…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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yesterday’s recording sessions were a fabulous success!
Counterpoint Invariable went like clockwork– the three talented ladies who played it nailed it nearly every single take, and they made the work come alive in ways I could only have hoped for!! (In fact, the producer of these two recordings had this to say of the violin trio: “I got totally lost in the 2nd movement of the trio for the simple reason it was so very lovely – really very special.”)
And, as I’ve mentioned, Gypsy Wanderer sounds thoroughly amazing! Passionate, on fire, beautiful… All the emotional moments in the work come alive and were captured for all to hear soon.
Keep your eyes out for news of the release of this album— you won’t want to miss the final product from all this work, seriously… It’ll be available really really soon, within only a few more months!!!!! ヽ(^o^)丿
Greetings! I thought everyone might be interested in a single post where demos of the five compositions that will be included on my upcoming PARMA album could be found… so that you can take a listen to just a small sample of the awesome-ness that we are producing and that YOU are a vital part of!
In no particular order, the new works to fill this exciting album are:
Anima Mechanicae: Soul of the Machine for string quartet, performed by the New England String Quartet (this sample track is a clip from the recording of the NESQ)[audio https://sarahwallinhuff.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/01-anima-mechanicae_-soul-of-the-machine_proclip.mp3]
Adoré for string orchestra, performed by the Moravian Philharmonic (this sample track performed by the Aineo Christian Orchestra) [audio https://sarahwallinhuff.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/14_adorc3a9_clip.mp3]
Gypsy Wanderer sonata for violin and piano (sample midi demos below)
Courage Triptych for violin duo, piano, soprano saxophone, and string orchestra, performed by the Moravian Philharmonic (sample midi demos below)
I. A Garden Prayer:
II. Broken Innocence
Come hear the Rosé Trio perform works by Vitali, Danielle Cummins 😉 , Emanuel Moór, and Moszkowski! THIS FRIDAY NIGHT, 8pm, University of La Verne, Morgan Auditorium in Founders Hall – on 3rd Street near B Street, La Verne.