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Psalms & Sutras  · Larkenlyre

Thousands of years ago some people wrote poems and music that became The Book of Psalms. That collection is today held sacred by followers of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Also thousands of years ago other people wrote poems and music that became the Sutras that are held sacred by followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. Just as one might expect, to read the Psalms and read the Sutras, we encounter some drastic and fascinatingly different experiences.

But as I did this late last year, I found myself more surprised by the similarities. While the outward details are often as disparate as could be, in both experiences we find ourselves in the company of people who are trying to live a better life and to best appreciate the lives they have. They share with us hopes and fears, regrets and joys, what it is to live a day best, what it is to live a year best, and what they hope it is to live a life best.

Here are some of my reflections on these messages from our ancestors.

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The CD is available here and on Bandcamp, and it's available digitally on Bandcamp.

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Magical Majestical · Larkenlyre

By 1651 the Italian priest/astronomer Giambattista Riccioli had observed for years with great interest the patterns he saw on the moon. He believed that, as on earth, the dark areas were seas (Maria) and lakes (Lacus), surrounded by the lighter areas of land.

It was then he decided to name these areas. He chose strange and wonderful names that are used to this day. Some he imagined to be quite peaceful -- Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility), Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity)-- while others he thought might be more menacing -- Mare Vaporum (Sea of Vapors), Mare Frigoris (Sea of Cold).

We have since learned that they are not water, but their evocative names still inform our observations and expectations of these magnificent and colossal landscapes.

Let us go now and Hail these Seas, some of the most wondrous, desolate, and fantastically beautiful places anyone has ever seen. Maybe there is no better place to meditate on the state of men, their place in the universe, and their fate.

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The CD is available here and on Bandcamp, and it's available digitally on Bandcamp.
Sheet music for Sea of Cold (track 5) is available on my sheet music page.

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It's July, Firefly, Rise and Shine · Larkenlyre

You are twelve. Venus, which rises first and shines best, is so prominent in the evening sky. It's because the light glows later and later as Spring Reclaims the Evening Sky. School will be over soon as we enter that most magical time...

And then Summer Begins. Days are filled with discovery. As we head into July, the evening Fireflies fill the air with their beautiful celebration of all that's fun, and good, and filled with wonder about this summer. When will life be better than these nights we watch The Light Fantastic? It's still ages before school starts again. It Seems Like Summer Might Last Forever.

Many years from now we might be reminded of these perfect moments as Shakespeare describes those sprites who are Swifter Than the Moon's Sphere. Or maybe a Van Gogh painting will take us back to our Sweet Dreams Under the Swirling Stars.

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The CD is available here and on Bandcamp, and it's available digitally on Bandcamp.
Sheet music for the piano solos (tracks 1, 2, 7, and 8) is available on my sheet music page.

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Cane Bay Cabaret · Cane Bay Cabaret

Time for a bit of mystery in your life. Time to lose yourself to a different time and place.

It's off to St. Croix, the year is 1959. Nobody's sure who's really playing this music- is it rebel Crucians? Drunken pirates? Worse yet drunken ghost pirates? Or is the whole thing some kind of exotic farce?

(Click here for the full story.)

I'm afraid I can't be any help here. Have a listen and decide for yourself.

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The CD is available here and on Bandcamp, and it's available digitally on Bandcamp. Sheet music for the piano solo Arrojados por la Borda is available on my sheet music page.

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You and I and Every Sky · Larkenlyre

The push and pull of shadows and light - it's in every relationship, it's in every sky. Sometimes hope comes wrapped in dark skies.

The CD is available here and on Bandcamp, and it's available digitally on Bandcamp.

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My Hands Made a Harp · Matthew Labarge

The story of My Hands Made a Harp begins with someone who is happy with a pastoral life. Later they are called on to perform some life-changing tasks. The transition proves difficult and transformative. Eventually there is acceptance and joy returns.

The CD is available here and on Bandcamp, and it's available digitally on Bandcamp. Sheet music for many tracks is available on my sheet music page.

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Quiet Like Snow · Larkenlyre

Quiet Like Snow is a new four track Larkenlyre EP. It is a simple quiet meditation in four parts.

The CD is available here and on Bandcamp, and available digitally on Bandcamp.

Sheet music for track 4, The Light We Find, is available here.

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Comfort & Joy · Matthew Labarge

Comfort & Joy is a reflective album of original holiday music of varying styles and traditions. Many of the pieces will sound instantly familiar because they are so strongly based on certain styles of music and song we all know. Some of the pieces, though, are original in style, but convey the nostalgia and reverence of holiday music I love.

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Music from the Long Quiet · Matthew Labarge

This is an album of contemplation, and a story of making the quiet good.

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Spiriti · Matthew Labarge

Haunting themes appear many times in different contexts as a spiritual journey unfolds.

This is my most personal album to date.

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Omnia · Larkenlyre

Omnia is a deeply atmospheric work, combining electronic and acoustic sounds, and marrying harmonic interests of slow 20th century romantic symphonic writing with modern ambient music and a bit of art rock of the early 70s.

It features spectacular guitar work from Chrys Bocast, whose Through the Airlock album is a primary influence.

The final track is solo piano.

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Music of the Extraordinary Voyages · Larkenlyre

These are cinematic many-layered sonic sketches inspired by the short stories and novels of Jules Verne, Rudyard Kipling, Jack London, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Includes guest appearances by Chrys Bocast, Eden Macadam-Somer, and Jimi Taft.

Each of the fourteen tracks is very different. Hundreds of instruments, real and electronic, were used, as well as dozens of objects, instruments, and environments I recorded and sampled.

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October · Matthew Labarge

October starts with the first light of day and moves gradually through the day to sunset. This particular day starts clear and bright, as October mornings are wont to do. As the day progresses, heavy clouds roll in bringing colder winds and the slightest flurries of snow.

On this particular day, there is a wedding. A solemn waltz marks the ceremony, and a festive dance the subsequent celebration.

The breaking of the clouds in the late afternoon reveals a quiet and enveloping display in the sky. It is just in time for the sun to set, and soon November will be upon us.

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In Small Hours · Matthew Labarge

In Small Hours starts with the descent of evening and moves gradually through the night. Nighttime is when I most deeply consider my hopes, fears, most treasured memories, and my regrets.

As at the end of any night, daybreak arrives as a slow catharsis. There is great excitement as the sun rises- as spring begins to warm the earth. After a while, the din dissipates and the warmth brings a settling peace.

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First Fall Night · Matthew Labarge

A few of these pieces were written when I was still in my teens, all but a couple of them were written before I began to study composition at the age of 28. I acquired a taste at that time for complex harmony and form, but, unlike many composers, I never stopped loving music with very simple harmonies and forms.

I made this after being asked for years for a recording of these pieces by many of the people who heard them in person.

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