…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.
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.
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.
Fall 2013 at The Master’s College, I’m scheduled not only to continue teaching my private composition students and directing the Chamber Strings (I’m plotting to throw them into some Tchaikovsky and Beethoven next!), but I’ve also been given the task of teaching two upper level classes: Tonal Counterpoint and 20th Century Analysis. Yay!!!
I’m really looking forward to setting these classes up and working through them with my students in the Fall. I’ve finally finished choosing my textbooks to be placed in the bookstore for the students enrolled in the classes, and I’ve started looking them over (or will, when the few that are still on their way arrive); this will be very fun and enlightening for all of us!
Since this is going to be the only counterpoint class offered, I’m going to introduce thestudents to both modal and tonal counterpoint; I like giving historical perspective, so they can see where we’ve been and where we are right now, and why. This textbook looks great so far!
I finally decided on these three books only yesterday, so I’m really looking forward to reading through them. From their descriptions and the reviews I’ve read, they seem to be the perfect textbook set for students of largely Common Practice Era Tonal-Sensibilities, to help them gain a greater understanding and appreciation for modern music of the 20th century and its development and culture!
Don’t miss our awesome show coming up this Thursday night, 7:30 pm!!
These students are amazing, and really fun to work with; please come out for a beautiful free night of intense, emotional music, and support these talented kids!