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Angel On A Stone Wall

Paul Halley
Piano and pipe organ
with members of The Paul Winter Consort and other friends

Paul Halley composes a collection of wholly original ensemble pieces, rich with visual detail, context, and story line.

Pelagos no longer carries this CD.
 
       
    "Paul Halley is an immensely creative musician who gathers inspiration from wherever the wind blows. Angel on a Stone Wall is both beautiful and inspiring, enlightening and free." – Sound Waves

 
  Sound clips below
Tracks


Total Album Time 53:12

All compositions are
by Paul Halley
© Back Alley Music
(ASCAP)


1.  ◙♫
Sea Song
 

2.  
◙♫
La Alhambra 

3. 
◙♫   
Prayer 


4. 
◙♫
Bulgarian
Cowboy 


5. 
◙♫    
Rolling On 

6. 
◙♫   
Montana 

7. 
◙♫     
The Prince
and The Pauper


8. 
◙♫    
Todo Mundo
 

9. 
◙♫   
Ubi Caritas
PEL2003  
 
10. 
◙♫     
Angel On
A Stone Wall 



Items with catalogue numbers indicate that published octavos are available.

All compositions 
by Paul Halley
© Back Alley Music
(ASCAP) are
administered by
Pelagos Incorporated




Pelagos no longer carries this CD.






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Description

Paul Halley explores more of the extraordinary range of his composing, arranging and keyboard skills, drawing on his roots in jazz and classical traditions. Yet again, he demonstrates his unique flair for creating original music that is vital and timeless. The album ranges from ballads for solo piano, a piano-guitar duet, and arrangements for the full Consort, to  a choral piece that juxtaposes and interweaves Gregorian chant (Ubi Caritas)  with a chant from West Africa. He is joined by his colleagues from the Paul Winter Consort and Paul Wertico and David Blamires of the Pat Metheny Group.

"ANGEL ON A STONE WALL could have been a solo collection, but I have more fun playing with a band, and I love orchestrating. By contrast, my first album PIANOSONG, was wholly improvised, while ANGEL ON A STONE WALL is entirely composed." - Paul Halley

 

ANGEL ON A STONE WALL - Composer’s Notes - Paul Halley

1. Sea Song  is the musical depiction of one of those crystal-clear August afternoons I've spent sailing the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia. I have felt such freedom and exhilaration with the wind and sun in my face and the spray off the whitecaps flying about me - and always those barely perceptible voices, the voices of the sirens that beckon me on...


2. La Alhambra  While touring Spain with the Paul Winter Consort, I was anxiously searching for a name for this piece which had the working title of "New 9/8." There is a sinuous quality to this tune, which reminded me of the stray cats in La Alhambra at Granada. I saw hundreds of those cats, and all were doing something in 9/8! The Cats of La Alhambra was my first title for the tune, but I was told it sounded too much like the name of a Latin jazz combo!

 

3. Prayer  During a stay in Israel, I was part of a private tour of Jerusalem by a friend from the Hebrew University. We arrived at a place (called Dominus Flevit) on the Mount of Olives where we were given the same view of Jerusalem that Jesus saw when he came to the city on that first Palm Sunday. He understood in his heart what that ancient city had been through in her first thousand years, and what lay ahead, and he wept. This music is a prayer for the peace of Jerusalem. It is a 3,000 year-old prayer.

 

4. Bulgarian Cowboy  The piece opens with a wacky Eastern Bulgarian-style melody, harmonized a la Stravinsky, which soon encounters a straight-ahead Western cowboy tune. The two cultures mix and meld until they finally erupt into a joyous chant of hope and triumph. The inspiration for this piece arose as a somewhat frivolous antidote to the awesome power and beauty of the Grand Canyon, encountered during my first rafting trip down the Colorado River. I guess you could say that’s cowboy country!

 

5. Rolling On  I improvised the seed of this piece at a sound check for our Carnival show at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in 1988. Paul Winter loved it, and it developed into a short piano solo. This is the most PIANOSONG-like piece on the album.

 

6. Montana  I wrote Montana with the image of Rhonda Larson playing her flute in the meadows and mountains around her home near Bozeman. I recall her story of practicing on top of the mountain ridge behind her house, when a mother bear with cubs came running up one side to see what in the world was going on. The bear stood on its hind legs and peered around a tree, tryinq desperately to figure out what this strange and high-voiced creature was. After a while, the bear left. I guess it was hoping for Zamfir! I wanted this piece to express the inner qualities of those majestic mountainscapes of openness, spaciousness and simplicity, and for the alpine flute to be heard "singing" the melody as if from a distant peak.

 

7. The Prince And The Pauper  During my years as Music Director at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City I was blessed with the opportunity to write several musicals for the children of the Cathedral School. The Prince and the Pauper was one of them and this piece is taken from that musical. It is the song that the dying King Henry Vlll sang to his supposed son who was afraid to be crowned King. Not realizing he is addressing a pauper instead of the Crown Prince, Henry gives the child some good advice on how to deal with fear and doubt in one's life. I wanted to write of that quality of tenderness between a father and son, when each recognizes the humanity of the other.

     One night in Paul Winter's barn, I was sitting at the Grotrian piano with guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves—one of the most human beings on the planet. I was showing him how this tune went, and he picked it up immediately (he seems to know most of the tunes that haven't been writ-ten yet), and for once, the tape had been rolling!

 

8. Todo Mundo  This is a happy-go-lucky piece that happens to be in 5/4. It has two major themes that miraculously work together. I wrote this with the Paul Winter Consort instrumentation in mind. It was a musical party for the whole gang.

 

9. Ubi Caritas  This Gregorian chant - "Where there is love, there is God" - has been in my life since I was ten years old as a choir boy. I sang a setting of it by Durufle, who is one of my favorite twentieth century com-posers. Both the words and the music have tremendous universal appeal. I tried to bring out the inherent power and optimism of the Gregorian Chant by juxtaposing it with the chant of another culture. Sometimes we need to look at the obvious through other people's eyes. It was Russ Landau's persistence and tenacity that got the piece recorded properly, and with the appropriate groups at the Cathedral in New York.

     There is a wonderful kind of upstairs/downstairs scenario at the Cathedral. There is the daily round of services in the church itself, while below in the crypt all these groups are doing their own forms of worship - whether in the soup kitchen, the gymnasium, the theater, or the studios. One of the downstairs groups is called The Forces of Nature, an African dance group of great power and vibrancy. Occasionally during a service we'd be in the middle of some sublime Gregorian chant, when we would hear The Forces of Nature start up their rehearsal with some intense drumming, giving us some stiff competition! At the time, it irritated me. Now, it is one of my combinations.

 

10. Angel On A Stone Wall  This piece comes from my late night drives home following recording sessions in Litchfield. They always seemed to be misty, foggy drives with lots of moonlight. I'd pass stone walls and in my tired state, imagine seeing things. One night as I drove past a graveyard out of the corner of my eye I saw what looked like an angel sitting on the stone wall. I was so struck by this image that it has been with me ever since.

     So why is this piece so sad - why the nostalgia? Maybe because that angel represents a perfect kind of Love which is unattainable in this life. We get glimpses of it from time, but the vision I saw on the stone wall spoke of a Love that was unending, and all-embracing. 

 
       
     
Reviews

from Sound Waves

"Paul Halley is an immensely creative musician who gathers inspiration from wherever the wind blows. Never a manufacturer of illusions, Halley feels the true impact of he creates because he understands the intrinsic relationship between music and life. 'Angel on a Stone Wall' is [..] personal and moving, [..] both beautiful and inspiring, enlightening and free."   
                   

from The Kitchener/Waterloo Record

"Halley has managed to banish murkiness altogether from his playing.
Perhaps it’s his clarity that’s most outstanding, or maybe because of his clarity he can accomplish so much more than ordinary mortals."
(Concert review)


from The Huntsville News


"An inspired testament to the keyboard maturity and compositional vision of one of today's most original musicians"
 

from Amazon Customer Reviews

“Was fortunate to receive this from my niece who was a music buyer for a major US retail chain - she knew my love of fine piano artistry. This has become one of my "standards" - mixing tremendous technique combined with a wide breadth of artistic license... classical, new age, choral. Exhilarating and soothing (if that's possible) on a single CD. One of those unknown jewels that you feel privileged to find."
- anonymous

"I've never come across a composite of songs that access the soul so completely. Each song takes you to another place. Moving, peaceful, or exhilarating. What an incredible combination of emotions this album evokes. I've been listening to it for years and still am amazed how it moves me each time."
- Mike Miller


"It's been one of my "go-to" albums since I got it. Tasteful, emotional, 'real'; one of those rare albums I want to share with people like a rare gift.

Paul's sensitivity and enthusiasm for communicating through gentle music is without comparison. His juxtaposition of the African rhythms with the traditional "Ubi Caritas" is the essence of fusion that made his work with the Winter Consort so essential. The freedom expressed on "Montana" and "Bulgarian Cowboy", and the tenderness of "La Alhambra" sound fresh to these ears 15 years after the fact.

And it's accessible enough to share with parents or grandparents. "
- anonymous

CREDITS

Artist
Paul Halley

piano
pipe organ


Ensemble
David Blamires - voice
Oscar Castro-Neves - guitar
Amit Chatterjee - sitar
John Clark - french horn
Eugene Friesen - cello
Jamey Haddad - percussion
Nick Halley - percussion
Russ Landau - bass
Rhonda Larson - flute
Kenny Mazur - guitars
Ted Moore - drums
Glen Velez - percussion
Paul Wertico - drums
Paul Winter - soprano sax
The Cathedral Singers - vocals
Abdel Salaam & The Forces of Nature - vocals & percussion


Production

Produced by Paul Winter and Russ Landau

Rhonda Larson, Associate Producer

Russ Landau, Recording Engineer

Recording Assistance:
Tommy Skarupa, Kenny Mazur, Chris Brown,
Judy Elliott-Brown, Randy Hansen, Ty Saunders

Recorded at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, NY
and Living Music Studio, Litchfield, CT 

Package Design by Hirsch Design, Inc.

Cover photograph of Eileen and Peter Litwin's farm field
by Jim Brandenburg



© 1991 Earth Music Productions, LLC.
All Rights Reserved

Made in USA

Alternate (1998) package design:

KatArt Graphics,
Art Design and Production
Cover Painting by Joe Servello


 

 
  Recording  • Angel On A Stone Wall