By Candlelight
  • Paul Hofmann—piano
  • (and vocals on IVY, MY DEAR alternate take)


  • Rod Fleeman—guitar
  • (appears on FAR, FAR AWAY)

Total Time – 73:54

  2. MAY LOVE BLOOM! 4:27
  3. MY SONG MEDLEY 5:21
    1. PEACE PIECE excerpt (1:22)
      (Bill Evans)
    2. MY SONG (3:58)
      (Keith Jarrett)
  4. IMPRESSION 1:24
  5. IVY, MY DEAR 2:36
  7. IMAGES 4:06
  8. MY ROMANCE 3:32
    (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart)
  9. MY BELOVED 1:51
  10. CARING MEDLEY 4:57
    1. CARING (1:07)
    2. EVERYTHING AND YOU (2:14)
    3. CARING reprise (1:36)
  11. THE BEAUTY 2:39
    (James Taylor)
  14. THREE ETUDES 3:38
  15. PORTRAITS 3:59
    1. NO. 1 (1:15)
    2. NO. 2 (1:05)
    3. NO. 3 (1:36)
  16. WAITING FOR IVY 3:17
  18. REPOSE 3:57

    Bonus tracks:

  19. FAR, FAR AWAY 7:02
  20. IVY, MY DEAR alternate take 2:41

Compositions by Paul Hofmann (PBH Music BMI), except:

  • Peace Piece
    (Folkways Music Publishers Inc. BMI);
  • My Song
    (Cavelight Music BMI);
  • My Romance
    (Lorenz Hart Publishing/PolyGram International/Williamson Music Co. ASCAP);
  • If I Keep My Heart Out Of Sight
    (Country Road Music Inc. BMI).
  • Produced by Paul Hofmann
  • Engineered by Ron Ubel and Michael Brorby
  • Digital editing by Jeff Schiller
  • Recorded digitally, December 8, 1992, August 11, 1993, June 21, 1996, July 23, 1997, August 28, 1998 and May 22, 2000 at Soundtrek Studio I, Kansas City, Missouri and at Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, New York
  • Art direction and design by Keith Kavanaugh
  • Cover photograph by Steve Cole

By Candlelight

“How silver-sweet sound
lover’s tongues by night,
Like softest music
to attending ears!”

Romeo and Juliet (c. 1594)

Writing and performing romantic ballads has long been an interest of mine, in no small measure due to the challenge of creating fresh, poetic conceptions. This latest collection of ‘love songs without words’ consists primarily of a number of previously unissued tracks from several recording sessions (going back some eight years) – but since I’m always eager to experiment with other tunes, this project afforded me the perfect opportunity to include several new performances as well.

Although the overall mood is lush, the original material on “By Candlelight” ranges from tender ballads (The Beauty; Waiting for Ivy) to neo-classical music (My Beloved; Three Etudes; One Summer Night) to pieces modeled after standards and show tunes (Caring; Everything and You). Heard also is a jazz waltz (May Love Bloom!), examples of impressionism – whether Duke Ellington-inspired (Rochester Lullabye; By Candlelight) or after Bill Evans (Quiet Anticipation; Impression) – and even some entirely ad-libbed impromptus (Images; Repose). The wide-ranging Portraits features many of the above musical elements, and I’ve also thrown in a Thelonious Monk-like ballad (Ivy, My Dear, somewhat after Monk’s celebrated Ruby, My Dear) for good measure.

Of the non-originals, Evans regularly quoted his famous early work Peace Piece (1958) while introducing other compositions, and I’ve followed in like manner here in prefacing Keith Jarrett’s gorgeous My Song – first heard in a timeless version from 1977 by Jarrett’s great European Quartet. The Rodgers-Hart standard My Romance (dating from 1935) has long been one of my favorite tunes, hence its appearance; and there’s also a more contemporary song, James Taylor’s beautiful If I Keep My Heart Out Of Sight, which closed Taylor’s popular 1977 LP, “JT.” Its inclusion here reflects my long-held view that that some of today’s best known contemporary musicians have written songs that rate with the finest popular melodies from earlier eras.

Two bonus tracks complete the program: the ‘Brazilian’ ballad Far, Far Away which features Rod Fleeman on guitar (initially slated for 1995’s “This Beautiful Love,” it had to be excluded from that album due to time restraints, yet blends in nicely here, I believe) and a ‘vocal rendition’ of Ivy, My Dear. This interpretation was originally meant as something of a lark, and certainly not intended for general release! Well, life is short, so I changed my mind … perhaps its appearance here will put a smile on your face.

Different tracks from different sessions, yet the unifying elements are the romantic theme, the solo piano instrumentation – with the two ‘bonus’ exceptions – and the engineering consistency through the years, particularly from the extraordinary Ron Ubel.

May you get as much out of the listening – perhaps even by candlelight – as I did in the creating.

Paul Hofmann