Tag Archives: music

Merel and Tony Live at Discovery Green

merel_and_tony

Merel (standing, far left) and Tony (sitting, far right)

On Saturday, Cathy and I took Eliot to Discovery Green in downtown, Houston, where we saw the musical duo Merel and Tony perform live (with their band “The Woe Woe Woes”). They have a fresh, unique sound, and I highly recommend checking them out:

Merel and Tony’s Facebook Page

A Song by Merel and Tony

I met Tony about a year ago through a mutual friend who kept telling me random facts about him. “Did you know that Tony writes music for This American Life?” he asked me. And on another occasion, “Tony writes books, binds them himself, and sells them at private readings.” It didn’t take long for me to start calling Tony “the most interesting man in the world.” And so it was a treat to finally get to hear him in concert.

The weather was beautiful, and we thoroughly enjoyed relaxing in the park over a cup of lemonade, listening to the music, and watching as the sun set behind the band. After a few songs, Eliot said to us as he looked longingly at the stage, “I want to sing.”

“What do you want to sing?” we asked.

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” he replied.

While the musicians were taking a break, he approached the stage to ask them if they would let him sing, but he turned shy at the last second and posed for a photograph instead:

eliot-with-m-and-t

Join me on Twitter: @OlenRambow

Your Dream Lives On

I’m proud to share “Your Dream Lives On,” a new song that I recently completed. You can watch the music video on YouTube (below) or buy the mp3 here.

If you like it, please support my creative endeavors by purchasing the mp3 (It’s only one dollar!):

olenrambow.bandcamp.com

If you want the sheet music, click here to download it.

And here are the lyrics:

She was just a little girl,
Dreamin’ bigger than she knew she should.
She’d seen how cold the world could be
And had in mind to change it if she could.

She said, “I’m gonna sing the song that will save the world.
I’m gonna speak the words that will heal our souls.
I’m gonna light the fire that will burn away the darkness.
I’m gonna lead the march that will make us whole.”

Well, life made her a widow
With a baby boy to bring up on her own.
And she spent all of her energy
Providing for that boy till he left home.

And all too soon, the years had slipped away,
And she lay dying in her bed.
As the tears were streaming down her cheeks,
She looked me in the eye, and then she said:

“I searched so hard but never found
Those healing words. I never sang that song.
I never lit that fire, never led the march,
And now my dream is gone.”

And I told her, “Mama, your dream will never die.
I watched you live your life. You made me who I am.
I heard you sing your song and saw you lead the march.
You lit the fire inside of me, and so your dream lives on.”

“And now I’m gonna sing the song that will save the world.
I’m gonna speak the words that will heal our souls.
I’m gonna light the fire that will burn away the darkness.
I’m gonna lead the march that will make us whole.”

Well, that was forty years ago,
And now it’s time for me to go as well.
As the tears come streaming down my cheeks,
I take my daughter’s hand, and then I say:

“I searched so hard but never found
Those healing words. I never sang that song.
I never lit that fire, never led the march,
And now the dream is gone.”

And she says, “Daddy, your dream will never die.
I watched you live your life. You made me who I am.
I heard you sing your song and saw you lead the march.
You lit the fire inside of me, and so your dream lives on.”

“And now, I’m gonna sing the song that will save the world.
I’m gonna speak the words that will heal our souls.
I’m gonna light the fire that will burn away the darkness.
I’m gonna lead the march that will make us whole.”

“I’m gonna sing the song that will save the world.
I’m gonna speak the words that will heal our souls.
I’m gonna light the fire that will burn away the darkness.
I’m gonna lead the march that will make us whole.”

‘Cause she was just a little girl,
Dreaming bigger than she knew she should.

A Jazzy Happy Birthday

HappyBirthday1stLine

Click to download the score.

I wrote a jazzy little arrangement of “Happy Birthday” for piano a while back, and my mother recently transcribed it for me. Here’s the score, and here’s a recording of me playing it as a coda after a more traditional rendition. (The jazzy part comes after the “and many more” line, about 20 seconds into the recording.) Note that it’s in 4/4 time.

No Height, No Depth — An Original Praise Song

Emerging from the tomb (inside view).

Click to hear the song on YouTube.

A few years ago, I wrote a very nice praise song (if I do say so myself), titled “No Height, No Depth.” It creates a rather neat bridge between the idea that we cannot escape from God’s penetrating understanding of our hearts (a terrifying prospect), as described in Psalm 139, and the promise that nothing can separate us from God’s love (a comforting thought), as stated in Romans 8:38-39.

I finally got around to creating a lead sheet for the song, and I’d like to share it here. Feel free to use it and distribute it as much as you like. Click on the image below to download it in PDF form:

Click to download the lead sheet for the song.

Click to download the lead sheet for the song.

Click here (or on the picture at the top of this post) to see the music “video.” Just make sure you stick around long enough to hear the chorus! (It starts at about 1:05.) That’s the exciting part. (Actually, the part leading up to the chorus, around 0:55, is pretty cool too.)

I would be just tickled pink of someone else were to actually record this song, because I really think it has a lot of potential. As always, if you do so and post it on YouTube (and send me a link), I promise to send you a lollipop with my initials engraved on it.

Here are the lyrics in full:

No Height, No Depth

by Olen Rambow

You have searched me and you know me—when I sit and when I rise.
You discern my coming and going; you are familiar with my ways.
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You alone truly know my heart.
Where can I go from your spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
Wherever I am, Lord, you are there.

No height, no depth, can separate me from your love, O Lord;
And neither life nor death can overcome the work of Christ in me.

Righteous king of all creation—God of glory, Lord on high,
You are blameless, pure, and holy; saints before you prostrate lie.
Who can enter into your presence?
With you, Lord, no wicked man can dwell.
I stand before your throne of judgment,
Deserving your wrath and condemnation.
I’m desperate for hope. Lord, make a way!

Now comes Christ, my intercessor. He has heard my anguished cry.
With full grace, he takes up my burdens, and with the Father’s will complies.
See him bear his cross up to Calvary.
See him beaten, stabbed, and crucified.
Into a tomb they sealed his body,
But on the third day, he rose in glory.
He conquered the grave and set me free.

No height, no depth, can separate me from your love, O Lord;
Neither life nor death can overcome the work of Christ in me.

I proclaim your victory.

Palindrome

Palindrome1

The music video. (Click to see it on YouTube.)

I had the pleasure of attending the final round of the Van Cliburn piano competition this year, and the experience inspired me to sit down and write a little piece for the piano. The result, a fiery little ditty I’ve named “Palindrome” (due to its overall form; it is not a strict palindrome), is quite fun to play. My friend Saqib filmed me performing it, and we put together a pretty cool video. Click here (or on the picture above) to see it on YouTube.

Click to download the score.

Click to download the score.

If you’re interested in playing the piece yourself, click here to download the score in PDF form. If anyone actually does decide to play it, please let me know. It will make me happy. And if you send or post a recording of it, I’ll mail you a lollipop with my initials engraved on it. There could be no better treat than that.

My 2003 Piano Album

Here are some piano recordings I made in the summer of 2003. I spent that summer working for Professor Qimiao Si doing theoretical condensed matter research. I didn’t feel like I was very good at it, but I made some contributions to a paper that can be found here. I just found out that this paper later inspired an atom-cooling experiment that was published in Nature.

Anyway, when I wasn’t running computer simulations, I was practicing the piano. My inspiration at the keys waxes and wanes over a period of about four years. It was at a high point then. There’s nothing like condensed matter physics to bring out your inner musician. Here are links to the recordings on YouTube:

Etude in F Minor (Chopin)

Funeral March (Chopin)

Ballade in G Minor (Chopin)

Fantasie-Impromptu (Chopin)

Surprise

The photographs are all from a March 2010 trip to Brazos Bend State Park, the day after we found out that Cathy had cancer. Each picture has an animal in it, though some of them are hard to find.

My High School Senior Recital

I finally got around to posting my high school senior recital on YouTube. I showed this video to most of my students last year, and one student felt compelled to venture a guess as to what year the recital took place. He said, “I don’t think you’re any older than forty. From what people in the audience were wearing, I’m guessing it was in the eighties.”

Well. . . . It was in 1999. I’m 30. I guess it’s the baldness and cynical attitude that make me seem so old. It’s hard not to be cynical when you start going bald at age 21. I’m sure this is a tangent I’ll regret having written later on. Anyway, here are the links to the video of my recital, in order of how happy I am with my performance of each piece:

Scherzo in B Minor (Chopin)

Nocturne in B Flat Minor (Chopin)

Masks (Muczynski)

Sonata in E Minor (Haydn)

Prelude and Fugue in D Minor (Bach)

Yes, I prefer minor keys. They go well with my cynicism.