I have to admit that it’s a weird feeling, thinking about recording live musicians again, after this long year of distancing. I’d gotten so used to the idea of relying on myself and my computer for everything! But, while I do wonder if I will know “how to people” again soon enough (lol), I am looking forward to working with my friends and colleagues, making music in person again. And I think this project is a great way to get myself into the groove again. <3
Enjoy listening to this brand new compilation album of new chamber works, including my haunting tarot-quintet, “The Oracle“!
LOCK & KEY VOL II is the second presentation of five composers drawing from the well of inspiration – in highly heterogeneous ways and from a plethora of sources, yet all united by a common theme: the profound depths of the human experience. The pieces all revel exuberantly: in the natural beauty of Iceland, the nostalgia evoked by a distantly familiar melody, the random augury of a deck of tarot cards, late 19th Century anthems adapted for woodwind quintet, or the kinetic energy of musical gestures. Confidently asserting that all facets and walks of life can be a source of music if you listen closely enough, LOCK & KEY VOL II features brand-new chamber works by Sarah Wallin-Huff, Herbert Deutsch, Kenneth Kuhn, Carol Barnett, and Philippe Kocher.
This past spring, the Cal Poly Pomona Music and Dance Departments were gearing up to perform modern music with dance in an exiting concert together. Unfortunately Covid-19 hit, and the concert, with everything else, was cancelled. We are hoping to one day revive this effort, though.
In the meantime, the Dance Department put together a wonderful archive of what we had accomplished before the shutdowns. Below, enjoy a rehearsal video from the session when pianist Mike Jung and I were able to join the dancers, playing the first movement of my work “Gypsy Wanderer” as they rehearsed!
A little more insight about this particular project…
Choreography – Kim Gadlin (faculty) Music Composer and Performance by – Sarah Wallin Huff (faculty) Music – Gypsy Wanderer: Irreverently Performers – Francisca Chaparro, Alondra De Leon, Debbie Martin, Kara Rickman, Milan Robertson
The main theme of the dance was the feeling of being tied down, and eventually breaking free from shackles. There were ideas that the dancers were going to interact with the live musicians as they played on stage. I enjoyed how we all would learn phrases of movement and then decide amongst one another to decide who we thought performed it best or portrayed the vision precisely… All who were a part of the piece ensured an open and supportive space which allowed artistry and ideas to flow.
This piece illustrated strong performers attempting to release themselves from confinement. The choreographer had visions of the performers becoming entangled in ribbons trying to break free. The piece was packed with quick footwork and intricate floor work. The music was up-tempo, but lovely. It was very well done by a violinist and pianist; we even had the pleasure of meeting them and dancing to their piece live in the studio. I had high hopes for this piece and grew to love it. A big takeaway for me about this process was, there is beauty in the process of becoming.
Hearing this piece and being able to practice to it live was a whole new experience for all of us. Right away you could see a change in how we approached this dance and it felt amazing…The piece was so close to being finished…Hopefully we’ll be able to come back to the dance in the future since it held a strong presence.
Free-writes and reflections from (Per)spectives ensemble members
If you’ve enjoyed “The Raven” from my recent suite for viola and piano, Nevermore, then you might be pleased to know I’ve just finished the second movement, “Annabel Lee.”
I think this poem by Edgar Allen Poe might be one of my favorite literary works… 🤔🥰 I tried to keep the sense of innocence and deep sorrow in this musical rendition. There is a third and final movement–“Tell-Tale Heart”–planned for the future, too; so keep an eye out for that. 😉
In the meantime, enjoy the simple demo of “Annabel Lee” below…
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).
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! 🙂