Tales from the North, Book I is my second album, now available on Bandcamp. Here are my notes about this album and this music, which was ultimately composed to be performed by living, professional musicians:
“Tales from the North is an unlimited series of compositions for two pianos and pianists. Book I consists of 12 tales.
Like stories, these pieces can start anywhere and in any mood, have anything happen in the middle, and end anywhere in any mood. Any and all emotions may be involved.
I wanted this music to be often energetic, youthful, free in every way (including in freely moving from any musical key to any other and in being unburdened by any unnecessary musical conventions), fast or slow, visceral or meditative according to the needs of each tale, capable of surprises and turns (again, like any story may involve), for active listening, concise, and rewarding upon further listens, giving more with each one.
This music had to be so free that it could take time to consider its next direction, or tread in place, or backtrack to find the right way, or stay still and inside a single chord for extended moments — this and much more.
I chose an unusual virtual piano for my own versions of these compositions: Spitfire Audio’s digital recreation of the Mrs Mills Steinway Vertegrand of Abbey Road Studios. There were many reasons for this choice rather than a pristine concert grand piano:
First, when I heard this virtual version of the piano, I was immediately enchanted by its unique tang. The instrument has lacquered hammers and isn’t perfectly tuned. This slight detuning and unique character, which may be acquired tastes — perhaps like my Tales from the North themselves — add greatly to the harmonic cloud formed in many of the tales due to their extensive and extended use of pedal.
Second, I felt it would’ve been wrong to try and create my own renditions of these pieces in the digital realm in such a way as to mimic an actual performance. These are my creations of these pieces in that digital realm and intended only as the first step, the introduction, of these compositions to the world. I didn’t want to pre-empt what I hope may happen in the future: hearing pianists perform these pieces on different types of pianos, such as concert grands.
That’s the third point: I approached Tales from the North very much from a composer’s point of view: they were created for others — living musicians — to perform and create their own interpretations of. To this end, Tales from the North will eventually be published as sheet music — a process already underway at the time of this release.
Before I finish, I wish to mention what a great inspiration the beautiful work of the Labèque Sisters has been for me — an important part of my original inspiration for embarking on this series of short pieces for piano duos.
Thank you for reading. I hope you’ll find much of interest, beautiful or strange, beguiling or shocking, overwhelming or gentle, serious or playful, in this first set of my Tales from the North.”
Again, here is the album on Bandcamp, or you can also listen to it right below (note that there are 12 tracks — you may need to scroll the playlist to see the last ones).
Passages Dark and Light is my first album. It consists of the full soundtrack of the 2nd anniversary episode (4.9) of my podcast What Now with Simo along with variant versions of some tracks.
For this episode I created a more serene version of the theme tune as well as the extended piece “Passages Dark and Light” made up of peaks and valleys. The first and last tracks present two versions of this with just the peaks without the meditative guitar valleys.
The difference is that the opening “Single Peaks Version” features no repeats, whereas the concluding “Extended Peaks Version” includes all the repeats as in that anniversary episode.
“Lovecraft’s Garden” accompanies in the episode my reading of H. P. Lovecraft’s poem “The Garden”, and the reading itself follows the music-only track.
Here is the album on Bandcamp, or you can also listen to it right below (note that there are 11 tracks — you may need to scroll the playlist to see the last one).
An Iceland Symphony is a musical composition of 21 sections involving theatrical elements. Its performance calls for musicians of all ages from the youngest to the oldest.
The full set of sheet music for An Iceland Symphony, Op. 1: A Theatrical Symphony for All Ages is available on Amazon as a hardcover, a paperback, and an ebook.
More compositions coming in the form of both sheet music and recordings. These currently include the following works and more: Tales from the North, Book I sheet music; That Dark, Dark Night; In the Fog, Deep; Early Works.