“This is one of the best solo piano recordings I am aware of. It was recorded when Sarah was 18 years old, and contains material she wrote between age 12 and 18. Don’t let her age fool you. Even at this age, she is a true virtuoso on piano and composition, and plays on this recording with a full hearted abandon that I feel very lucky to have captured. Now, 8 years later, she is out of college, composes music for TV and movies, makes great recordings of her newer singer/songwriter music, and is carving out a successful career in the music industry. This recording is a rare chance to hear the formative and beautiful work of an artist that will eventually become a household word. Enjoy!”
Stephen Lester- Engineer/Producer
Sarah was born, late for the dance, to a full moon night in August of 1981.
Sarah’s first piano was an upright clunker and her first compositions were small pieces created in response to children’s television programs. About one of those pieces, she once reflected to her dad that the music that came with the program was “wrong.” This at the age of four.
The music on the album is both thematic and emotive. As with life, the music breathes. It has a biographical quality to it. It includes melodies created at the piano and captured on tape or simply in Sarah’s memory – at various times between the ages of 9 and 18. Inspiration for Sarah’s music frequently emerges from the emotional traffic of day to day experience. The compositions themselves have occurred (as what Sarah describes as “music in her head”) in such diverse places as a beach in Mexico, homeward bound on a plane in the air, or as improvisations in the recording studio.
The work on this recording was done courtesy of the High Desert Playhouse in Joshua Tree, California. It represents a collaborative effort between Sarah, at the piano, and Steve Lester, of New Moon Records, whose recording genius brought it all to life. The final product owes itself to both.
About the music:
Homecoming is a piece about just that – coming home. It was written on airline drink napkins on a flight back to Arizona. The year was 1992. Sarah was eleven.
A Sketch was an improvisational study performed during sessions at the Playhouse. A study rather than a composition, this piece is more about the dance around the edges of a theme, than about the theme itself.
Velveteen Rabbit ~ The story was by far Sarah’s favorite as a small child and served as the inspiration for this piece.
Music Box ~ When Sarah was twelve, Music Box emerged as a whole piece. It was titled after the fact. The imagery in this case, came from the music, instead of the other way around!
Les Cloches (The Bells) was a piece begun at the age of thirteen, after an intense period of study on solo piano works by composer, Claude Debussy, for who’s music she still claims a special fondness. So impressed were teachers – and for that matter, anyone who heard the piece – that Sarah was asked to perform it, and perform it. And perform it. After a time, she refused to play it at all. It has reappeared here for biographical reasons on this album.
High Desert Reflections ~ There is a sort of electric quiet at the core of any dusk on the high desert that is easier described by music than by words.
Distances ~ This was written during the pre-dawn hours on a largely deserted beach in Mexico. (For lack of paper, on the inside of a discarded beer carton.) It is a self-reflection, and a good example of how environment and emotion play on one another to become experiences.
Daddy’s Song is another improvisational piece from the sessions at Joshua Tree. It wasn’t written for Sarah’s dad, but he became so enamored with it, and so insistent that it appear on the finished album, that she has dedicated it to him.
Recordings . . .
The Joshua Tree Sessions