David Foster protégé and former Warner Bros. recording artist William Joseph brings an intensity of soul and dazzling originality to this collection of LDS and sacred hymns, Be Still. William's scintillating piano virtuosity that wowed audiences on tour with Josh Groban and Il Divo is expressed with serenity and quiet strength in favorites like "Abide with Me," "Amazing Grace," and "Be Still."
- SKU: 5077402
By Michael, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Since the release of his first two albums, Within and Beyond, William Joseph has toured and/or performed with the likes of Josh Groban, Barbara Streisand, Natalie Cole, Kenny G, John Mayer and Alicia Keys. He is, undeniably, an accomplished entertainer.
But his latest work, Be Still, is not about William Joseph. It’s not even about entertainment.
With measured restraint – rare in one so talented – he offers these hymns in a spirit of simplicity. Each rendition remains largely faithful to the melody and, refreshingly, even to their traditional chord progressions. While past productions often evoked power through intensity, complexity and notes-per-second virtuosity, this collection in its finer moments reaches new heights of spiritual connection one simple note at a time, relying instead upon the sacred power inherent to the hymn, and delivered thoughtfully through the hands – and from the heart – of an artist intimately familiar with things of the Spirit.
To be sure, creativity still flows, yet embellishments are subtle, variations are sparing, and distractions are absent. The inspired result is beauty – simple, reverent, sublime.
• “Jesus, Once of Humble Birth” is an LDS favorite based on a familiar tune by German composer Giacomo Meyerbeer. William’s rendering is utterly peaceful.
• “Be Still, My Soul,” features picturesque string accompaniment to William’s serene piano. This enhancement is flawlessly employed, beautifying the measured crescendo, and perfecting the tranquility to which it finally yields. Surely it is this very feeling which inspired the album’s title.
• “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” is regarded by LDS listeners as the quintessential musical expression of personal testimony. Perhaps the most dramatic of this collection, it features the incomparable Grammy-nominated violinist, Jenny Oaks Baker. Their collaboration soars heavenward as it progresses, culminating in the emotionally compelling reiteration of three key melodic notes that will have their most powerful impact on those who know the words they represent.
• “Nearer, My God, To Thee” describes in lyrics a spiritual longing that is nearly realized in music as this interpretation transcends, effortlessly, carrying the listener on joyful wing, upward, nearer.
• “How Great Thou Art” is unlike traditional interpretations: less like the halleluiah chorus of an angelic choir than the tearful prayer of a forgiven soul. It praises a God who manifests less in the rolling thunder than in the whisper of a still, small voice.
William Joseph has proven himself a capable entertainer, a first-class showman who can deliver heart-pounding thrills, heart-wrenching romance, chest-thumping grandiosity, and even ear-splitting rock when his audience craves it. At his fingertips, the keyboard’s power is boundless. And certainly there will be much more of such wonders from him in the future.
But Be Still is different. It aims not to overwhelm the senses, but to touch the heart; not to impress, but to inspire; not to entertain, but to uplift. To William Joseph, it surely represents a labor of love, offered as a humble, personal testimony of that which he holds most sacred. To us, it represents an invitation to feel that still, small voice. To sense the things of the Spirit.
Indeed, to be still – and be moved.
By Karen, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I have known Bill since he was a teenager and have long awaited this album. His touch on the piano is filled with beauty, grace and the spirit. This album will fill you home and your soul with peace and hope. I have bought four copies already to give as gifts and plan to purchase many more.
By Mark, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This is a CD for every home! The title is perfect for the CD because each track is peaceful, soothing and yet spiritually powerful. William stayed beautifully true to the melody of each hymn and yet each arrangement is very moving. With all the commotion and noise in the world, this CD is sure to bring a calm and a stillness to your heart and life. I love this CD and highly recommend it to everybody. Thank you William Joseph for sharing your special talent!!