This past spring, the Cal Poly Pomona Music and Dance Departments were gearing up to perform modern music with dance in an exiting concert together. Unfortunately Covid-19 hit, and the concert, with everything else, was cancelled. We are hoping to one day revive this effort, though.
In the meantime, the Dance Department put together a wonderful archive of what we had accomplished before the shutdowns. Below, enjoy a rehearsal video from the session when pianist Mike Jung and I were able to join the dancers, playing the first movement of my work “Gypsy Wanderer” as they rehearsed!
A little more insight about this particular project…
Choreography – Kim Gadlin (faculty) Music Composer and Performance by – Sarah Wallin Huff (faculty) Music – Gypsy Wanderer: Irreverently Performers – Francisca Chaparro, Alondra De Leon, Debbie Martin, Kara Rickman, Milan Robertson
The main theme of the dance was the feeling of being tied down, and eventually breaking free from shackles. There were ideas that the dancers were going to interact with the live musicians as they played on stage. I enjoyed how we all would learn phrases of movement and then decide amongst one another to decide who we thought performed it best or portrayed the vision precisely… All who were a part of the piece ensured an open and supportive space which allowed artistry and ideas to flow.
This piece illustrated strong performers attempting to release themselves from confinement. The choreographer had visions of the performers becoming entangled in ribbons trying to break free. The piece was packed with quick footwork and intricate floor work. The music was up-tempo, but lovely. It was very well done by a violinist and pianist; we even had the pleasure of meeting them and dancing to their piece live in the studio. I had high hopes for this piece and grew to love it. A big takeaway for me about this process was, there is beauty in the process of becoming.
Hearing this piece and being able to practice to it live was a whole new experience for all of us. Right away you could see a change in how we approached this dance and it felt amazing…The piece was so close to being finished…Hopefully we’ll be able to come back to the dance in the future since it held a strong presence.
Free-writes and reflections from (Per)spectives ensemble members
For your convenience and artistic variety, the original Celtic tune “Gleann Na Aes Sídhe (Glen of the Faeries)” is now available for solo fiddle and piano! Get the duo sheet music here, and enjoy the demo video below!
[C]ompleted in April of 2013, the originating sketches for this four-movement work existed as early as 2008, and were a part of Wallin Huff’s first graduate lessons in composition, while studying under Dr. Mark Carlson. “Gypsy Wanderer” is a unique addition to Wallin Huff’s repertoire in that it is an early exploration of patterns, color, and formula.
The nature of the four movements can be described in affect as follows: I. Irreverently: dance-like and fluid; II. Grave: surreal and sublime; III. Con brio: diligent and determined; IV. Rapide: passionate yet controlled. The work is riveting and soulful in its earthy and irreverent, rhythmic and harmonic wanderings.
I have had the privilege of playing this sonata, in whole and in part, several times, and each time I play it I discover something new about it as a violinist. The unexpected dichotomy of approaching a piece (especially one of my later works) as a musician versus a composer continues to fascinate me. 🙂
I am immensely grateful to sisters Maria Wozniakiewicz and Karolina Rojahn for their excellent and pristine performance of this work on the Navona album, “Soul of the Machine.” And, of course, many thanks to Parma Recordings and all others who contributed to make this album possible!
Enjoy Maria’s and Karolina’s performance of “Gypsy Wanderer” below!
“Gypsy Wanderer” can be performed by anyone with advanced ability. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our featured work next week…
I have a definite fondness for this week’s tune. “Fair Katrinelje and Pif-Paf-Poltrie” was originally composed in 2008, during my years of graduate study. It was part of a general, semester project, with the requirement that we each compose an original work for soprano, flute, cello, and piano. I’ve always had a thin for Stravinsky, and I had recently run across a darling little work of his for soprano and piano, called “The Owl and the Pussycat.” So, combining the idea of that song with my love for the Bros. Grimm and other such tales, “Fair Katrinelje” was born!
Fair Katrinelje and Pif-Paf-Poltrie is a comedic dialogue. Our hero, Pif-Paf-Poltrie, is out to seek the hand of his beloved, the Fair Katrinelje, in marriage. Being the gentleman that he is, he approaches in turn each member of his beloved’s family to ask their permission. Father Hollenthe, Mother Malcho, Brother High-and-Mighty, and Sister Käsetraut all respond in turn similarly –
essentially, “If it’s all right with everyone else, it’s all right with me.”
Later on, I had an opportunity to set another Bros. Grimm tale, “The Old Beggar-Woman,” for soprano and violin. So, my ultimate goal (which I hope to accomplish very soon) is to include these two songs in a longer song cycle, featuring 5 more tales set to music that features the soprano and is accompanied by rotating accompaniment of piano, cello, flute, and violin (think, “Quartet for the End of Time“…)
This amazing work can be played by anyone with advanced ability. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our featured work next week…
Due to a large and involved soundtrack project I recently took on (featuring my music that will appear in the background of an upcoming bingo game app), I am now able to share these fresh electronic tunes with you all as it’s own full album!
With smooth and comfortable underpinnings reminiscent of Brahms stepping out to jazz, or Zappa gently walking through a garden with a favorite melody, “simplicity” provides a meditative setting while rewarding close listening. The treasures are in the details […]