Performing his own compositions, Paul Halley introduces a new sound for a trio of traditional keyboard instruments. Recorded at the acoustically splendid Spivey Hall, Halley plays a Steinway concert grand, Rufatti pipe organ, and Carl Dudash harpsichord, among the finest examples of their kind in the world. As beautifully crafted as the instruments on which they are performed, Halley's multi-layered and multi-faceted arrangements present an astonishing new repertoire for a rarely heard ensemble. With melodies that evoke images from island shores to the steppes of Russia, with rhythms that derive from Renaissance dance to contemporary jazz, Halley delivers music with an enormous range of expression. This album is imaginatively conceived, finely wrought, and beautifully performed. It is pure joy.
"The idea for this
CD had been percolating for many years. In fact, the concept of
combining these three keyboard instruments probably originated when I
was a teenager and heard a performance of Monteverdi's 'L'Incoronazione
di Poppea'. I was so taken aback with the sound of all those continuo
instruments playing together - the harpsichords, lutes, positive organs,
theorbos, etc. The richness and clangor of that sound has remained with
me ever since. In conversations with people while I was recording this
album, it became apparent that if there were any recordings of this
particular ensemble very few people knew about them. I'm always asked
whether I prefer to play the organ, the piano, or the harpsichord and I
usually anser by saying I'd rather not have to choose. Hence, this
recording of what I believe is a rarely heard trio." - Paul Halley
from The American Organist Magazine
“In the intense and sometimes overwhelmingly insular community of church musicians, Paul Halley smiles and hands us this delicious reminder that, hey, there is another world out there. Easily able to transcend borders, Paul now works at Trinity Episcopal Church in Torrington, Conn., tours with his children’s choir (Chorus Angelicus) and adult ensemble (Gaudeamus), and composes, arranges, and records for Pelagos Productions. But remember that Mr. Halley came to prominence during the twelve years (1977-1989) when his agreeably multi-styled, multi-cultural music program at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York coincided with his involvement as keyboard player for the Paul Winter Consort. And though his background (born in Romford, England, in 1952; organ scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge; Fellow of the Royal College of Organists) might have you imagine a different eventuality for him, Paul seems unremittingly incapable of limiting his style. These crystalline recordings (of a Steinway piano and Raffatti organ taped at Spivey Hall in Morrow, Ga., and a harpsichord taped at Yale’s Battell Chapel, all instruments variously mingled in multi-track studio manipulation) do what few organ CDs can; they put the colors, texture, and persuasive power of the pipe organ into highly pleasurable, easily listenable, emotionally unfettered contexts. Eschewing electronic synthesizers, Halley orchestrates with his three authentically acoustical keyboards as though each were available at the poke of a combination button. If some of the pieces remind a bit of light listening or the quasi-Elizabethan background to a lusty Tom Jones remake, others are darker and deeper. Remember, we’re not in church or at school. Consider the new-age quote from Rumi that is emblazoned inside the album cover: “We have fallen into the place where everything is music”, and a fine, fun place it is. Thanks, Paul, for the wake-up call.”
- Michael Barone
Nationally-know host of NPR's 'Pipedreams'
which has given significant airplay to this album.
“There has never been a trio like the one-man keyboard orchestra Paul Halley has created for “Triptych,” over-dubbing piano, harpsichord, and a pipe organ with nearly 4,500 pipes. Playing music that is at once vibrant and intricately contrapuntal, he deploys the instruments with a symphonic sense of coloration. A member of the Paul Winter Consort and former organist of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan, Halley draws upon the eclectic vision those tenures suggest, including elements of classical and Celtic music, folk songs, and fantasies in his compositions. Halley’s sound is lyrical without being maudlin, and while a pipe organ would lead some to bombast, Halley rarely indulges himself. Instead, he lets the songs themselves, like “Rejoicing” and “Shores of Ironbound,” lift to the rafters.” - John DiLiberto
cultural arts magazine
"The music on “Triptych” is incredibly beautiful. The sounds of the piano, organ and harpsichord blend together wonderfully. Paul Halley has done a wonderful job composing and playing these songs. The liner notes also add background to the songs, and are worth reading. Paul Halley plays all three instruments on the CD and as I have already said, he is good.
The CD starts off with “Rejoicing,” which is the only song it takes me a while to get into. I find the exuberance of the music hard at first, but easier to take later on. “The Jig Is Up” is a quieter piece that soars and at times you can tell it is a jig. “Middle Earth” is a beautiful piano solo that gently drifts across the stage to the listener. In “Toccata Andromeda” the music slides gracefully from instrument to instrument without losing a beat. And the music flies, climbing, diving, soaring and spiraling right to the last note. The tempo changes for “Maris Stella,” an elegant and loose poem that is a joy to listen to. Celtic folk tunes form the frame for "Outer Hebrides," a solo piece for the organ. At times the organ almost captures the sound of the bagpipes perfectly. "Shores of Ironbound" is a folky song of sea, land and mist. "My Lady Sarabande" is a pseudo-Tudor piece that flows around and covers several different settings of music (i.e., formal entrances and ballroom dances). "Sands of Time" is a song of hope that looks forward to the future and respects the past. It is a gentle song that quietly says what it has to say. "The Breughel Boys" is a loud dance in the country, but employs the music from a ballroom dance. Then comes another poem in the form of "Evening Song." The CD closes off with "Requiem for Dmitri," a poem of remembrance that is tinged with sorrow and love.
“Triptych” is full of beautiful music that goes down easy. Take the time to sit back and enjoy this fine vintage of music."
- Paul deBrujin
Produced by Paul Halley
and Tom Bates
Steinway grand piano and Raffati pipe organ
recorded at Spivey Hall, Morrow, GA
recorded at Battell Chapel, Norfolk, CT
Cole Design Group,
Art Design and Production
Photographs of Paul Halley
by Warren Bond Photography, Riverdale, GA
Special thanks to
Carl Dudash, Dudash Harpsichords,
and Mr. Richard Garmany,
Sherryl Nelson, Spivey Hall
© 1999 Pelagos Incorporated
All Rights Reserved
Made in USA