Piano & Ensemble album
End of a Day
Dedicated to his son, Luke, Matt's fourth recording is an eclectic blend of textures and titles. Quite an ambitious project that features a Boston Symphony Orchestra string section among the more than 20 performers.
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All of the music from this recording has been transcribed for solo piano and is available below.
Click a title to download the sheet music:
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Matt offers his original music with no expectation of payment. The above audio files and musical scores are absolutely FREE for your personal use and enjoyment.
However, donations are always appreciated.
Attack of the Killer Bunnies: We chose a bunny theme for Luke’s nursery. Between all the stuffed bunnies we bought and bunny gifts received, we had a room full of bunnies. Cute, right? Except after several weeks of sleep deprivation, added to a crying baby at 3 AM in the morning, they suddenly turned into “killer bunnies.”
Luke’s Theme: For my son. This was the first piece I wrote after Luke was born. I remember humming the first theme to him while holding him in my arms within the first weeks of his life.
Hidden: Among the various things “hidden” in this piece is Luke’s birth date. The melody in the first section was derived by assigning his birth date to the musical scale while later in the third section, you’ll find my birth date hidden in the harmonic progression.
Well, My Heart’s So Sad: Any idea how I must have been feeling when I wrote this?
It’s Finally Out!: Sometimes things seem as if they’ll never come together and then all of a sudden everything clicks into place.
Stereo Kisses: What do you get when a baby is held between mommy and daddy while receiving lots of kisses on each cheek?
BOO!: Something Luke and I have come to say as an affectionate hello. We also like to play around and surprise each other by shouting “BOO!”
End of a Day: Inspired by our special time together as I put Luke to bed.
Shadows on the Wall: In the middle of the night I would gently sway Luke back to sleep while a night light created our “shadows on the wall.”
The Clouds, They Roll By: It’s amazing when an inspiration can hit you…this one came while I was lying on the sofa watching the clouds roll by.
Fairy Tales: Recommended as background music while creating your own bedtime stories. Works well with kids of ALL ages.
Lost & Found: The anxious look from losing a prized toy is replaced with happiness when found.
Kiss Away the Hurt: When Luke hurt his knee, I held him, kissing the hurt and rocking him back and forth. Humming bits of Brahms’s Lullaby, he drifted into sleep…I whispered “sweet dreams.”
Recording Information and Credits
Matt Johnson, 1995
International Standard Name Identifier
ISNI 0000 0004 6875 3420
Title: End of a Day
Artist: Matt Johnson
Release Date: October, 1995
Producer: Matt Johnson
Engineer: Joe O’Connell
~Brian McKeever and Andy Blakelock
Record Label: Dolce & Nuit Productions
~Soundtrack Recording Studio—Boston, MA
~Soundtrack Recording Studio—Boston, MA
Mixed by: Matt Johnson and Joe O’Connell
Mastered by: Joe O’Connell
CD Number: DNP3193-2
Cassette Number: DNP3193-4
Total Disc Time: 53 minutes, 28 seconds
~Anders Bostrom: alto and C flute
piano, keyboards, percussion and handbells
~Sato Knudsen: cello
~Barbara LaFitte: oboe and english horn
~Fernando Martinez: drums and percussion
~Lynn McKenna: vocals
~Victor Mendoza: vibraphone
~Wayne Naus: trumpet and flügelhorn
~Claudio Ragazzi: acoustic and electric guitar
~Alexander Romanul: violin
~Pengbian Sang: electric and fretless bass
~Mila Schiavo: percussion
~Bob Zung: soprano and alto sax
~Clayton Hoener: violin
~Melissa Howe: violin
~Kristina Nilsson: violin
~James Orent: violin
~Diane Pettipaw: violin
~Alexander Romanul: violin
~Kenneth Stalberg: violin
~John Williams: violin
Graphics created for this recording
Album Review: End of a Day
1995 / Dolce & Nuit Producitons
Review by Kathy Parsons
End of a Day is a piano and ensemble album of thirteen original pieces by Matt Johnson that he dedicated to his son, Luke. More than twenty performers added their talents to the music, including a Boston Symphony string section. The music is varied in mood and styling from slow ballads to smooth jazz, Latin jazz, new age and more. Johnson performs on piano, keyboards, percussion and handbells, and additional instrumentation includes flutes, brass, sax, vocals, vibes, bass and guitars.
Matt Johnson is a classically-trained pianist who earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Oklahoma Baptist University and his Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Composition with a Distinction in Performance from New England Conservatory of Music. A prolific composer and performer as well as a sought-after teacher, Johnson has performed extensively in venues from Boston to Brazil. His music is a neo-romantic blending of contemporary jazz, new age, popular and classical elements that give his music a very distinctive sound.
End of a Day begins with “Attack of the Killer Bunnies,” an intriguing title, indeed! The piece starts out as a slow sax and piano duet reminiscent of film noir music, but don’t let the intro fool you! At about the 1-minute mark, it becomes a lively jazz piece with a playful and infectious Latin beat that will have your toes tapping in no time! “Luke’s Theme” is the first piece Matt composed after Luke was born. Slow and dreamy, I’m sure it was an effective lullaby for both father and son! “Well, My Heart’s So Sad” is a favorite. Piano and strings paint a poignant, melancholy picture in shades of deep blue and gray. “Stereo Kisses” feels very much like a warm, lingering hug with piano, sax, cello and bass illustrating what you get when a baby is held between mommy and daddy while receiving lots of kisses on each cheek. The repeated piano pattern suggests comfort and safety as well as unwavering parental love. “BOO!” cranks up the energy level with a lively Latin rhythm swirling around trumpets, saxes and flutes. I’ll bet you can’t listen to this one all the way through without cracking a smile! The title track "End of a Day" is a beautiful nocturne inspired by the special time shared while putting Luke to bed - another favorite. I also really like “Shadows On the Wall,” a slow, uncomplicated piano solo with classical roots. “Fairy Tales” is an enchanting slow dance guaranteed to soothe a soul of any age. “Kiss Away the Hurt” brings the album to a close with a tender piano/vocal/sax song inspired by rocking a child with a hurt knee to sleep while humming this lovely tune.
Although End of a Day was recorded twenty-four years ago, the music is timeless and just as interesting today as it was when it was first “born.” The album and companion sheet music are available FOR FREE from www.MattJohnsonMusic.com. The music can be purchased from iTunes, CD Baby and there are a couple of used copies on Amazon.
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Songbook Review: End of a Day Collection
2003 / Dolce & Nuit
107 pages / 13 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons/www.MainlyPiano.com
End of a Day Collection is the companion sheet music book to Matt Johnson’s 1995 album End of a Day. The album includes quite a bit of instrumentation in addition to Matt’s piano, so the pieces don’t sound exactly the same as the recording, but most of the thirteen pieces are so much fun to play that you probably won’t notice. There is a lot of variety in the music - from slow ballads to smooth jazz to Impressionistic to Latin jazz and more. There is a wider range in the difficulty of the pieces than the Origins Collection, and I would say they range from upper intermediate to advanced. Some are slow and poignant while others are joyously upbeat and driving. It’s a really nice collection to sit down and play through, looking for pieces you respond to and that are at your playing level. The download of the complete book is available for FREE on Matt Johnson’s website, and the recording is, too, so you have nothing to lose! Individual pieces can also be downloaded for free. The music can be purchased at SheetMusicPlus.com.
The sheet music was transcribed by the composer and he very wisely made it roomy and easy to read - especially the fast runs that are often 32nd notes. Fingering suggestions are well-placed and the pieces that aren’t rubato have metronome settings. Be prepared for an abundance of ledger lines - especially on the left hand. I noticed that those notes are USUALLY an octave lower than the note that follows, but not always. If you have problems reading more than three or four ledgers, keep a pencil handy! AND, you’ll find that you are using almost all 88 of the keys on the piano! Some of the jazz rhythms are complex, but are fun to play once you have them figured out. It seems like there is something for just about everyone here, so check out End of a Day Collection at www.MattJohnsonMusic.com.
The titles of the pieces, the key(s) they are in and the number of pages are:
~ Attack of the Killer Bunnies - Key of G minor (2 flats) - 12 pages
~ Luke’s Theme - Key of D (2 sharps) - 8 pages
~ Hidden - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 10 pages
~ Well, My Heart’s So Sad - Key of G minor (2 flats) - 5 pages
~ It’s Finally Out! - Key of E minor (1 sharp) - 11 pages
~ Stereo Kisses - Key of F (1 flat) - 4 pages
~ BOO! - Key of Bb (2 flats) - 8 pages
~ End of a Day - Key of F (1 flat) - 9 pages
~ Shadows on the Wall - Key of D minor (1 flat) - 3 pages
~ The Clouds, They Roll By - Key of F minor (4 flats) - 15 pages
~ Fairy Tales - Key of Bb (2 flats) - 7 pages
~ Lost & Found - Key of Bb (2 flats)/ Eb (3 flats) - 7 pages
~ Kiss Away the Hurt - Key of A (3 sharps) - 6 pages