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#NewTuneThursday: “The Elusive Everyman and Her Majesty” from Music for The Book of I

Welcome to #NewTuneThursday!

“The Elusive Everyman and Her Majesty” represents our main character, forced to live everyday with his mental illness, unsure who is real and who is not… Though that’s not entirely true– all the characters are very real to him.

Here’s how I put the work together; it’s really my most formulaic of the whole suite, which I think suits the mental state of our character…

This track represents one part of the two-fold heart of the main character’s ultimate saga, in my musical interpretation of it. Essentially, this track is comprised of an increasing hodge-podge of melodic fragments — ripped violently from the original works in which they are first found (from “I Know What Death Sounds Like,” “Faces in Foam,” and The Everyman and Her Majesty themes at the beginning of this present track) — that swirl into an angry and frustrating mass of sound and angular textures, up until the very end, when they merge together into The Whiteness of Teaston’s mind. My next track will strive to illuminate musically the flip-side of Teaston’s disjointed thoughts, and the ways in which he attempts to come to terms with his schizophrenia….

Technique-wise, I assembled these fragments by first labeling them both alphabetically and numerically, then, taking seven of Teaston’s own chaotic fragments of thought from random places in the book (“Ever will I?”; “Can I?”; “Consumption”; “Hello Blood”; “The Cliff, Thanks”; “And the Water”; “Even My Face”), I used the letters and syllables of these phrase-lets to “spell” out and overlay the musical phrases.

How many of the phrases from these earlier tracks can you recognize, rushing and overtaking Teaston’s poor troubled mind?

I am fascinated with this work but I have yet to be happy with a performance of it… it’s just such a wickedly tricky work!

There are two versions you can listen to at this point: a live version that’s not entirely accurate but has a lot of heart, and a digital rendition that is spot on as far as accuracy goes but is missing a little bit of the humanness to it… See what you think! 😉

Listen on Amazon Music
Listen on YouTube Music

Listen on Amazon Music (Live Version)
Listen on YouTube Music (Live version)

“The Elusive Everyman and Her Majesty” can be performed by an advanced ensemble. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our new work…

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Sneak Peek into Recording Prep for “Intrepid”

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:

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#NewTuneThursday: Greek Dance

Welcome to #NewTuneThursday!

“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!

Below, you can hear the original quartet recording, as well as see the video from NWOP’s performance of the string orchestra version. Enjoy!

Listen on Amazon Music
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“Greek Dance” can be performed by groups of intermediate to advanced ability. Get the sheet music for the quartet here, and the string orchestra music here! And stay tuned for our new work of next week…

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#NewTuneThursday: Bonnie Prince Charlie

Welcome to #NewTuneThursday!

This has always been such a fun medley to play!

Based on a set of traditional Scottish tunes, this 5.5 minute long work is a sweeping journey of melody, color, and heart. Beginning somberly with a single violin, it soon opens up and begins driving forward. Each consecutive tune increases in tempo and ferocity until the set ends in a passionate, victorious rendition of the title tune, “Bonnie Prince Charlie.” Though the melodies reflect the ageless tunes on which they’re based, the chords and harmony parts are all original, bringing the classic fiddle sound into a fresh, modern light.

This work took a long time to put together, in the sense that I grew up “fiddling around” on each of these traditional tunes, and others. So I guess this medley is sort of a microcosm of my joyful foray into traditional Celtic music throughout my youth. I eventually had an opportunity to use the ending arrangement of “Bonnie Prince Charlie” with another song that I was playing with a band. And from there, it just evolved into this awesomely fun work!

There are currently two versions of the sheet music available:

In the recording below, you’ll hear the version for string trio (2 fiddles and viola). Enjoy!

Listen on Amazon Music
Listen on YouTube Music

“Bonnie Prince Charlie” can be performed by an early-intermediate ensemble. Stay tuned for our new work of next week…

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“Greek Dance” for String Orchestra–World Premiere on Saturday!

Come join me THIS Saturday afternoon in Pasadena for, not only the debut concert of an exciting new orchestra, but the world premiere of my short, spunky work for string orchestra, “Greek Dance“! Originally written for string quartet back in 2002, I was specially invited to create this arrangement of that tune for the strings of the Neue World Orchestra Project.

NWOP’s first concert will open with a world premiere arrangement of the animated and whimsical new piece, “Greek Dance”, arranged specifically for the group by contemporary composer Sarah Wallin Huff. Following the Wallin Huff premiere piece, violinist Yu-Ting Wu performs Saint-Saëns’ dazzling and seductive “Havanaise for Violin and Orchestra”, a piece that commands a balance of athletic virtuosity and grace from the violin. Concluding the program is Russian pianist Ekaterina Bessmeltseva, who makes her LA debut with Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major”, a concerto that is overflowing with songful melodies suffused with delicate and impressive artistry from the soloist and orchestra. (—>Concert Info)

Again the concert is FREE, and it’s Saturday March 10, starting at 1pm. Reserve your place by getting tickets here!

I’m really looking forward to it; hope to see you there! 😉

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#NewTuneThursday: Phillipy is Fragmented

Welcome to #NewTuneThursday!

Today’s tune is our next track from “Music for The Book of I” — Phillipy is Fragmented.

Phillipy refers to himself in the third person, as if existing as a separate entity from his very self. I find the habit interesting, a sport of sorts, a way of explaining one’s actions from a distance.
Phillipy knocks at the door…three times…
“…three times, that’s all Phillipy can take.”
He can tell when thoughts are tangled. He may speak in the third person but he is linear, he follows one thought with the next… 

In creating this track, I wanted to really feature Phillipy’s autistic obsession with precision and the number 3 in the following ways:

  • the work features a solo trio (violin, viola, and cello) against the backdrop of the string orchestra.
  • the main sections “plunk” along with pedantic and clockwork rigor
  • at around 1:58 in the recording, the accompanying harmonies are outlined with ascending triadic arpeggios… (meanwhile, the harmonic progression is descending… pretty cool, right??) ^_^
  • at two points in the recording (1:58 and 3:48), the main theme is broken up by two variant themes that move the rhythm along in 3/4 as opposed to the methodical 4/4 we started in.
  • at around 2:58 in the recording, the solo trio plucks out the dissonant “knock three times” motif that is one of Phillipy’s compulsions — and they repeat this three-note motif…three times in a row…

And finally, toward the very end of the work (around 4:04), we hear the descending glide of the violins as Phillipy “goes to meet his mother”… and we finish with a stark, triplet rendition of the main theme from “I Know What Death Sounds Like“… a theme that tends to emerge everywhere you look in this Suite… 😉

Enjoy the recording of “Phillipy is Fragmented” below — featuring Darrell Peries on solo violin; Cathy Alonzo on solo viola; and Jenna Ford on solo cello.

Listen on Amazon Music
Listen on YouTube Music

This heart-wrenching little musical sonnet 🙂 can be performed by an intermediate-advanced trio. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our new work of next week…

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Help Support Our Musicians, & Be Named on the Album!

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! 😀

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Kudos to GoStrings.com!

I just wanted to send a quick shout out to GoStrings.com – I was thinking of them as it came time to reorder new strings for Flora… I love their Build Your Own Custom [Violin, Viola, Cello] Set option!! It’s so unique, and so smart! 

I’ve used this option for both Flora (my violin) and Minerva (my viola). I once took the time to compare prices between all the online retailers I’ve used in the past, or have had friends use, and, for the strings I need, the Build Your Own set at GoStrings is the cheapest option by far! Having me build my own custom set, they’re able to offer each string at a huge discount, so it ends up being way cheaper than going and buying each string on its own – which is the only other option when you don’t use all 4 of the same string. Plus, for my Flora, her favorite G, D, & A stings are super hard to find anywhere else, I’ve discovered… 

FYI, I also got my beautiful BAM case from them during an incredible sale they were offering!… 😉

I only have one request for GoStrings…that they set up a general returning guest option, for those of us who don’t have a Yahoo or aol account… ;-p

Go check them out! They’re great!

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May Musical Madness!

So, May is shaping up to be a really exciting month of debuts and unique concerts! First up…

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This is shaping up to be a really fun gig of Modern Music with a Twist! Lainey and I will be joined by four of our talented friends and guest musicians to play instrumental music that is a unique blend of folk, rock, and electronic — you won’t want to miss this!

The only way we’re guaranteed the chance to perform for you – both this show and future shows – is if we can show the venue and booking company that we have fans who are dedicated to showing up and enjoying our music. How does that happen? By purchasing your tickets for May 19 NOW!

**Afton has just given our fans a new discount code!!! Enter MEMORIES956 before May 11 and save $2 — I am also continuing my FREE MERCH offer with this promotion! Order your ticket before May 11 and choose any one of my albums for free! **

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Sunday May 15 — Two Wallin Huff debuts! 🙂

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There’s more exciting news to come soon, like a certain, summertime album release of a certain exciting world premiere…!! 😀

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New Sheet Music Added: INTREPID

At last, the sheet music – both the Score alone, and the Score & Parts – for “INTREPID: A Fantasy for Oboe/English Horn Soloist and Chamber Ensemble” is available!

Check out my Sheet Music Store for this and other available works for a large variety of instrumental and vocal combinations!

https://soundcloud.com/sarah-wallin-huff/intrepid-fantasy-for-oboeenglish-horn-soloist-live-demo-version