…the [Book of I] soundtrack composed by Sarah Wallin Huff stands out as both a powerful album, taking its listener on an emotional journey of beauty, despair, and hope, as well as a fascinating study of the composer’s visceral and intellectual connection to the source material. Featuring the stellar work of musicians Darrell Peries, Caleb Barnes, Cathy Alonzo, Jenna Ford, Lainey Elizabeth White, Brett Bird, Jonatas Mostacato, Ayla Draper, and [Wallin] Huff herself, the album is a stunning collection of gorgeous, orchestral selections comprised mostly of string instruments that are, at times, vividly haunting but always entirely engrossing. [Wallin] Huff, who previously released her own album, Soul of the Machine, earlier this year, clearly has a passion and a gift for sharing every ounce of her mind, body, and soul with the listener, as if providing a warm invitation for the listener to share the same in response.
It is the third piece “The Oracle” that is the crème de la for me with its incredible depth and creative complexity. Dynamics take deep hold here with sudden bursts and calming moments. I really hear the room when flute and clarinet parts elevate along with the brilliant staccato keyboard hits. There are moments when time seems to fall apart and then strings back together in a wonderful interplay among the musicians.
Sometimes the idea behind the music is just as interesting as the music itself…the music on this album “…explores the relationships between mechanical structures, organic beauty, and identity.” …Wallin Huff presents three unusual compositions that tackle some intriguing ideas and topics… Her music is quite complex and unusual and yet…very easy to absorb and appreciate. There’s a lot to take in here… Our favorite is the wonderfully moody and subtle “Gypsy Wanderer”…nothing short of breathtaking.
Sarah’s music has a classy, understated sound, yet it is baroque and ornate, tipping the hat off to genius composers like Debussy, but also tipping the hat off experimental ideas and cinematic scores. Opening number “Intrepid” is a very dynamic composition with a unique color, almost echoing the work of modern composers like Yann Tiersen.
Weeping Willow, featuring “Michael Jung,” is one of our favorite tracks on this release. I love the romantic, dramatic high notes of the string section, as well as the timeless sound of the sparse piano melodies, almost flirting with shades of Tango, in the vein of Astor Piazzolla. A true masterpiece, with so many nuances. The album is also home to a suite extending over 3 tracks, “Leviathan of the Ancient Deep.” These songs also features ambient samples, as well as electronic elements and ornate percussions, making for a really diverse set of colors.
Coming up soon in these next couple of months, we’ll be recording the epic Fantasy for Oboe/English Horn Soloist and Chamber Orchestra, “Intrepid“! It will be an amazing compliment to the Leviathan E-Violin Concerto on the upcoming album! <3
To prep the upcoming strings-only session — to make the process as easy as possible on my dear friends helping to make this possible — I decided to record myself playing the 2 violin parts and viola part ahead of time. It’ll give me a lot more flexibility in mixing the tracks, and give my players a really solid footing when reading through this together.
One of the things I love about a process such as this, is getting to hear a larger piece broken up into its basic layers–getting to hear what components interact to create the overall effect–and it never ceases to amaze and thrill me! I love music that weaves in and out of itself like a sonic tapestry…
You can get a sense for the intricacy of this work by listening to the following two segments of this prep-recording. Enjoy! 🙂
Want to contribute to this recording? There are several ways you can help:
“Greek Dance” is one of my earliest pieces; I believe this is one of those tunes I wrote while sitting on the bus during my tour years, like “Face in the Moonlight“…
Composed in 2002, this charming and enthusiastic work for string quartet makes playful use of the various rhythmic textures able to be derived from odd-beat patterns. Though it stands, in its spontaneity and brevity, as one of Wallin Huff’s earlier works, it remains a favorite among those who have tackled its deceptively simple intricacies.
It seems so simple, yet it’s such a challenge and a blast to play!
Earlier this year, Ryan M. Luévano invited me to include a short piece for string orchestra of my own during the debut concert of the Neue World Orchestra Project, so I decided to arrange this old quartet for the group. I really love the extra layers of color and texture it provides!
This piano miniature was composed just last year, in 2017. I originally wrote it as part of a larger set of background music for a bingo game app developer. While the rest of the album consists of electronic tunes, I just had a hankering for pulling out this little song for piano in an almost spoofed, pastiche-ed way.
I mean, just look at this opening tempo marking; it has so much attitude, full of dramatic imagery!…
By the time it was all done, it had a weird charm that I absolutely fell in love with. I just always grin when I hear it… ? Pianist extraordinaire Mike Jung has played it live, and had a super awesome compliment for it: it’s fun as hell to play! ?
Enjoy this digital representation below (hopefully I’ll get the chance to record Mike’s rendition of it someday!):
I composed this odd little quartet in 2014 for the Chamber Music Institute of So Cal, at the request of its president and founder. Specifically, she wanted something she and I could play with our electric fiddles, while two others played acoustic strings. You know how I love unusual combinations! 😉
For Acoustic Violin, Acoustic Cello, Electric 5-string Violin (with octave drop pedal), and Electric 6-string Violin (with delay and chorus pedals).
“Organic Circuitry” is a unique string quartet, pitting the acoustic violin and cello against electric 5- and 6- string violins with effects. It evokes a futuristic state of being, merging ancient instruments with new technology.
I also used the opportunity to start playing around with various combinatorial processes… You know me– I like to see how weird and yet still melodic I can get! 😀
If you’ve enjoyed these so far, why not help a neighbor out and share them with those you think might like them, too? And, of course, if you can’t wait to find out what happens next to our characters, pick up the ebooks or paperbacks here!
A madrigal, popular in the Renaissance and early Baroque, may be defined as a secular, polyphonic partsong, a through-composed work attempting to express the emotion contained within each line of a poem on which it is based. Loosely, a madrigal may be thought of as a linear journey across pallets of color and emotional soundscapes, and this is precisely what Wallin Huff’s 2014 so-titled work for orchestra aims to do.
This 8-minute work for small orchestra has so much charm for me; I really feel like it’s a journey across time as well as emotion. It has been performed live by the Santa Clarita Philharmonic, and it’s available on the album ESOTERICA.
“You’re not really listening. Can you hear the angular melodic twists?”
“That’s what death sounds like, I know… It’s like a leitmotif; it keeps coming back to my mind.”
This track from Music for The Book of I was actually the first track I completed when working on this OST. So in this work for string orchestra and solo violin is where I birthed all that would comprise the themes of our main character, Teaston, and his trials.
I sought out a sense of haunting poignancy and drama in this work… angular in shape, mysterious, beautiful and grotesque, all at once… it’s truly a unique piece and one that speaks well to the main character, I think.
Way back in 1994, I started writing a sci-fi series that would become, “The Kesher Chronicles.” About 20 years later I finally released book 1 and (a year after that) book 2 to the public.
I’m super proud of all this “Kesher-verse” has become and what it’s evolving into; there will be audiobooks on the horizon, but until then, I want to give those of you who love audiobooks something to chew on while we wait. 🙂
So, I hope you enjoy these installments of live reading from The Kesher Chronicles – complete with a bit of background music, sound effects, and accompanying pictures!!
If you can’t wait to find out what happens next to our characters, pick up the ebooks or paperbacks here!