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Walter Crane woodcut of hornblower

HORNS OF ELFLAND

Original Music
of Angelee Sailer Anderson

Woodcut by Walter Crane,
for William Morris' The Story of the Glittering Plain


Story, melody, variety -- These are my three personal essentials of musical composition.

Story -- Music, whether lyrical or instrumental, has for me always been associated with narrative. Music is a soundtrack for life, and the music that most pleases me and that I attempt to compose is the kind which gives rise to images of characters, settings, and events. Virtually all my compositions are based on at least partial stories. The stories are usually mythic in nature, hence the title of this page (with thanks to Lord Tennyson for the phrase).

Melody -- I grew up, through my father's influence, with traditional folk songs, and so developed the notion that melody should be the central element in music. This notion is currently out of fashion, with composers in all genres -- except perhaps soundtrack music -- generally treating melody as an afterthought. I, however, do not proceed with any piece unless I have first created a strong melody line. I do not find that this hinders me from also creating interesting harmonies or complex rhythms.

Variety -- To be a master of one thing may be preferable to being a bungler of many, but I believe it behooves artists -- though they may excel particularly in one genre -- to try their hands at a wide range of things. I aim for this in my compositional styles, though naturally the "Angelee-ness" that makes my work unique is apparent in all of them.


My Instruments

I have composed songs and piano music since 1970, and since 1991 have composed on a Korg O1/W synthesizer. Though I occasionally use electronic sounds, my pieces emphasize acoustic ones. I am particularly fond of harp, acoustic guitar, bells, bowed strings, and woodwinds, and tend to use percussion as part of the composition rather than just to keep the beat. I have recently purchased and am learning to play my long-time favourite instrument, a Celtic harp, and plan soon to begin incorporating real harp into my compositions.

Angelee at Lake Nacimiento

My Influences

Besides traditional folk music, I was exposed very early to boogie woogie and blues, classical music, and soundtracks. Like most people of my generation, I grew up enamoured of rock and roll, particularly that of Led Zeppelin. My strongest influences currently are Early Music, particularly that of the Middle Ages; classical music, particularly that of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Joaquin Rodrigo; and soundtrack music, particularly that of John Williams and Patrick Doyle. For more about my musical heroes, visit From Tallis to Aranjuez.


The Sunrise Path

This hour-long suite of fourteen pieces describes a mythical voyage of adventure and wonder. Visit this page to hear samples, read musical descriptions of the pieces, and for information on ordering CDs.


Many Waters (A Triptych)

This is a set of three twenty-minute-long pieces, each based on an original story. Visit this page to see a program of the work. To read excerpts from the stories themselves and learn about their upcoming publication by Pyx Press, visit Many Waters and Other Stories.


The Constellations

This project originated with my husband, and is being worked on by myself and other musicians. The goal is to compose a short instrumental piece for each of the 88 constellations.


Arthurian Symphony

The structure of this symphony is plotted and its basic melodies outlined, but it is not yet composed. I hope to use my Celtic harp as the symphony's primary instrument.


The Dreams That Came

Its name taken from a chapter title of George MacDonald's Lilith, this piece is one of about a dozen miscellaneous instrumental works of mine. I have also written about a hundred songs with lyrics.


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