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“The Oracle” – An Experiment in Aleatorism & Formula

I’m in the middle of composing a real neat piece right now for a July 1 deadline… I’m calling it “The Oracle,” and it’s for flute/piccolo, Bb clarinet, violin, cello, and piano.

matrixoracleWhat I’ve done is set up a complex set of “rules” that guide my writing based on the random drawing of tarot cards… But it’s turned out to be both an aleatoric and a highly flexible process that leaves me with a lot of artistic possibilities, though I’m being guided in the overall structure by the cards I draw and their placement in the spread I’ve chosen.

As you might imagine, knowing me, I’m having a ton of fun with this. There’s something thrilling about the mixture of using both a pre-compositional process that prevents me from fully anticipating the outcome of a work combined with that process allowing for a vast amount of contextual freedom!

Enjoy a sample of the work at the end of this post…

Continue reading “The Oracle” – An Experiment in Aleatorism & Formula

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New Debuts and Videos!

This past Sunday I had the immense pleasure of being a part of two new compositional debuts, as well as generally playing great music with wonderful people and reuniting with old friends. 🙂

First up, here’s the World Premiere of my work, “Madrigal, for Orchestra” by the Santa Clarita Philharmonic!

 

Next, the Diamond Ranch High School strings debuted a wonderful medley of John Lennon tunes that I had such a blast composing for them! <3

 

Finally, I just HAVE to share this little clip from the Santa Clarita Phil’s performance of Haydn’s “Farewell Symphony” (if you don’t know the history behind why Haydn wrote this ending the way he did, you should check it out at the link; Haydn was such a clever guy!)… which closed our program… Super fun group, I’m tellin’ ya! XD

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The Definitive “Kesher Chronicles” Release!

At long last, today is the official day of release for the Definitive Edition of The Kesher Chronicles #1: Pursuit of Truth!

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Pick up your copy of the Definitive Edition today!

It’s been a huge opportunity of personal growth for me to keep up with this humble saga of mine for so long, battling my own demons, so to speak… And now, with this exciting release, I am finally prepared to go all the way with the rest of the saga! I aim to release The Kesher Chronicles #2, Questions of Love by mid-August 2016…

By the way, included in this release of Kesher #1 is a sneak peak of Kesher #2: the whole opening chapter from Questions of Love!

By visiting The Kesher Chronicles home page, you can purchase your copy directly from me (via Gumroad), download a free sample, and find links to purchase it on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and B&N.

Enjoy!

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New (Mini) Album Available!

I’ve compiled a new album for you all! Introducing… Memories & The Gray: The Electronic Collection
It’s a re-compilation of all my electronically sequenced works, PLUS two brand new works I’d written for a couple previous video opportunities. I wanted to be able to share them, even though their originally anticipated use fell through… 🙂
Besides being available directly at my Store, this album is streaming now at Spotify and will be up on iTunes shortly… Enjoy!

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Brand-New Christmas Carol Finished!

Presenting… Cradle Song (of Mary’s Beloved) for SATB Choir and Bb Trumpet.

I just finished writing this for a new Christmas Carol Contest deadline! 🙂

I’ve adapted the lyrics from the 1901 poem of the same name by Patrick K. O’Horan. Per the rules of the contest, this work is for SATB choir, 3 minutes long, and adds a part for solo Bb trumpet (I’m planning on rewriting this part for optional, different solo instruments as well: like solo horn, solo trombone, solo euphonium….)

Lyrics:
Sleep, O my little one, quietly sleep,
Angels shall guard thee slumbering deep.
White wings about thee
Enfolding that flame,
Holy, Immortal
Ineffable Name.

Sleep, my beloved, my little one sleep;
No crying be heard: O stir not nor weep.
A bright Star is shining
Above thy dear head,
And to this poor shelter
The great Kings are led.

Sleep then, my Kingly one, gently and still.
See how thine angels watch on each hill.
Here is thy mother
Close, dearest heart:
I shall be with thee
When shepherds depart.

Sleep, O my little Lord, darling one, sleep.

I really love how it turned out! And, now I finally have an official choir piece in my oeuvre. 🙂

Maybe it’ll be chosen for live performance! Regardless, I’ll eventually have at least a demo version with live voices for you to enjoy. But, for now, enjoy this little digital demo…

 

https://soundcloud.com/sarah-wallin-huff/cradle-song-of-marys-beloved-digital-demo

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New EP, “SONATA MODERNA,” Now Available!

It’s officially available now! Go check out my new EP, “SONATA MODERNA“!

Album Notes
This EP features all new Classical music, as well as the return of a recent favorite, composed and performed by Sarah Wallin Huff. SONATA MODERNA is a sonic journey of movement — of nostalgia and anticipation.

The title track, “Sonata Moderna,” is based on an ancient piece from the 17th century (“Sonata sopra la Monica” by Biagio Marini). Featuring two violins and cello with rock rhythm and chords, the past is united with the present in this driving work. Featuring: Sarah Wallin Huff (violins), Anne Sherrill (cello), Paul Hoover (electric guitar), Emily Gibb (electric bass), and Dave Gruchacz (drum set).

“Sweet Camila” returns (re-recorded) from its debut in the soundtrack album, “Music for The Book of I.” Based on Camila, a feature character in Jorge Armenteros’ novel, “The Book of I,” this work for string quartet looks back at good times with nostalgia while encouraging our main character to move forward with hope. Featuring: Brett Bird and Lainey White (violins), Sarah Wallin Huff (viola), and Anne Sherrill (cello).

“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. Featuring: Sarah Wallin Huff (acoustic and electric violins) and Anne Sherrill (cello).

As a bonus, the newest composition from Wallin Huff, “Intrepid: A Fantasy for Oboe/English Horn Soloist and Chamber Ensemble,” has been included in this release. “Intrepid” is a dramatic expression of Life’s Journey, of migration and personal metamorphosis. Featuring: Allison McKay (solo Oboe/English Horn), Asuncion Ojeda and Tiffany Gibb (flutes/piccolo), Russell Vittrup (clarinet), Clayton Slusser (bassoon), Jeff Boultinghouse (horns), Daniel Chandler and Phil Alimoren (trombones), Lyle Michaud (piano), Sarah Wallin Huff (percussion), and the strings — Violins: Mel Bolosan, Josh LeMaster, Corinne Olsen, Abby Olson, Lainey White (concertmaster), Tim Yao; Viola: Sean Lyons; Cello: Emily Rader; Bass: John Hester. Conducted by Sarah Wallin Huff.

All tracks recorded, produced, and mastered by Tyler Bailey at The Master’s College, Santa Clarita (CA), except for “Sweet Camila,” which was recorded, produced, and mastered by Mauricio Gasca at Scott Frankfurt Studio, Los Angeles (CA).

And many thanks to those who graciously gave their amazing talents to make this happen: Tyler J Bailey​, Mauricio Gasca Music​, Scott Frankfurt Studio​, TMC Music​, Anne Tribble Sherrill​, Brett Bird​, Lainey Elizabeth White​, Emily Gibb​, Paul Hoover, Dave Gruchacz, Allison McKay​, Asuncion Ojeda​, Tiffany Gibb​, Russell Vittrup​, Clayton Slusser​, Jeff Boultinghouse, Daniel Chandler​, Philip Alimoren​, Lyle Michaud​, Mel Bolosan​, Joshua LeMaster​, Corinne Olsen​, Abby Olson​, Tim Yao​, Sean Lyons​, Emily Rader​, John Hester​.

Oh! And THANK YOU to José Marques​ for the way-excellent album artwork!

It’ll show up on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc.. in just a few more days…
Enjoy! ^_^

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Music TBT: “Gypsy Wanderer”

It’s time for my Music TBT, where I randomly choose a work from my repertoire and reminisce about its beginnings!

Today’s TBT Selection is…

Gypsy Wanderer

(Purchase the sheet music and official recording)

An original Sonata for Violin and Piano. Completed in April of 2013, the originating sketches for this four-movement work existed as early as 2008, and were a part of Wallin Huff’s first graduate lessons in composition, while studying under Dr. Mark Carlson. “Gypsy Wanderer” is a unique addition to Wallin Huff’s repertoire in that it is an early exploration of patterns, color, and formula. The nature of the four movements can be described in affect as follows: I. dance-like and fluid; II. surreal and sublime; III. diligent and determined; IV. passionate yet controlled. The work is riveting and soulful in its earthy and irreverent, rhythmic and harmonic wanderings.

I originally began work on this piece during my first semester of graduate studies, under the instruction of Dr. Mark Carlson. He taught me so many valuable techniques to open up my creativity! So, by the end of 2006, I had movement 2 of this sonata completed and movement 3 almost finished. For movement 1, I had several of the phrases sketched out, and movement 4 had only rough ideas of incomplete motives scrawled out on a page.

It sat that way for years as I finished my degree under another teacher. It wasn’t until I began teaching at The Master’s College in 2012 that I finally began looking again at this unfinished sonata of mine. I told myself, I have to finish this! It would be a crime not to! The problem was, I had written so many diverse other works in the meantime, of differing influences and sounds. I didn’t want this sonata to feel as though it was written 6 years apart, as if it was two different pieces entirely. So I spent a lot of time trying to understand my old sketches from my earlier frame of mind. I was able to merge these with all the newfound knowledge I had gained in the past 6 years to create something really colorful and unique.

Finally, in 2013 this four movement sonata was born! It holds a special place in my heart. I’ve had the opportunity to perform this (in completion and in parts) twice now. It is such a kick to play! It really keeps me on my toes, and every time I attempt it, it gets better and better…

I hope you enjoy this trippy, irreverent, angular, and passionate work, “Gypsy Wanderer”! 😀

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Music TBT: “In the Forest”

It’s time for my Music TBT, where I randomly choose a work from my repertoire and reminisce about its beginnings!

Today’s TBT Selection is…

In the Forest (Amazing Grace)

(Purchase the sheet music and official recording)

This original work by Sarah Wallin Huff creatively weaves the beloved Amazing Grace melody in and out of a second original tune titled “In the Forest,” evoking a meditative and melancholy sense of wandering and reflection, as if hidden from the outside world.

This composition for string quartet was composed in 2011 at the request of Danielle Rosaria Cummins and the organization Alternate Avenues. The piece existed originally as only an unfinished sketch for solo piano, started some years prior. When Wallin Huff was requested to compose a quick-and-dirty string quartet arrangement of the traditional tune Amazing Grace for a formal fundraising banquet being held in two days, Wallin Huff was inspired to take her old sketch of “In the Forest” and turn it into this present string quartet that was instantly well-received and continues to be sought after in performance.

Not much else I can say about this lovely tune. I’m just super-duper happy I could use that old piano sketch and turn it into this beautiful string quartet! I never get tired of listening to it or playing it… See if you can hear the “Amazing Grace” theme sneaking its way into the latter part of the “In the Forest” half, in the viola part!

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Music TBT: “Personal Echo”

It’s time for my Music TBT, where I randomly choose a work from my repertoire and reminisce about its beginnings!

Today’s TBT Selection is…

Personal Echo

(Purchase the sheet music and official recording)

 

With the instrument’s sound run through a timed digital delay effect, the soloist is able to create a “canon with herself.” Combining a haunting folk-style melody with virtuosic effects, this work is a flourish of stirring harmony and dogged rhythmic control.

I have a lot of fond memories with this piece. This little gem was written way back in 2003, during my first year at Cal Poly Pomona, after transferring from a life of scattered community colleges and performance touring.

The music department was starting up the MIDI Ensemble that year. The company they had ordered all their equipment from had thrown in a free Fender electric violin as part of the bulk purchase, and one of the teachers asked me if I’d like to play it with the group. How could I turn that down?! And so my relationship with the electric violin (and increasing its strings/range) began that year.

For our first concert, the instructor wanted each of us to show off what our instruments could do alone, to showcase the capabilities we had with the electronics. Because mine was the only non-MIDI instrument, I decided to show off what I could do in conjunction with digital delay. And, honestly, I didn’t want to just improvise something out of the blue on stage, so I took time to organize my thoughts and composed this work. I debuted it at that first MIDI Ensemble concert, and “Personal Echo” has been performed numerous times ever since, by both myself and others! Every time, it is a favorite of the listeners and performers – I love how it tends to entrance those in attendance, every time…

I even added a cool vibraphone part once to accompany this piece for the String Theory Quartet album release, “abstract,” which you can check out here on Spotify. And, of course, the original version can be heard here on Spotify, too, or purchased at various retailers found on my Discography page. 🙂