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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


CD REVIEW



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Available again



Available from David Alan Earnest

 

 

David Alan EARNEST (b. 1960)
Visit the Blue Planet: (Docking Manuevers [sic] [2.28]; Forest Pools [6.18]; Night Sands [4.22]; Whirlwind [3.30]; Drifting [4.48]; Stacey's Chimes [6.05]; Reminiscing [3.27]; Lullabye [4.34]; The Calling ... In the Garden ... Celebration [14.56]; Bayou Grind [4.37]; Sorrow of the Whales [6.04])
“Music Composed, Arranged, Engineered, Produced and Performed by David Alan Earnest,” synthesizers
© 1996. Track list, credits, dedication, photos of the composer.
STURGEON 511601 [61.13]

 


There are quite a number of New Age music recordings* available, probably thousands. Of these, there are a few great classics worthy of the attention of critical listeners: Laughton’s Harps of the Ancient Temples, one of the very first (1958); Ray Lynch’s Deep Breakfast (1966); Paul Horn’s Inside the Great Pyramid (1977); the Gordon brothers Garden of Serenity series (1992 et. seq.); Kitaro’s Tunhuang (1983). This disk deserves comparison with these; track 9 from this disk is now my favorite meditation music. It is my loss that I only became aware of it 11 years after it appeared. This disk can be included here only because it was many years after the release of it that Mr. Earnest became well known locally as a serious classical composer. I suspect in the ensuing years when he becomes better known around the world, this disk will also become better known and more generally available. 

As to the sound of the music, it is difficult to describe apart from its genre and the titles of the tracks. This disk uses mostly electronic sounds, but some acoustic instruments are heard, perhaps synthesized, perhaps recorded live and processed. “Celebration,” for instance, contains an episode reminiscent of walking by near a group of African musicians out on the plain, as well as wind sounds and the ubiquitous distant chorus sounds. The point is how well does this composer create his mood by balancing the dramatic sound-picture, now moving it forward, now letting it glow. Mr. Earnest in his single entry into the genre does this with supreme skill. 

It is to my great gain that I, by coincidence, happen to live near the composer, in fact only four miles from the Idaho farm he grew up on. While I would like to say we are friends, the relationship is hardly an equal one; I am more a groupie, at least at this point as I eagerly become acquainted with his oeuvre while attending his premiers several times a year. I would suggest you remember his name, for you will some day find it unavoidably thrust upon you if you continue to explore modern classical music and search out the very best. 

Paul Shoemaker

*from this genre I exclude electronic pieces by established composers (e.g. Philip Glass), electronic arrangements of symphonic repertoire works (e.g. Tomita), symphonic works where there are electronic sounds added into the orchestra (e.g. Edgard Varèse, Alan Hovhaness, Einojuhani Rautavaara), electronic compositions of symphonic length, structure, and intent (e.g. W. Carlos, Pierre Henry). I also exclude works by established rock and pop musicians (e.g. David Bowie, Jefferson Airplane/Starship) but I have included recordings consisting mostly or entirely of acoustic instrument sounds.

 


 


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