FYI, my featured composition—the debut performance of “Crystallization”—is first on the program; don’t miss it! 😜
This unique program curated by pianist Marta Brankovich features women composers from different parts of the world, all with works released on Navona Records and produced by PARMA Recordings. Brankovich, whose works War and Victory are also included in the program, says, “I have never experienced more diverse, eclectic, sensible, and New Age music in the same repertoire. Composers I have chosen have left a very personal mark on me as a classical pianist and composer. Each of these artists have incredible stories, fantastic musical journeys, and have made a huge impact on the 21st century composing process that I am happy to share.”
Today, Sarah is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to discover how Disneyland helped solidify her desire to create music as a kid…
Wallin-Huff’s brooding The Dark Glass Sinfonia is as mysterious as its title, the composer here melding atonality with modal harmony in a dramatic tone poem that recalls at certain moments Bartok and Shostakovich… The quality level is high throughout [the album], but the release earns its recommendation for the pieces by Alabaca, Wallin-Huff, and Vassdal in particular. Of all the album’s settings, one imagines these three would most stop an audience in its collective tracks upon encountering them in a concert set-list.
My Dark Glass Sinfonia for symphony orchestra is the second track on this amazing album, coming out soon from Navona Records. And you can pre-order it now! 🙂
…Next comes Dark Glass Sinfonia by Sarah Wallin Huff, in which crumpled dissonances flower into exuberant tonality, capitalizing on the full dynamic range of the orchestra… In PRISMA VOL. 3, seven masters of this challenging artform rethink what a symphony orchestra is capable of, and in so doing, present their audience with a unique and gratifying musical experience.
PARMA recordings is just about ready to start manufacturing of “Prisma Vol. 3”—the orchestral compilation album that my “Dark Glass Sinfonia” will appear on! I love the little blurb they came up for it in the liner notes; so perfect!
”Next comes Dark Glass Sinfonia by Sarah Wallin Huff, in which crumpled dissonances flower into exuberant tonality, capitalizing on the full dynamic range of the orchestra.” (PARMA Recordings)
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.
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.
…All this begs the question: If I have the capability of cheaply producing good quality albums on my own, why do I need to fund-raise for this Ultimate Leviathan Project? Why not go it on my own? Simply put…
This piece is just too big for me to produce all on my own.