These past few months have been indescribably fulfilling, yet chaotic, as these things usually go, lol. 😉 I’m nearly through my first semester as a music professor for Cal Poly Pomona; I’ve spent nearly every waking moment setting up and teaching my new classes! I’ve really been enjoying this adventure, and I look forward to each following experience with this wonderful school.
Naturally, as the semester draws toward a close, I’ve been itching to get back to composing and completing my upcoming album, “Legend Seekers” – I’ll be able to start getting back to these projects in just another few weeks, yay! In the meantime, I’ve been meaning to set up this blog post to showcase some of the photos and videos documenting our recording sessions for “Intrepid” and some of the other works that will appear on this upcoming album… Enjoy the gallery and impromptu videos below!
Don’t forget… if you’d like to be a Backstage Supporter of this and other future projects, visit the Backstage Community to see what perks are available–like autographed copies of scores and albums as well as your name listed on the albums you support!
A very special thanks to everybody who has patiently worked with me to make this become a reality!! <3
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!
Welcome to #NewTuneThursday! (Parts of this post were published three years ago.)
The story behind “Butterfly Lullaby” is an interesting one! While I completed it in its present state in 2012, it actually existed long before that as a simple violin and piano duet called, “A Lyrical Interlude,” originally composed in 1998…. Wow! It is truly a blast-from-my-past – I was only 18 years old! ?
Late in 2012 – before I had any real discography – I had decided that, with some of my more current works slated to come out on the Navona Recordings label soon, I wanted to self-produce a very simple, eclectic album of all my older and perhaps more naive compositions – because I still enjoy them and didn’t want them to be forgotten, even though they were early works from a much younger composer. ? As I was compiling all the pieces I wanted to record and include on this album, I came across my old little violin/piano duet, which I had performed several times years prior with friends in private concerts and events. It lacked the intro and “bridge” section of the current Lullaby, and it didn’t modulate keys as it does now, so it was very short and simple. But I loved it dearly and really wanted to include it.
I considered to myself how, in 2012, I rarely played the violin part any more, but I did find myself singing it regularly! So, I said to myself, why not 1) turn the violin part into a vocal solo and add lyrics, 2) keep and embellish the piano part, and 3) add another melodic line to harmonize with the vocal part?
I went to work on it with excitement and finished “Butterfly Lullaby” in only a matter of days! With such a charming and unpretentious melody I knew it had to be a lullaby of some sort, and, after some light research, I had decided that the topic would be loosely based on Native American mythology – that of the tale of the Butterfly as the bringer and keeper of dreams. And, from that moment on, this piece was given a grand rebirth!
Take this Butterfly, Bye-Bye, Sweet Child; Embrace her comfort as her wings brush against your skin. And with your breath whisper a wish Into her ear; She’ll make no sound but trust it only to Heav’n. Dance beneath the Moon, Bye-Bye, Sweet Child. His guardian light embraces all of the earth and sky. And as you lay your heavy head Upon your bed, The Butterfly will bring your dreams while you sleep. Though sorrow looms, be not afraid; Time wil prove true. Shake the dust from your wings; Give thanks for life’s renewal! Behold the Morning Star breaks forth. Fare thee well, Sweet Child. And with the dawn, ancestral spirits smile down on you. Sleep well and dream the Dream of Hope, Bye-Bye, Sweet Child. Butterflies will greet you when you awake.
“Butterfly Lullaby” can be performed by an early-intermediate ensemble. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our new work of next week…
Completed in 2011 for the Rosé Violin Trio of Los Angeles, this complex and experimental work consists of three movements:
I. Intervallic Structure (Andante con moto)
II. Tone and Color (Meno mosso)
III. Urban Rhythm (Allegro ma non troppo)
Based upon a strict and unvarying formula of patterns that are passed equally between the three violin parts, all three movements utilize this same precise structure of “A, B, C, and Ostinato” phrases, which were developed and plotted out meticulously by Wallin Huff prior to the actual composition of any one note. Each movement, however, while still based upon the same formulaic set of patterns, is then varied by the compositional material of the four phrases themselves. The phrases’ material is each based upon very different scalar patterns, depending on the particular movement’s character: Intervallic Structure is an exploration of pitting certain intervals against each other; Tone and Color is a wash of purely tonal and consonant patterns; Urban Rhythm strictly focuses on the pitting of rhythmic patterns of two’s versus three’s against one another in a “sterile” pentatonic tonal environment.
Counterpoint Invariable is a successful thought-experiment, turned to driving and evocative emotional artwork, highlighting Wallin Huff’s ongoing fascination with the logic of mechanical structure giving way to outward beauty. It is a true, fulfilling reward to perform and explore this work in its entirety.
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… 😉
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!
Today’s tune is another really special piece to me, with lots of good memories attached to it. ^_^
“Anima Mechanicae: Soul of the Machine” is a string quartet that I wrote in 2007, during my grad school days and toward the end of my utter obsession with Minimalism, specifically after the stylings of Philip Glass. Listening to the recording of it below, I’m sure you’ll be able to hear the similarities. :p
But this work has a story element to it, that’s near and dear to my heart. The Mechanical Star of the work is actually a character that makes her first appearance in the second book of my original Kesher Chronicles series, “Questions of Faith.”
This character, SARA (an advanced “Security Analysis and Records Archive’ malleable-Paradigm”) — over the course of the second and upcoming third books — becomes very involved in the lives of the humans around her and tries to orient herself within her constantly evolving thought-processes…
You can see why I included the following quote in the score to the quartet:
Dedicated to the computers and robots of the future, who long to dream as the humans do.
The structural details behind this almost-12 minute work include:
…moments of mechanical coldness [in the opening], gradually giving way to moments of tender and emotional beauty. Wallin Huff intentionally derived and fashioned her various rhythmic and tonal patterns throughout the work from strict mathematical relationships — to showcase that a mechanically constructed framework can give way to striking beauty on its surface, much in the way a computer program of the future might evolve into its abstract dream-state.
The sections of this single-movement work include: Mechanically, Quixotically, Pensively, With impish behavior, Tenderly, and Surreal.