism. After a busy day of rushing around fulfilling our holiday duties, Philip Wesley’s album is a perfect antidote to bring you back to the true reality of Christmas; peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind.

Christine B

The CD was very soothing and peaceful.
When listening to Comfort and Joy I can feel the stress of the day slowly leave me. I enjoyed listening to the familiar Christmas tunes such as Joy to the Word where I could hear the familiar melodies but in a soothing setting. I can see playing this CD when I have friends and family over for Christmas. The music will provide a soft hint of Christmas without overpowering the conversations that will be flowing. Not to mention it would be a great CD to listen to after a busy day of Christmas Shopping.

Marie

One of the best holiday CD!!
Philip Wesley's solo piano compositions in his new holiday CD, Comfort and Joy, have such a soft and flowing feel to them. The artwork of the CD brings a magical holiday touch to it. The whole CD brings comfort and joy to anyone who listens to it. This is the best holiday CD I have heard and seen in an every long time!!

Timothy Bona

Taken Back
When I listened to Philip Wesley’s new CD Comfort and Joy I was sitting back on my couch relaxing. I found myself not falling asleep rather being taken back. Taken back to a time when family mattered most. Even though I was listening to the CD in the later days of October I found myself thinking about the time surrounding Christmas. Though I was not particularly filled with the Christmas spirit I did have that warm feelings that come from being with loving family and great friends. I would not consider Philip’s latest work so much a Christmas album but more of a collection of music that will take you back to a simpler time.

Carol Swanson

A timeless treasure that takes you to a place that is serenely sweet.
So simple, yet so profound. Philip Wesley's delicate Comfort and Joy is an elegant new age album of solo piano portraits. This music creates a beautiful backdrop for intimate get-togethers with family and friends this holiday season. If you enjoy the new age stylings of David Lanz, you will welcome Wesley's superb playing with open arms and a glad heart. Relax--Wesley has everything well under control.

Comfort and Joy has twelve tracks; the first nine are ancient traditional carols, and the last three are Wesley creations. With almost an hour of instrumental music, the twelve excellent arrangements are fully-developed and well-executed. Most cuts are four to six minutes in length, and the soaring music stays with you long after the notes fade.

The album opens in a hush with "Away in a Manger." The opening bars are incredibly fragile and soft, like the breath of an angel across your cheek. You can see the newborn babe blissfully sleeping in the manger. As the number progresses the tempo and volume accelerate, and the experience becomes more intense and joyful. Wesley paints each piece with gentle rapture; the creative arrangements are multi-layered and exquisite. Although the soul of each familiar number remains recognizable as Wesley's hands run the keyboard, his treatment breathes vibrant new life into pieces like "Joy to the World," "Silent Night," and (my personal favorite & the longest track) "Carol of the Bells." Ahh. . . just lovely!

Wesley's own three numbers fit naturally with the traditional fare; each conveys the intended sentiment, especially the melancholy yearning underlying "Wishing for Home," the album's close.

Philip Wesley's Comfort and Joy is a timeless, new age treasure and a definite stress-buster. This outstanding album will protect you from the crasser aspects of the holiday season, taking you to a place that is serenely sweet.

--Carol Swanson

REVIEWS NEW AGE

Un bello y entrañable toque personal!.
Comfort And Joy es el tercer álbum de solos de piano de Philip Wesley. Una oda a la Navidad en la que Philip recoge diez de los más populares villancicos y tres composiciones propias. Como en álbumes anteriores, este trabajo se caracteriza por poseer dulces melodías aptas para ser escuchadas en fechas tan señaladas. Es agradable escuchar álbumes navideños, pues algunos autores dan un toque muy personal a cada pieza, creando en ellas hermosas melodías.
"Away in a Manger", es el primer track del álbum; un sensible villancico tradicional al que Philip ha sabido dar un excelente sentimiento. Perfecto para un arrullo, perfecto para descansar. Sin abusar de acordes rápidos, Philip dibuja una melodía tierna. Bellísima pieza!.
"Joy to the World" comienza con un repique de acordes con la mano derecha mientras la mano izquierda marca los acordes más bajos, dando paso a una melodía rápida y alegre que llena de optimismo.
"Angels We Have Heard on High", tradicional de Francia, esta pieza es lenta y melódica, donde la mano derecha repite asiduamente el popular himno y la mano izquierda marca reiterativa los acordes de acompañamiento.
"Silent Night" es quizás, uno de los temas navideños que más versiones se han hecho, pero en este caso, Philip ha conseguido darle un toque personal, un toque delicado. Con una gran sensibilidad, Philip reproduce con sutileza la melodía. Hermosa pieza!.
"We Three Kings" comienza con un tono misterioso, y con un ritmo emocionante Philip va dando cuerpo a esta pieza original del siglo XIX. Con maestría, Philip acompaña la melodía con un vaivén de progresiones.
"O Christmas Tree" es una pieza lenta y sencilla; Philip dibuja la hermosa melodía mientras su mano izquierda marca con delicadeza loas acordes de acompañamiento. Esto es un claro ejemplo de que, en ocasiones, lo simple puede llegar a ser muy hermoso. Bello!.
"Carol of the Bells" es el track más extenso del álbum, más de seis minutos. Comienza con el rasgueo de acordes para culminar con el ritmo rápido y profundo, típico de esta pieza. Philip consigue darle un toque personal y emocionante. Sublime!.
"Hark the Herald Angels Sing", comienza con un ir y venir de notas bajas hasta llegar a la zona alta del teclado y viceversa. La melodía es serena y relajante. Una delicia!.
"Greensleeves/What Child Is This?" es un "medley", en el que Philip ha conseguido unir ambas piezas con maestría, pues es difícil saber donde comienza una pieza y acaba otra. Philip ya incluyó "Greensleeves" en su anterior álbum "In A Lifetime". "What Child Is This?" comienza con un toque continuado de notas en un acorde, mientras la mano derecha reproduce la enérgica melodía.
"Comfort and Joy" es la pieza que da nombre al álbum y que anteriormente Philip incluyó en su segundo álbum, un tema sin pausas para el oído, con toque alegre y nostálgico. Donde la mano derecha dibuja una melodía no muy rápida pero hermosa y dulce, sin sobresaltos. Dulce!.
"In the Eyes of a Child" fue incluida en su segundo álbum "In A Lifetime"; una pieza que desde su principio a su fin, cuenta una historia, un juego visto desde los ojos de un niño. La melodía reproduce los pegadizos cánticos típicos en juegos de niños. Pura inocencia!.
"Wishing for Home" es el último track del álbum y la única nueva composición de Philip para este trabajo. Con un comienzo muy parecido a "Carol of the Bells" y un toque de misterio, la melodía es triste y melancólica.

Comfort And Joy está pensado para ser escuchado en esas señaladas fechas al calor de la familia. Un álbum muy recomendable para Navidad!.

reviewsnewage.com
31/3/10

Kathy Parsons

Wonderful Christmas Piano Solos!
“Comfort and Joy” is a soothing and graceful collection of twelve traditional and three original Christmas songs arranged for solo piano by St. Louis pianist/composer Philip Wesley. Wesley idolizes David Lanz, and his influence is strongly felt on many of the tracks. A professional musical therapist in a hospital setting, Wesley knows firsthand the healing power of music and taps into that power to great effect on this CD. More reflective than celebratory, “Comfort and Joy” conveys more of a quiet peacefulness than a party spirit, similar to David Lanz’s “Christmas Eve” (1994). Wesley is faithful to the melodies, but adds personal interpretations and improvisations that make the music fresh and interesting (not an easy thing to do for the ears of a full-time piano teacher and reviewer who listens to a LOT of Christmas music every year!).

The CD opens with a sweet medley of “Brahms’ Lullaby” and “Away in a Manger.” The melodies of both songs are interwoven with original passages, making this an unusual arrangement that works beautifully. “Joy to the World” opens with a passage from David Lanz’s arrangement from his “Christmas Eve” album and alternates with a more flowing, dreamy improvisation. Lanz’s theme has a lot of energy and enthusiasm, so the combination is very interesting. “Silent Night” has a gentle peacefulness that is both graceful and delicate - I love this arrangement! I also really like “We Three Kings,” which is a piece that can adapt to a wide variety of treatments. This one has a flowing rubato feeling - the melody is there, but the rhythm is a little different, making the song feel new. “O Christmas Tree” has one of the simplest melodies of the traditional Christmas songs, but Wesley has fleshed it out a bit and added some new touches that give it a gentle flow that is both reflective and reverent. “Carol of the Bells” is probably my favorite Christmas song, and it can also handle a wide variety of musical styles. This one is a bit different in that it is very quiet and pensive with lots of open spaces. It does pick up the pace somewhat in places, but maintains a graceful dignity throughout - a beautiful arrangement! “Greensleeves/What Child Is This?” first appeared on Wesley’s album “In a Lifetime,” but this is a new recording of the piece. On the earlier album, I didn’t like that the piece turned into an energetic gallop with a big glissando. The gallop and glissando are still there on this recording, but are a bit more restrained and in keeping with the original song itself. I like this version much better. Two of the original pieces, the title track and “In the Eyes of a Child” were also on “In a Lifetime,” and are beautiful to hear again. “Wishing For Home” was composed for this album, and is a nostalgic, bittersweet piece that is deeply personal and emotional, as well a poignant reminder that the holidays aren’t the happiest of times for a lot of people.

“Comfort and Joy” is a wonderful Christmas album that will be welcomed year after year. Recommended!