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Jill Haley — The Forests and Shores of Acadia
(Coranglais no#, 2022, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-03-06

The Forests and Shores of Acadia Cover art

Composer, pianist and double-reed player Jill Haley has been composing music inspired by the national parks of the USA for around a decade now; so far she has released albums for Mesa Verde (Colorado), Bryce Canyon and Zion (Utah), Glacier (Montana, two albums so far), Badlands (North Dakota), Bandelier (New Mexico), and one simply titled National Park Soundscapes. By my calculation, The Forests and Shores of Acadia is Haley’s musical contribution for one of the lesser known national parks, and the first on the US East Coast (Maine). There are certainly more to come out of the series of residencies at the various national parks, but for now we will concentrate on her latest. The compositions are gentle and majestic, imbued with colorful themes that offer a glimpse into the wonders that inspired them, informed by classical, folk, chamber, and more in a contemporary setting. For her part, Haley plays piano, oboe, English horn, and synthesizers, with David Cullen on guitar and bass, and Graham Cullen on cello, though not every one of the eleven cuts features all the players, giving the program a richness and sense of variety throughout, in fact “Treading Softly” is a solo piano piece. The opener, “Fog on Blueberry Hill,” is a rich chamber piece based on a basic piano theme featuring English horn, cello, and guitar, leading into “Incoming Tide,” featuring piano, synths, English horn, and some field recordings at the intro, and for my two cents worth, is one of the warmest and most emotion filled pieces on the album. Other standouts include the powerful “West Pond Cove” which features prominent guitar, “Schoodic Pines” with rich solos for cello and oboe, and the playful “Bursts of Color,” a sprightly duo for acoustic guitar and English horn. The eleven compositions herein are superb and imaginative openings to the beauty that inspired them.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Jill Haley

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