MP3 Tim O´Shields - Tim O´Shields
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13 MP3 Songs in this album (62:32) !
Related styles: New Age: Contemporary Instrumental, Easy Listening: Adult contemporary, Solo Instrumental
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ALBUM NOTES AND REFLECTIONS:
TITLE 1âTHE ASCENT
When I started THE ASCENT, I envisioned a suite of melodies, even several pieces of music, to reflect the story of climbing a mountain. Ultimately the melodies were molded into a single piece.
Living in Colorado, there are plenty of hills and mountains to climb. The scenery is so breathtaking that even the physical test of hiking or mountain climbing is eclipsed by the surrounding beauty.
In THE ASCENT, it starts off with a Native American chanting beatâalmost drum-like. This drum-like pulse recurs throughout the pieceâto the end. There are so many times in Colorado and the Western US, that I see mountains or vistas, and visualize the frontier past of this land. I generally cannot see those vistas without visualizing Native Americans on majestic horses at the top of the ridgesâsurveying the vastness of the landâthe vast land that can be friendly, but it can also be challenging.
The first melody of the piece is the âthemeâ melody and recurs throughout. It is a gentle melody that reminds marks the starting of the journey, the middle, and the end.
After the theme is announced, there is a fanfare-like section that signals the beginning of the climb. This climb may be challenging, but there will be the reward of accomplishment and the gift of the sharing the majesty of nature along the journey. âAmericanaâ is the word that I would use to describe this fanfare.
The first half of the piece is all about âgoing upââthe climb. The musical patterns are ascendingâlow to high.
The top is reached. Honestly, I struggled with this section over several months. I first made the section too complicatedâtoo long. Then I changed things around; it was still too detached from the rest of the piece. I finally arrived at simplicity. The top of the climb is a quiet celebration. It reflects the theme from the opening of the piece in what I tried to make ethereal and gentle. However, the celebration at the top must end; you probably cannot stay on the mountaintop forever.
The descent is the second half of the piece. The musical patterns are reversed from the climb. They are descendingâhigh to low.
The bottom is reachedâthe journey is overâthe accomplishment is complete! The theme ends the piece with the pulsing of the Native American drums. However, there is a hunger, a longing, to not let too much time pass before climbing the mountain (or another one) again (AND AGAIN AND AGAIN). The last notes of THE ASCENT are a shrill roll that are intended to reflect a last glance back to the top of the mountainâgratitude for the challenge and a call to say that it will not be too long before we meet again!
Not to be too philosophical, but probably most of my music reflects my life in some way. In life, there are ups and downsâuphill climbs and (unfortunately) falls at times. THE ASCENT can be challenging and rewarding simultaneously. As we meet the challenges of life, and goals are met, there is always the next hill to climbâthe next thing to doâthe next goal to accomplish. That last glance back to the top in THE ASCENT is the acknowledgment that there really must be more to come. Yes, there must be more to come if we are to growâgrow in all aspects of our livesâphysically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and any other way.
TITLE 2âMOUNTAIN HOME
The place we hang our hat is generally a very special place to all of us. It can be a simple space or it can be vast for some. It provides shelter and security that most of us cherish. For me, my MOUNTAIN HOME is the place where I can totally relax and be myself. It is the place where I can be creative. I can play music in the dark at 4 AM. Personally, I have been very fortunate to live in a very beautiful spot in the mountains of Colorado. I do not take that for granted for one day. I live on the side of a hill at about 9,000 feet elevation. It is a place where the sunrises and the sunsets will take your breath away. It is a place where the bleakness of a very cold winter indeed melts into the grandeur and rebirth of springâgreen beautiful, warm spring! While winters are sometimes long, they are beautifulâsnow covered peaks and trees make a fantastic setting for creating music and art. My favorite nights of the year are the full moon nights on a thick snow-covered ground. It is like daylightâa bit magic! You can see across the peaks as if it were the light of day. It is almost like the universe is sharing a secret that you would otherwise not experience on a typical dark night.
On the dark, moonless, nights, I love to build an outdoor fire and sit by it with a bottle of wine and music. My musical tastes are vastâpiano (of course) to hip-hop, trance to dance, pop to holiday, country to folk, and well, I am sure you get the message. There is not a genre of music that I do not bond with. Music speaks to my soul and my MOUTAIN HOME tried to reflect that importance of having a place for creativity and re-creation.
TITLE 3âALONG THE RIDGE
At my house, on every sunny day, there is a fleeting window of time during the sunriseâa few minutes when there is an intense golden band of sunlight that bathes the top quarter of the ridge around two of the mountains that I face on the front of my houseâHickâs Mountain and Mt. Judge. The gold is so intense that is looks artificial. It is so intense that you have to look at it and know that this beauty is not man-made. It is a very special time every morning, but you better not blink because as the sun rises over the hills in earnest, this golden band fades into the brightness of the overall light of day.
It is worth getting up to see this golden band ALONG THE RIDGEâno matter what time of year.
TITLE 4âFLIGHT OF THE WIND
In the mountains where I live, there can be very intense winds. These winds are particularly strong on the front and back ends of winter storms. As the seasons change, there can also be very intense winds.
The Aspen trees on the mountain make a quilt of green during the summer. They fade to yellow and gold during September and by October, the trees are bare.
FLIGHT OF THE WIND was inspired by the wind that carries bunches of these leaves across the land in sweeping tornado-like fashionâscattering them wherever it may. In writing this piece, there is a common them that is woven throughout from start to finish. In that common theme, I visualized a single leaf that travelled through the wind. Sometimes, it would dance across the sky in a solo leaf ballet. Other times, it would be caught up in a swirl of many leavesâdancing together! The piece ends loud and strongâsimple, yet loud and strongâsymbolizing the invisible power of the wind.
TITLE 5âFIRST LIGHT
Every day we have the opportunity to seize the day and make it the best it can possibly be. FIRST LIGHT is the celebration of the beautiful, gentle sunlight that slowly breaks in the eastern sky and brings the darkness of the night to the full light of day. There is something very profound and powerful about the inevitable rising of the sun to shed its FIRST LIGHT on the possibilities of the new day. If we take advantage of those possibilities and challenge ourselves to grow and progress some in every day, it makes the FIRST LIGHT even more special. It is the announcement that the new day is hereâready to conquer!
TITLE 6âSECRET PLACE
Everyone should have oneâa SECRET PLACE, that isâa SECRET PLACE where you can retreat from the world and all its issues. For some it may be lying on your bed in the middle of the afternoon with your favorite tunes on your player of choice. For others, it may be that invigorating feeling you get from your workout at the gym. For another, it may that hike or run that you take when you want to get away from everything and everyone. It could be a warm cup of tea, your favorite book, and a comfortable chair.
For this piece, I envisioned an English garden that is planted with scrubs and flowers and trees. There is a reflecting pool where you can sit and well, reflect. The piece builds in the middleâsymbolizing a short walk you can take down to a large, rolling river. The river is beautiful and powerful.
At the end, the piece returns to the original serenity of the reflecting pool in this SECRET PLACE.
TITLE 7âCOUNTRY WALK
There is nothing more special than a COUNTRY WALK in the spring, summer, or fall of the year. This simple piece reflects my vision for a long, relaxing walk along the path around Echo Lake in Colorado, at the entry to Mt. Evans. This is a very special place to me. It is near my home and I try to take that walk at least once every season of the year. The walk has the smell of the conifer trees that line the path and the lake. There are boulders and rocks that line the path that remind you of the past and the creation of the Rocky Mountains. It is a truly relaxing time and COUNTRY WALK takes me there.
TITLE 8âMEADOW DANCE
MEADOW DANCE starts and ends with the same chorusâslow and in nearly 4-part harmony. The piece transitions into a lighter, dancing melody. I envision a long walk through a thick forest. The walk is cool and the sunlight only flickers through the trees to illuminate the path. The dark path opens to a beautiful meadow that is bright with full sunlight. The warmth and brightness of the light encourages dancing of the spiritâand maybe even dancing of the feet!
After the invigorating experience of the MEADOW DANCE, the journey ends by way of the same thick forest that brings you to the place of the dance.
TITLE 9âPASSING STORM
I guess I am very inspired by the beauty of nature. I have also always been intrigued by the weather. I love the beauty of a blue sky with no clouds and the warmth of the sun. However, I love storms. I see those storm chasers on TV chasing tornadoes. I can see why they are drawn to do that. I have seen Navy pilots fly into a hurricane to gain understanding of how storms behave and completely understand their thirst for adventure in doing that.
I grew up on the East Coast and experienced many, many summer thunder showersâfully equipped with a sky show of lightning.
PASSING STORM was inspired by that kind of storm. It starts off gently, when the storm is just beginning. A common musical theme is established in the beginning and recurs throughout.
The storm builds and builds to its most intense level reflected in the volume and intensity of the piece.
There is a sub-melody that is introduced twice in the piece. This sub-melody is also played twice in each time it is introduced. The arpeggio progressions of the sub-melody symbolize the lightning that streaks across the sky in broken patterns and the rumble of the thunder that ensues.
The storm subsides and ultimately fades as the opening theme is played for the final time in a very gentleâfading away style.
TITLE 10âGENTLE RAIN
With more inspiration from the weather, not all storms have powerful thunder and lightning associated with them. Some storms are just gentle, soaking rains. Those are the kinds of rains that many people want to see for their gardens and plants.
GENTLE RAIN is inspired by that kind of gentle storm. I can hear the drips of sporadic raindrops in the opening of the piece. The rain builds to a steady level, but never becomes more than a gentle soaking.
The GENTLE RAIN fades into the vast glow of sunlight in the final notes of the piece.
TITLE 11âFORGOTTEN MELODY
Sometimes, as you write music in your head, you rely on your memory (mind and finger muscles) to remember what you have written. I wrote a song that had no title a couple of years ago. When I sat down to play it and work on finishing it, my head and my fingers had literally forgotten the piece. One night, at least a year later, I sat down to play and that piece âcame backâ to me. I finished it and never forgot it again and it became FORGOTTEN MELODY. If there is a lesson in this for me, it isâdonât be lazy and donât assume that you will automatically remember everything you are working on in your head; write the music out when you are working on it. Another lesson from this piece is ânever say neverâ. You never know when a FORGOTTEN MELODY will spring to life!
On the original drafts of this self-titled CD, I had a cover of a very popular pop/rock song titled Hallelujah. I was challenged (by my inner circle of challengers) to take that piece out of the lineup because it was not an original piece. While it was definitely my arrangement and interpretation of the piece, it was indeed not my melody. I was challenged that this CD was self-titled and should only include original pieces. With the clock ticking for the final sessions in the studio, I sat down and wrote my own HALLELUJAH!
TITLE 13âSOULS RISING
In the days building up to the tenth anniversary of the tragic events we call 9-11, I watched many of the tributes and memorials building up to September 11, 2011. As most people were, I was deeply affected by those tragic events and will never forget the horrific images of things that happened on September 11, 2001. It changed our world forever.
While the horrible things that happened are indelible, as a people, we always strive to find a way to survive, to grow from bad experiences, to find any good that can come from bad, and to remember those who have tragically passed in bad events. We are a people with strong values of rememberingâmemorializing those who have gone before us.
When I saw the images of the memorial for the victims of 9-11, I was deeply moved. This memorial is so thoughtful and appropriate. It is a place for many people to finally get closure on lost loved ones that were never recovered. It is also a place where those lost and recovered could be reverently remembered in a setting that seems so fitting and tranquil. I heard someone say in the new headlines on September 11, 2011, âIt is finally over. The era of 9-11 is finally over. We have a memorial and can now move on.â I was crushed to hear those words. While certainly we do have to move on with life as a surviving people, the era of 9-11 will never be over in my humble opinion. While the horrific images of that day will hopefully fade, the memory of those taken in those sad events can never end.
As I viewed the images of those memorial waterfalls and pools in the imprint of the original World Trade Center Towers, my emotions ran deep (as they do even in writing this). The water cascading in the multiple layers of those pools touched me to my core existence. The water cascades, but rises again. You can even touch the flowing water at the ridge of the memorials and feel warmth to the touchâeven in the coldness of winter. That creation of warmth was a profound touch in the design of this powerful memorial. Not even in the cold of winter will we forget these souls without the warmth of remembrance and the warmth of hope for the future.
I sat down at my piano and this very simple piece SOULS RISING resulted. It was intended to be simple. The intent was for SOULS RISING to be solemn, yet hopefully majestic. It was intended to be positive and hopefully uplifting. Without being too hymn-like, its chorus is, OK, hymn-like.
The opening chords were intended to set the reality of the past. They are blocksâchords with little movement. The past is establishedâwhile we cannot change it, we can learn from it and we can celebrate those who have molded it. SOULS RISING moves from those opening chords to cascading sounds from high to low that symbolize the falling waterâunending falling water. This, to me, symbolizes the eternal rising of those souls. The rubble is gone; there is only beauty and serenity now in this sacred place. The water falls and rises againâeternal rising of the souls.
SOULS RISING ends with a louder, more pronounced, definitive verse and chorus. This verse and chorus proclaims that we will never forget those beautiful souls as they eternally rise.
SOULS RISING ends with a final cascade that progresses from low to high. This is the final word-those souls will be eternally remembered and will rise forever.
The final note of SOULS RISING is the punctuation on that declaration. It is a loud chord that decays slowly. I held the note and the pedal on the piano and felt the vibration of the sound until it faded and was finally gone. The studio recording engineer monitored the sound as it decayed until there was no electronic signal remaining. While the music ended, there was still that natural fading of the last note. That time of fading is only intended to be symbolic that while there is a fading of the sound, this time can be used to reflect and remember. In the fading sound, and the ultimate silence, we are reminded that time and fading intensity could result in forgetting to remember. I believe that will never happen for 9-11 and the beauty of the rising souls is the silver lining to an otherwise evil event.
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