Playable Piano: Compositions of Glen Charles Halls
Deeksha Records DK 122
Short piano compositions ranging in style from songs with simple folk-like melodies, to more abstract and impressionistic works, to richly harmonic and even jazz -ballad style songs. Performed by the award winning Canadian composer himself.
Playable Piano: Audio Samples and sheet music.
|Welcome the Morning||2:25||audio||sheet music|
|Love Lovely Lady
|Bonzai Garden||2:22||audio||sheet music|
|Winter-Gentle Dark||2:34||audio||sheet music|
|Not Long Song||:36||audio||sheet music|
|Changing Hues||2:17||audio||sheet music|
|Deep Hazel Eyes||1:46||audio||sheet music|
|Chunky Chipmunk||1:56||audio||sheet music|
|Lisa Fugetto||2:02||audio||sheet music|
|Door to Andromeda||2:28||audio||sheet music|
|Temple of Byzantium||4:31||audio||sheet music|
|Magnet Man||2:35||audio||sheet music|
Ballad for Messiaen
|Tuesday Fog||2:44||audio||sheet music|
|Barber Pole||1:07||audio||sheet music|
|Yarn Table||2:50||audio||sheet music|
|Remember France||1:07||audio||sheet music|
|Circle Pedal||1:28||audio||sheet music|
|Sunny Dreams||3:07||audio||sheet music|
|In the Deep||2:22||audio||sheet music|
|Holy Child||1:57||audio||sheet music|
|Wood Horse Rocker||2:33||audio||sheet music|
|Submarine Colours||1:10||audio||sheet music|
|Window Sunny Spot||1:51||audio||sheet music|
|Song for Solay||3:36||audio||sheet music|
Playable Piano: Compositions by Glen Charles Halls
- 1. Welcome the Morning (2:25) Beautiful chords in a pseudo choral style, with a noble melody above. Interesting unison ‘bridge’. Lovely little song.
- 2. Love Lovely Lady (2:00) A romantic and beautiful little song gentle, flowing ¾ time lilt. Very interesting and subtle turns of chromatic harmony. Reminiscent of Schumann album for the young in some ways.
- 3. Bonzai Garden (2:22) Paints a picture of wandering in a ‘zen garden’ in Japan. Uses a strict Japanese minor pentatonic scale, and accompanied by flute. Creates a subtle, timeless, contemplative mood.
- 4. Winter-Gentle Dark (2:34) A somewhat stark and more serious composition, reminiscent of Webern at times, with a section of ‘Messiaen like’ parallel chord-melodies. Indeed, the song captures the gentle dark beauty of the Canadian winter.
- 5. Not Long Song (:36 ) This song is very short. Brings a smile to your face.
- 6. Changing Hues (2:17) A beautiful song showing the ‘changing colours’ or sonorities of arpeggiated five note chords, essentially an extended sequence of common-tone harmonies. Repeats with woodwinds.
- 7. Deep Hazel Eyes (1:46) Very much a slow jazz piano ballad (though without improvisation here) You will appreciate Halls’ notated voicings in this introspective ballad. Interesting bridge built above a chromatically descending bass line. Would sound nice with a flugelhorn carrying the main melody.
- 8. Chunky Chipmunk (1:56) A fun song, somewhat Bartok-like. It has that angular bitonal (E/C) type of sound. Repeats with winds.
- 9. Lisa Fugetto (2:02 ) A dissonant counterpoint fugue in 4 voices, exposing beautiful intervals as it makes its way.
- 10. Meadowlark (1:42) Breath of fresh air! Built entirely over a tonic pedal, the beautiful melody and diatonic intervals may remind of Aaron Copeland.
- 11. Door to Andromeda (2:28) Folk like melody in a minor dorian mode, over a drone bass. Choral bridge on the IV. Some interesting diatonic sequences.
- 12. Temple of Byzantium (4:31) Amazing composition, with many low and open voicing harmonies which allow the harmonics to speak. Somewhat reminiscent of Claude Debussy’s ‘Sunken Cathedral’.
- 13. Magnet Man (2:35) Interesting little song in a fast ¾ time. Basically two part counterpoint, with a surprising bridge.
- 14. Going Nowhere; Ballad For Messiaen (2:56) Composed in 1993, this song is a tribute to the French composer and organist Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992). Even though the song comes across as a kind of jazz ballad, it contains ‘seeded’ Messiaen inspired techniques. The melodic chords of the first A section are repeated in the second A section, but using the rhythms of the first A in reverse order. In the bridge, the top melody notes of the A section are performed in retrograde over a pedal-ostinato drone in the bass.
- 15. Divertimento (1:46) A light and interesting composition, Schumann inspired, which features choral-style tonal chromatic harmony over a pleasant diatonic melody. Repeated with woodwinds.
- 16. Tuesday Fog. (2:44) This song has that impressionistic/watercolour feel to it, as a melody floats above a blurred-arpeggio pedal of two harmonies alternating. Interesting, contrasting bridge, featuring common tones harmonies subtly changing over new harmonic pedal.
- 17. Barber Pole (1:07) A somewhat abstract composition, inspired by Roger Shepherd’s ‘barber pole effect’, which is the auditory illusion that a tone that continually ascends or descends in pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher or lower. Our approach here is entirely different; two lines move in chromatic contrary motion with a third tone held as a common-pedal. On the variation, the voices are simply inverted. The intended effect is one in which things are changing-moving-rotating, but still staying somewhat the same. Your average Joe will probably not relate to this little song, but the purists may find it interesting.
- 18. Yarn Table (2:50) A beautiful somewhat rustic song, perhaps reminiscent of Brahms, which calls to mind a simpler time, perhaps images of people knitting socks or blankets in a cabin, wood stove burning nearby. Woodwinds on the repeat.
- 19. Remember France (1:07) A nice little composition, based on simple counterpoint suspensions, with a little imitation in between.
- 20. Circle Pedal (1:28) Melody over an inner voice pedal, with a circle of fifths descending bridge. Simple ABA. Woodwinds on the repeat. Nice little song.
- 21. Sunny Dreams (3:07) A somewhat impressionistic composition, painting a picture of a pleasant sunny landscape. Very nice woodwind variation featuring native American flutes.
- 22. In The Deep (2:22) A song very much inspired by some of the Debussy piano preludes, it conjures images of exploring a new strange landscape.
- 23. Minor Ninth Inversion Canon (1:57) One of Glen’s somewhat conservative senior colleagues once advised him that the ‘minor ninth’ was a ‘noise’ and was to be ‘avoided’! This inspired him to compose a song in strict inverted canon, at the interval of a minor ninth!
- 24. Holy Child (1:57) A beautiful jazz ballad, with rich harmonies and voicings. The chord progressions might surprise, but take you right back where you started.
- 25. Wood Horse Rocker (2:33) Glen’s father was a great woodcarver and he created wooden rocking horses for his grandchildren, the inspiration for this song. Woodwinds on the repeat, with a little accordion mixed in for that rustic feel.
- 26. Submarine Colours (1:10) An interesting little invention, purely dissonant two part counterpoint, yet with interesting melodic energy, almost like one hears with Palestrina. The title is basically random, but it is fun to listen to this short song and imagine looking out the window of a submarine.
- 27. Window Sunny Spot (1:51) Have you ever seen a cat lying in that perfect sunny spot near a window? That inspired this song. The chordal arpeggios in the bridge almost sounds like beams of light hitting the window and refracting in various ways.
- 28. Sunsketches (1:38 ) Interesting simple melody over cluster harmonies, and accompanied by a simple ¾ drum beat. One can imagine a shorty journey , perhaps through a desert landscape.
- 29. Prismic Illusion, Sleeping Dog (2:11) Another composition inspired by the Debussy piano preludes, this one uses the whole tone scale exclusively. It gives that hazy watercolor effect, like a mirage. Interestingly, Glen’s pug dog ‘Ruby’ was sleeping on a pillow nearby. She was a bit stuffed up that day, and if you listen carefully you can hear her breathing in the background throughout the recording. Should he have rerecorded the track? I don’t think so.
- 30. Song for Solay (3:36 ) A beautiful composition inspired by the birth of a Son for Glen’s longtime friend and musical collaborator, Daniel Lapp.
- Glen Charles Halls, piano, flutes, soprano saxophone, percussion, guitar.
- Produced by Glen Charles Halls
- Recorded in Edmonton
- DK122 Released January 2017
- All composition by Glen Charles Halls SOCAN.