CD Review: Cliff Duren – Tune My Heart

CD Review: Cliff Duren – Tune My Heart

cliff-durenSong Titles: “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” “Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing,” “Cross Medley” (“Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross”/”When I Survey The Wondrous Cross”), “Be Thou My Vision,” “Rock Of Ages Cleft For Me,” “Whiter Than Snow,” “I Need Thee Every Hour,” “Just As I Am,” “Take My Life And Let It Be,” “Your Awesome Love For Me”

LABEL: Daywind Records

RATING: 4 1/2 Stars (on a scale of 1-5 Stars)

Tune My Heart highlights Cliff Duren’s skills both as a pianist and orchestra arranger.  If you lead a church choir or sing in one, you may already be familiar with some of Duren’s choral anthems and collections. For other readers, Tune My Heart could be your introduction to Duren’s music.

The first ten tracks feature a total of eleven familiar hymn melodies. (One track is a 2-song medley.) Duren’s piano is generally understated, carrying the melody most of the time but occasionally yielding the tune to the orchestra. I’m impressed by the balance. His piano parts don’t compete with the orchestra, which is tasteful with artistic, fleshed out introductions and transitions. A violin solo on “Rock Of Ages” and a cello solo on “Just As I Am” provide some variety.

The eleventh and final track, “Your Awesome Love For Me,” features a new melody written by Duren. There are lyrics co-written by Duren and Jeff Bumgardner to go with this song as well, but the performance on this CD is completely instrumental. Duren composed the melody on the spot during a prayer time at church. In the notes included in the CD packaging, he explains, “I don’t usually write melodies without at least an idea for a lyric, but that’s exactly how this song came about.”

If you appreciate subtlety and finesse in your instrumental music, you should enjoy Tune My Heart. For some fans, the lack of any up-tempo or bombastic arrangements might be a turn-off . Duren’s piano is somewhat highlighted and present on every piece as I mentioned above, but I would say this CD is more for fans of orchestra than fans of piano. The way Duren has crafted the total sound is the true value of Tune My Heart.

Category CD Reviews, Reviews

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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