A few months ago I met Adam Malin, keyboard-player of the progressive rock-band „XNA“. If you are interested in progressive rock you should not miss to visit the website of his band and to check out their amazing two records. The work of Adam and his band should appeal to all fans of the classic era of Yes and Genesis and showcases a fresh approach to the genre.
I created a string-arrangement for one of his songs and afterwards we agreed to work also on one of my songs. With this collaboration in mind I sat down on the piano and composed this song, a slow romantic piano-ballad based on Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem „To helen“. While the poem sounds like a love-song it contains also references to greek mythology. The name Helen points to „Helen of Troy“ and the narrator has probably survived some heavy storms on the sea like Ulysses.
My first idea was to let Adam play the piano-part, but he came up with the idea to develop a full arrangement with strings, percussion etc.. Actually he is still working on the arrangement, so I want to show you first the stripped down version consisting just of the piano and my singer Chris. The music of the song is quite classical and I avoided my tendency to use Jazz-chords and time-changes, so the song sounds like a forgotten relic of the era of Beethoven or maybe Schubert. If you know the wonderful song-cycle „Winterreise“ of Franz Schubert you know, to which musical place we travel this time.
When I got Chris’ vocals I was as usual blown away by his performance. It’s unusual to hear a typical Rock-voice within a classical context, but I love daring combinations and what is music without some thrill inside?
So you will get a double-feature of this song. Now you can listen to the stripped down piano-version and as soon as Adam is done with his arrangement you will get a second version.
All rights reserved by Dirk Radloff/ heartscore-music 6/16/2016
To Helen (Edgar Allan Poe)
Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicéan barks of yore,
That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
The weary, way-worn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.
On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece,
And the grandeur that was Rome.
Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche
How statue-like I see thee stand,
The agate lamp within thy hand!
Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
released June 16, 2016
Chris: vocals (courtesy of studiopros.com)
Dirk: composition, arrangement, piano