“The Cat and the Canary” Soundtrack Reissue, Organ Improvisations, and Other Updates

(NOTE: this blog post was originally published on my Buy Me a Coffee page on 22 September, 2021. This version has been slightly edited)

THE CAT AND THE CANARY SOUNDTRACK

I recently released the promised remastered/restored The Cat and the Canary soundtrack. The album is available on Bandcamp and Spotify, and will eventually be available on Amazon Music, too.

The Bandcamp version comes with extra artwork and a twenty-seven page PDF booklet. Some background on this album release, from the aforementioned PDF booklet:

Probably due to the score’s size, I had a number of problems exporting the audio, particularly for the last fifteen or so minutes of the film. Among other problems, patches/samples would drop out of the playback or mix, or would become basically inaudible, regardless of the automated volume…

 The initial release of The Cat and the Canary soundtrack consisted of excerpts from the recorded score. However, I was not pleased with the playback of that initial release, and decided to remaster and re-release the album; giving the listener a better idea of what was actually in the score, in contrast to what I was able to make possible using samples.

By this time, several months had passed since I completed the score. I hadn’t looked at any of the editing files in the intervening time. What I discovered when I did so was that some were missing tracks, or samples – and some editing files were missing completely, or so it seemed. This required entirely reconstructing certain parts of the recorded score. This was particular the case with “Cyrus West/A Secret Visitor” (track #2), “Mr. Crosby Reappears” (track #12), “An Unexpected Guest” (track #14), and “The Cat” (track #15). The latter track, “The Cat,” proved the most challenging…

A couple tracks required little or no “touching up.” “Aunt Susan and Cecily” is one such track.

Here is an audio-only excerpt from the remastered album. The love theme I composed for Annabelle and Paul is one of my favorite parts of the score. This video features a variation of this theme; the music with which the film concludes.

OTHER RECENT PROJECTS

I recently completed the piano work I mentioned in previous posts. The work is entitled And the wind blew away the fallen leaves.

Despite its picturesque title, the music is not programmatic, though the piece certainly has an autumnal feel. As with almost all my compositions, the music came first, then the title, etc.

About the title…

Recently I was talking a walk, thinking about getting older and the seasons of life; about how people come into and go out of our lives, the time-frames in which people are in our lives, etc.

As I was thinking these things I noticed that the leaves had just begun to change colors and/or fall off their branches. I thought to myself that this was an illustration of the seasons of life. Additionally, in the same location one can find evergreens as well as deciduous trees. This too is analogous to life; some circumstances and people remain in our lives (like the foliage of an evergreen) while others are there only for a season; like the leaves the grow for a season, only to fall away in autumn and be carried away by the wind.

All this seemed to fit the mood of the new piece – hence, it’s title.

I will post a recording of this piece sometime within the next month or so.

I’ve now completed all but one of the projects I intended to complete before Advent. The final big project I have planned before the end of the year is an album entitled Rock Music.

ORGAN IMPROVISATIONS

I’ve begun re-posting on YouTube some of my older organ improvisation videos. My recorded improvisations form a significant part of my work. While my keyboard improvisations are often confessional (more emotional in nature; expressing my feelings about events and people in my life, etc.), the organ improvisations are often experimental or avant-garde in character.

Last year I, like pretty much every other musician, had a lot of extra time to practice and record. I practiced and played the organ for hours every single day, and this is very much reflected in the improvisations recorded during that time.

I recorded these improvisations on an Allen organ, and I used the organ’s full resources in my improvisations.

Some selected organ improvisations I hope you’ll check out:

Here is an improvisation I recorded last October; it’s entitled Dissociation. The title refers to a state of mind often experienced by people suffering severe clinical depression or other forms of mental illness.

Among my more bizarre organ improvisations is Halloween – which, appropriately enough, I recorded on Halloween Day, last year.

Of the improvisations of which I am most proud, I would include among the top five Three Meditations on Revelation 1:5, recorded in early November, 2020.

One final improvisation I’ll share is A Dance (Sort Of). I recorded this improvisation immediately before a Sunday morning service. I always arrived at the church before everyone else, and thus had time to warm up, etc. This improvisation is somewhat inspired by medieval dance – hence the video’s background image.

My organ and keyboard improvisation albums are available exclusively on Bandcamp. Anyone wishing to understand my work should have at least some familiarity with my work in the art of improvisation. While my compositions for organ are rarely – if ever – based on my improvisations, certain performance techniques, motives, etc., can be heard – and their development studied – in my organ improvisations. This will become particularly clear in some of the organ works that will be officially recorded and released later this year/early next year – organ works which explore darker musical and emotional territory. Like my organ improvisations, two of the soon-to-be released organ works (both of which are large-scale compositions) will likely appeal almost exclusively to composers and professional organists who specialize in contemporary concert organ music. However, I hope people will check out (and enjoy!) these works, nonetheless.

Thanks for checking out this blog post!

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