Angelee Sailer Anderson,
The Sunrise Path
(self-produced, 1998)

A composer who intends an instrumental work to tell a story faces the task of conveying the desired images in fresh, original compositions and arrangements. Even more difficult is the decision to write a musical cycle based on a well-known and well-loved book. Angelee Sailer Anderson's The Sunrise Path succeeds admirably.

The suite is a tribute to The Voyage of the Dawntreader by C.S. Lewis, although that is the unofficial word; apparently, due to trouble over copyright issues, Anderson changed the names of the tracks, the title of the suite and the cover art. Still, with tracks such as "Dragon-Prowed Ship," "Wyrmish Scales Clattering," "Death Cast in Gold," "Starry Bride" and "Paradise Beyond the Wave," among others, anyone familiar with the book would be able to identify the elements of the cycle.

With or without that "inside" information, the musical cycle clearly tells a story, from the majestic opening track to the "wymrish scales" rendered with a slow boogie-woogie that is both incongruous and apt. "Chevalier's Shanty" is a pivotal track and one of the loveliest as well; solemn chords are pierced by a sweet-sounding flute, which initiates a hornpipe. A musette picks up the theme, which swells into full strings. The motif recurs at the end of the "voyage" in "Paradise Beyond the Wave."

The music is meticulously composed and arranged with careful attention to balance, contrast and cohesion. While each track flows smoothly one to the next, each is also distinctive, often catching the listener by surprise. The Sunrise Path is a musical journey full of inspiration and a unique example of musical poetry.

[ by Donna Scanlon ]
Rambles: 30 May 2002