A collection of successfully arranged religious piano music that could have featured a little less blood.

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SACRED MUSIC

PIANO STUDY SERIES, VOL. 1

A debut collection of spiritual piano music for children.

McGee, a composer and pianist, shares the purpose of this book of hymns and African-American spirituals in a short introduction: “I pray for a release of God’s love through these songs for the children, the teachers who teach these songs to their students, to the parents of the children, and to all who hear these sacred songs.” Her message is clear in her choice of songs that she arranged for this collection, all written by other musicians, such as “Count Your Blessings” by Edwin O. Excell with lyrics by Johnson Oatman Jr. (“When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings name them one by one”) and “Lord I’m Coming Home” by William J. Kirkpatrick (“I’ve wandered far away from God. Now I’m coming home”). The book, aimed at 5- to 8-year-old students, includes simple pieces, played one hand at a time, with mostly fixed hand placement and at least one fingering indicator per measure. In addition, there are no large leaps between keys, and most intervals are either steps or skips. In McGee’s arrangement of the Christmas carol “Angels We Have Heard on High,” for instance, she deftly moves a G up an octave to accommodate the fixed hand position. She also gives helpful instruction in her “Teachers Notes” at the book’s beginning. McGee’s talent shines through in her easy arrangements of traditional hymns, such as “I’ve Got Peace like a River,” in which the entire song is played between the same six notes on the treble clef. Unfortunately, the lyrics to many songs here, such as “There is a Fountain” by William Cowper (“There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains”) and “Nothing but the Blood” by Robert Lowry (“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus….Oh precious is the flow that makes me white as snow”) feature imagery that may be too scary for children.

A collection of successfully arranged religious piano music that could have featured a little less blood.

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4908-4704-7

Page Count: 62

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2018

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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