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.
…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.
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.
In a world where adventure calls and the intrepid answer… where the daring explore a mystifying world of Dream and Thought… where heartbreak twists into furious desperation… where virtuosic fits of funkiness stare brazenly into the face of danger… where forgetfulness drives discovery and hope…
In this world, Leviathan — a creature that haunts the Ancient Depths — lies in wait to strike upon those that seek its legendary might!
Who will win this contest of wills? The stirring waves bear witness to this eternal struggle…
Get an exclusive sneak peek at all the tracks on the upcoming “Legend Seekers” album below! If you like what you hear, pre-order the album on Bandcamp to receive two tracks NOW ahead of release as well as several extra goodies, like exclusive Leviathan artwork and liner notes! Coming soon, there’ll also be a Spotify […]
Evoking the driving forces of metamorphosis and migration, INTREPID is a cinematic Fantasy for soloist on oboe and english horn, with small chamber orchestra accompaniment. It is rich in color and texture, persistently forward-moving on its sweeping journey.
Completed in 2015, this work consists of a rather unusual ensemble, as it was written for a very specific group in mind. But, in fact, I love how this unique texture plays into all the richness of color and harmony as well as transparency. This is definitely one of my favorite works; I love the melody and harmonies… someday I hope to re-record it with an expert group. 🙂
Our first new composition of the new year is a 2013 work for solo soprano, women’s choir, piano, and string orchestra, with english horn and soprano recorder.
Completed in 2013, Of Roses and Lilies is “A Romantic Expression Based on King Solomon’s Song of Songs.” Flirting with musical and dramatic elements from Medieval Europe to the ancient Middle East and Greek Theatre, this work features the solo soprano in the role of The Woman. She expresses her love, devotion, and delight toward her Lover while the Daughters of Jerusalem — as with that of the collective commentary of a Greek chorus — listen and engage with The Woman in her tales touting the glories of her Beloved.
The work is in three major sections following the expressive and fluid introduction: the first in A Minor, introducing the characters and their vivid emotions; the second in A Major, during which The Woman shares a tale of her Lover calling her to escape with him into the night… “For the winter is past and the rain gone…” —when for a moment she hesitates, she wonders if she is too late, only to find that he is still there waiting for her, encouraging her with the sweet words of his continued adoration toward her; the third section returns to the original themes in A Minor, yet gains an expression of great power and fervency as The Woman’s love for her Beloved utterly transforms her.
Here’s some cool background trivia for you: I actually originally created this work (for piano and all the voices without the strings and winds) several years prior… Maybe as far back as 2003-ish?? And this was during the time I was still writing everything by hand, with pencil on paper! After it sat around for 10 more years or so, I took another look at it and decided to polish it up… It was just too charming to allow it to disappear into obscurity. And then, as I worked on it, I decided I needed more instruments to really flesh it out the way it was meant to be… 😉
You can hear it below, featuring one of my former composition students, Ayla Draper-Lippincott, on the solo voice part.
“Of Roses and Lilies” can be performed by an intermediate-advanced ensemble. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our new work of next week…
I’m super excited to have finally organized my thoughts regarding the unifying elements of my upcoming album into an effective album description.
“The word Paroketh (PRKTh) refers to the Four Elements: Peh (Water), Resh (Air), Kaph (Fire), and Tau (Earth). It is the Veil of the Temple before the Holy of Holies… a veil made up of the four classical elements of the human body” (Dan Sewell Ward, Feb 2007). In the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the “Veil of Paroketh” lies between the middle branches of intention, or consciousness, and the lowest branches of our physical reality. Everything “above” Paroketh’s Veil emerges from our conscious decisions and beyond… from the past stories and experiences that help shape our intentions to act as we choose in the world.
A vintage aura of story and myth envelops this intimate collection of chamber music. For example, “Falada” — Portuguese for “speaking” or “discourse” — brings to mind the role storytellers of old played in their communities, passing down vital history and life lessons to the young. “Weeping Willow” recalls emotional whirlwinds of despair, hope, and passion — emotions common to us all. “Forgotten Melody” seeks deep within the soul to uncover that which was once hidden. And the three diverse works — “Of Roses and Lilies,” “Aradia, La Bella Pellegrina,” and “The Oracle” — tell the stories of their respective characters: ancient tales that continue to impact our modern culture.
May we embrace our past stories to uncover the commonality inherent to all humanity.
Now, not only are you able to choose from these exclusive gifts for supporting our dedicated musicians, but if you refer your friends and they contribute, you may win 1 of 3 beautifully designed prizes in our Referral Contest!!
We’re doing it– We’re gonna record “Of Roses and Lilies” (my beautiful, neo-Romantic work for Soprano soloist, women’s choir, and small orchestra), this April!!!
And, I want to pay our small orchestra for their work; please consider pitching in, and choose from awesome rewards! Like, getting your name & PHOTO in the Album notes, getting a signed score of the work, getting the finished & signed album, choosing free albums from my existing discography…
This campaign ends March 12th!! Please check it out, and spread the word! We all appreciate your help! 😀
A talented friend of mine, Terry Halvorson — oboe, english horn, and recorders-of-all-sizes player extraordinaire — has asked me to compose a new work for his upcoming senior recital. Not only am I always thrilled to write something new for the people I know and love, I’m so pleased with how this work is finally coming along; it took me a bit to get a feel for the nature of this piece and see it unfold.
Enjoy this brief 3 minute teaser demo of my opening ideas from this new, rapidly emerging Fantasy for Oboe and English Horn!