A remix album celebrating the 40th anniversary of the composition of "Halloween" for prepared piano.
At the age of 21, I wrote a piece for "total piano" (prepared piano, with extensive play on the strings and surfaces inside the piano) called "Halloween." It was an instant hit and performed in semi-theatrical productions several times over the years. This new album rips the music into shreds and reassembles them into various new mixes that are sometimes intense, sometimes hypnotizing.
This album is best listened to on high-quality headphones or loudspeakers
On October 31, 1980, at the age of 20, I decided not to go to a party because of the rainstorm. Instead, I went to my little garage studio, removed all of the panels from my full-sized upright piano, and played long into this night of wandering spirits. I interwove coins between some strings. I plucked, muted, scraped and hit the strings, and struck them with a yarn mallet. I elicited all sorts of vocalisations: invented language, hissing, singing, a scream, to evokes the spirits of the dead. The result was a solo piece for theatrical performer called, simply, "Halloween". It was performed numerous times in its first incarnation by my adventurous fellow student, Allison Voth, to whom the work is dedicated.
This album, Allhallowtide: Souls and Saints Abide is also dedicated to Allison, who wrote recently about her memory of those first performances: "I have nothing but fond memories of performing Halloween. In fact, I distinctly remember always being both exhilarated and completely drained after performing Halloween - a strange, euphoric sort of high. How wonderful to hear elements of it remixed. I love it and it brought me right back to those wonderful days of new artistic discovery and collaboration. Doing, doing, doing, not knowing where it would lead, but believing in every moment experienced."
Allhallowtide: Souls and Saints Abide is a remix of the elements of the original score.
I would like to thank Allison Voth especially for her enthusiastic performances of the first version of the music and continued support, and Andrew Czink for his thoughtful discussions while I finished the album.
What people are saying…
"I love the album - especially the two dances! The whole thing, and in particular Halloween 2 is perfect for play back on the front porch on Halloween night!
It’s definitely not your usual Halloween soundtrack…"
– Hildegard Westerkamp
released October 30, 2020
Composition, sound design, mixing, mastering: John Oliver
Piano: Allison Voth
Cover design and piano photos: Seiya Oliver
Booklet design and crumpled music photos: John Oliver