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#NewTuneThursday— Anima Mechanicae: Soul of the Machine

Welcome to #NewTuneThursday!

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.

I’ll never forget the opportunity I had in 2012, traveling to Boston to hear the New EnglandString Quartet record this work for PARMA Recordings. You can hear them in that very session on the album “Soul of the Machine” below:

 

Two years later, “Anima Mechanicae” got its European debut at a concert at the Exeter Phoenix Auditorium in Devon, England!

I do have sketches and outlines for a multi-movement “sister” piece for quartet …something about Consciousness… :p It would be nice to complete that one someday soon… I’ll keep you posted! 🙂

“Anima Mechanicae: Soul of the Machine” can be performed by an advanced string quartet. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our new work of next week…

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“Soul of the Machine” – Available August 12th!

Look what just recently came in the mail… My new solo compositional album, Soul of the Machine, is a VERY beautiful final product from PARMA Recordings! I’m so thrilled to see it all finished!

It will be officially available August 12. Mark your calendars! 😀

As in a Philip K. Dick or Isaac Asimov novel, composer Sarah Wallin Huff’s music on SOUL OF THE MACHINE, her debut solo release on Navona Records, explores the relationships between mechanical structures, organic beauty, and identity.

Wallin Huff’s string quartet “Anima Mechanicae: Soul of the Machine” is a reimagining of minimalist techniques, in the style of Philip Glass, and uses mathematical ratios to determine rhythmic and tonal patterns, setting a science fiction tale of a computer that is given the chance to experience human emotions. Another work that has an overarching tale, one of uncertainty and identity, is “Courage Triptych,” a cinematic suite of “images,” while “Adoré” transforms the hymn “My Tribute” by Andraé Crouch into an open and ethereal piece, remindful of Charles Ives’ “The Unanswered Question.” The sonata for violin and piano, “Gypsy Wanderer,” is a study of patterns, colors, and formula, creating rhythmic and harmonic wanderings. The three movements of “Counterpoint Invariable” follow a strict arrangement of phrases, varying only the compositional material, illustrating that mechanical designs can produce emotive beauty.

— backing text for Soul of the Machine

Soul of the Machine album_inside Soul of the Machine album_cover

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On the Horizon

I have a couple of exciting things on the horizon….

  • First, the FINAL RECORDING SESSION for my new album with PARMA is fast approaching! On December 28th, at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport,

    This place is freaking beautiful!!!!
    This place is freaking beautiful!!!!

    MA, my two chamber works, Counterpoint Invariable for violin trio and Gypsy Wanderer for violin and piano, will be recorded by these marvelously talented ladies:

    • On Gypsy Wanderer: sisters Maria Wozniakiewicz (violin) and Karolina Rojahn (piano).
    • On Counterpoint Invariable: Klaudia Szlachta (violin 1), Julia Okrusko (violin 2 — Julia is the featured first violinist with the New England String Quartet and recorded the definitive recording of my quartet, “Anima Mechanicae: Soul of the Machine“!), and Maria Wozniakiewicz (violin 3).
    • I’ve also had the opportunity to chat with the producer for this recording, Mason Daring (who wrote and recorded the score for the movie, “Music of the Heart,” among other things); I really enjoyed getting to know him and look forward to working with him on the 28th!
    • And our engineer for the session will be the highly knowledgable and experienced Tom Stephenson.
  • Second, I have been asked to compose a full album to go with, and in response to… a novel…! I’m really thrilled about this project! Psychiatrist Jorge Armenteros of Florida has written a creative novel entitled, The Book of I, about a French artist struggling with fragmented personality scenarios–with lots of symbolism and intrigue, from what I hear… I’ll be diving into Jorge’s manuscript very soon, and I’ve already got ideas floating around my brain for new compositions related to this project…
  • And third… I got a pleasant surprise in my inbox the other day, when Simon Belshaw wrote me and said that he plans on including my string quartet “Anima Mechanicae: Soul of the Machine” in a modern music concert in the UK that he is in the process of curating. I’m not sure of any of the details at this point, but I am entirely thrilled and flattered that my little work aims to be performed there soon!
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ALLUSIONS, coming soon…

Hey everybody! Guess what I stumbled upon!

Check it out! It’s a YouTube sampler of the PARMA Recordings upcoming album (more info on Navona’s catalogue page for the album here), on which “Anima Mechanicae” as recorded by the New England String Quartet, is featured as the first track!! :mrgreen: WOOT!!

Album to be officially released on September 24, 2013.