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Recording “The Oracle”

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of hearing my “tarot piece,” The Oracle, come to life in Barefoot Recording Studio in Hollywood!

The work is a 12-minute exploration of the human condition as told through the symbology of a tarot deck. It’s written for five musicians, who each represent an important natural element: piano (Tree of Life), violin (Fire), cello (Water), flute (Air), and clarinet (Earth).

Many thanks to the following people for making this possible: Agnes Schwartz (violin), Pola Benke (cello), Liz LaCoste (flute/piccolo), Ryan Glass (clarinet), Masako Klassen (piano), and David Martinez (engineer).

I’ll announce when the recording is ready for release. In the meantime enjoy these photos from our recording session!

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New Single Available

Now available on all your favorite platforms is the single, “La Partita Electronica”!

J.S. Bach gets groovy!

Based on an unaccompanied violin partita variation from the eighteenth century by Bach, layers of electronic elements breathe new life into this classic. Also appearing on this release is “Sonata Moderna (Remastered)” from 2010. “Sonata Moderna” is based on a piece from the seventeenth century (“Sonata sopra la Monica” by Biagio Marini). It was the May 2016 Akademia Winner for Best Ambient/Instrumental Song. Featuring two violins and cello with rock rhythm and chords, the past is united with the present in this driving work.

Enjoy this little amuse-bouche of mashed-up music! 🙂

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#NewTuneThursday: “The Elusive Everyman and Her Majesty” from Music for The Book of I

Welcome to #NewTuneThursday!

“The Elusive Everyman and Her Majesty” represents our main character, forced to live everyday with his mental illness, unsure who is real and who is not… Though that’s not entirely true– all the characters are very real to him.

Here’s how I put the work together; it’s really my most formulaic of the whole suite, which I think suits the mental state of our character…

This track represents one part of the two-fold heart of the main character’s ultimate saga, in my musical interpretation of it. Essentially, this track is comprised of an increasing hodge-podge of melodic fragments — ripped violently from the original works in which they are first found (from “I Know What Death Sounds Like,” “Faces in Foam,” and The Everyman and Her Majesty themes at the beginning of this present track) — that swirl into an angry and frustrating mass of sound and angular textures, up until the very end, when they merge together into The Whiteness of Teaston’s mind. My next track will strive to illuminate musically the flip-side of Teaston’s disjointed thoughts, and the ways in which he attempts to come to terms with his schizophrenia….

Technique-wise, I assembled these fragments by first labeling them both alphabetically and numerically, then, taking seven of Teaston’s own chaotic fragments of thought from random places in the book (“Ever will I?”; “Can I?”; “Consumption”; “Hello Blood”; “The Cliff, Thanks”; “And the Water”; “Even My Face”), I used the letters and syllables of these phrase-lets to “spell” out and overlay the musical phrases.

How many of the phrases from these earlier tracks can you recognize, rushing and overtaking Teaston’s poor troubled mind?

I am fascinated with this work but I have yet to be happy with a performance of it… it’s just such a wickedly tricky work!

There are two versions you can listen to at this point: a live version that’s not entirely accurate but has a lot of heart, and a digital rendition that is spot on as far as accuracy goes but is missing a little bit of the humanness to it… See what you think! 😉

Listen on Amazon Music
Listen on YouTube Music

Listen on Amazon Music (Live Version)
Listen on YouTube Music (Live version)

“The Elusive Everyman and Her Majesty” can be performed by an advanced ensemble. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our new work…

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#NewTuneThursday: Greek Dance

Welcome to #NewTuneThursday!

“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!

Below, you can hear the original quartet recording, as well as see the video from NWOP’s performance of the string orchestra version. Enjoy!

Listen on Amazon Music
Listen on YouTube Music

“Greek Dance” can be performed by groups of intermediate to advanced ability. Get the sheet music for the quartet here, and the string orchestra music here! And stay tuned for our new work of next week…

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#NewTuneThursday: Organic Circuitry

Welcome to #NewTuneThursday!

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! 😀

See what you think of it below!

Listen on Amazon Music
Listen on YouTube Music

“Organic Circuitry” can be performed by an intermediate-to-advanced ensemble. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our new work of next week…

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#NewTuneThursday: Dance the Dream

Welcome to #NewTuneThursday!

“Dance the Dream” merges an electronic ostinato with looped parts for electric and acoustic violins, accompanied by electric bass, creating a rich tapestry of dreamy color.

This little piece was meant to be a “spiritual sibling” to the 2003 electric violin work “Personal Echo,” utilizing a electronically looped ostinato as well as repeated phrases in the string parts that layered in and out of each other over the course of a basic ternary form. It’s really a very simple concept, but out of that evolves a lot of possibility!

I especially dig the chord progressions and the rich texture that blossoms out of them…

Enjoy listening to the live single of “Dance the Dream” below!

Listen on Amazon Music
Listen on YouTube Music

“Dance the Dream” can be performed by an early-intermediate ensemble. There are a couple different ensemble versions of this work available:

  • Get the original version (with parts for 6-string (or 5-string) electric violin, 4-string acoustic violin, and electric bass, as well as the mp3 Official Backing Track created to accompany this ensemble) here.
  • Get the all Acoustic Version (with parts for two acoustic violins, viola [or cello], and electric bass, as well as two mp3 Official Acoustic Backing Tracks created to accompany this ensemble — one of which includes a pre-recorded bass part, and the other which is the electric ostinato only, to accompany all four parts live) here.

And stay tuned for our new work of next week…

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#NewTuneThursday: The Oracle

Welcome to #NewTuneThursday!

Today’s tune for flute/piccolo, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano is “An Experiment in Aleatorism & Formula” from 2016.

Using 50 tarot cards to create the framework, there is both an element of chance (in that the process of drawing the cards and their placement in the 5 separate tarot spreads, is all random) and an element of “foreordained knowledge” (or pre-compositional structure).

“The Oracle” has thus emerged as a multi-faceted, deeply layered, story-driven reflection of the human condition.

I totally dig the intersection of free-will or chance and structural formula at which Art’s uniqueness can emerge… 😉

You can read more about my inner processes at this post.

Enjoy a recording below, as well as a demo “music video” after that. 🙂

Purchase this recording at http://cbttf.com/albums/parokeths-veil

“The Oracle” can be performed by an advanced ensemble. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our new work of next week…

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“Greek Dance” for String Orchestra–World Premiere on Saturday!

Come join me THIS Saturday afternoon in Pasadena for, not only the debut concert of an exciting new orchestra, but the world premiere of my short, spunky work for string orchestra, “Greek Dance“! Originally written for string quartet back in 2002, I was specially invited to create this arrangement of that tune for the strings of the Neue World Orchestra Project.

NWOP’s first concert will open with a world premiere arrangement of the animated and whimsical new piece, “Greek Dance”, arranged specifically for the group by contemporary composer Sarah Wallin Huff. Following the Wallin Huff premiere piece, violinist Yu-Ting Wu performs Saint-Saëns’ dazzling and seductive “Havanaise for Violin and Orchestra”, a piece that commands a balance of athletic virtuosity and grace from the violin. Concluding the program is Russian pianist Ekaterina Bessmeltseva, who makes her LA debut with Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major”, a concerto that is overflowing with songful melodies suffused with delicate and impressive artistry from the soloist and orchestra. (—>Concert Info)

Again the concert is FREE, and it’s Saturday March 10, starting at 1pm. Reserve your place by getting tickets here!

I’m really looking forward to it; hope to see you there! 😉

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#NewTuneThursday: In the Forest (Amazing Grace)

Welcome to #NewTuneThursday!

This original work…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 string quartet was composed in 2011 at the request of Danielle Rosaria Cummins. The piece (as only “In the Forest”) existed originally as an unfinished sketch for solo piano, started some years prior. When I was requested to compose a quick-and-dirty string quartet arrangement of the traditional Amazing Grace for a formal fundraising banquet being held in two days, I decided to take this old sketch of “In the Forest” and turn it into this present string quartet.

Enjoy the performance of this haunting little work below!

Listen on Amazon Music
Listen on YouTube Music

“In the Forest (Amazing Grace)” can be performed by an intermediate quartet. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our new work of next week…