IMAGINE for a moment a scene where a man sits down to four electronic keyboards and starts to play symphonic music all by himself. Just the four keyboards, recording gear and a portable electrical system that is totally silent. The music he plays soars with triumphant melodies, a big sound with horns, violin and string sections in joyful counterpoint. The person who makes this happen is the artist and composer, Paul Lloyd Warner.
He actually sets up his keyboards and performed the symphonic parts all at once, in solo, in harmony. It is now possible to play electronic instruments that sound orchestral. Paul Lloyd Warner has learned the art. What is new here is that one artist can simulate an orchestra – all in solo performance. But there’s much more to this story.
”LIVE” RECORDINGS IN NATURE 1991-1996
Once Paul had learned how to play all these keyboards together in the 1990s, he took it to another level and brought his equipment out into the wilderness, driving a van on dirt roads up mountains to amazing vistas. He and his partner, Arion Jay Goodwin, drove to remote locations in Wyoming, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico where they set up keyboards and recording equipment, powered by an array of truck batteries. There, in the wilderness, surrounded by incredible beauty, nature, the enormous sky, Paul Lloyd Warner played his heart into the music and opened the portal to a new musical genre made possible by LIVE recordings in nature: Progressive Classical Music and Contemporary Classical Music.
It takes an artist who is grounded in the piano and has a life-long love affair with that instrument. It takes years of learning how to play the string patches on a keyboard so that they really sound like orchestral strings. It takes adapting piano technique to playing a harp sample on an electronic keyboard, or a violin, or an entire symphonic choir.
Paul is the first known artist to accomplish this feat and his music is a demonstration of this fact. Paul Lloyd Warner’s music shines with majestic intensity at times, yet it also reverberates with the passions in a poet’s heart. This man is both a poet and musical genius. He has played at the edge of the Grand Canyon at sundown and near the heights of Glacier National Park.
In the mid-1990s Paul lived in Seattle and traveled extensively throughout the northwest and recorded music in the islands within Puget Sound, Washington, Whidbey, Orcas and San Juan Islands.
Paul declares: “When I go out into nature and experience breathtaking beauty all around me, I play better, and I feel a greater depth and stronger emotion. I gaze around into rocks and mountains and valleys with waterfalls in the vastness and distance. Here is the music that heals me Then, what I enjoy the most, is bringing this music to the world.” Paul Lloyd Warner was born in 1938, began studying piano at age six and always had a great love for nature and the outdoors. Young Paul, inspired by Claude Debussy, the great French impressionist composer, began creating music at fourteen. After his college years, Paul ventured to Europe, settling in Florence, Italy where he studied art history and music theory, which totally changed his life and gave him a creative vision for the future.
Afterward, he moved to New York, and then to Hawaii in 1968. While living in Maui, he was profoundly inspired by the beauty of the Island and its waterfalls. There, he composed, and recorded, his first Waterfall Music collection for piano. In 1976, a stroke of luck gave him an opportunity to play LIVE piano music to Humpback Whales off the coast of Maui.
MAUI and OAHU in the 1970s
In the early 1970s, Paul Lloyd Warner’s piano music was in limited distribution throughout Hawaii and the Mainland. He gave concerts locally in Maui and Oahu, occasionally on the Mainland. However, once he relocated to San Francisco in 1983, within a few years he began to exhibit his music in fairs and festivals throughout the United States. In 1991, he started to play in nature. His keyboards and recording equipment accompanied him into nature, off-road, into the wilderness.
It was there the artist found refuge in the beauty all around him, often spectacular, overlooking mighty chasms. In 1976, while living in Kula, Maui, an opportunity came to Paul that was unprecedented in history. He was invited to play piano music LIVE to Humpback Whales in the ocean off the Maui Coast. A short documentary film was about to be made where the main idea was to see if Humpback Whales respond to human music. In February 1976, a white grand piano was hoisted off the Lahaina wharf onto a sleek white sloop which was named SEA RUNNER. Recording gear was set up with microphones placed just under the lid of the piano. There was a powerful amplifier and large underwater speakers that were borrowed from the Navy.
Paul Lloyd Warner wrote the following words: “It was a beautiful clear and warm day. A few people earlier had climbed Lahainaluna, the mountain behind the town, with binoculars, searching the sea for Humpback Whales. When they spotted them, the sails went up and we set out to sea, gliding with the winds toward the Humpback Whales. When we arrived near them, a few Whales jumped out of the water, quite close to the boat. We could see them looking at us. This behavior is known as ‘SPY-HOPPING”. Then, after a few agitated moments, the sails came down and the sound was turned on. The speakers were lowered into the water. I started to play and before long, a few Humpback Whales swam around our boat. They appeared to be calm and before long, they dived down into the clear waters. Underwater divers jumped in to film them and look for their response to the music I was playing.
They continued to swim around and underneath our boat for several hours. The divers said the Whales were doing an underwater ballet to the music. The experiment worked. Now it was proven that Humpback Whales responded positively to melodic piano music. This was the greatest day of my life.
This experience influenced him to learn more about music, language and inter-species communication. Later, in 1981 Paul listened to recorded tones of dolphins, then slowed them down on tape to the range of human hearing. Consequently, he created some of his most beautiful piano compositions based upon the dolphin sounds. This, along with his Waterfall Music piano series, provided the core foundation for his later music, including his “Live” instrumental recordings in nature, The Symphonic Suites: DESERTS, MOUNTAINS, WATERFALLS, OCEANS, EARTH and STARS.
In 2014, Paul anthologized the symphonic suites into the Music for Peace collection - CIRCLE OF HEALING and A SYMPHONY FOR HUMANITY.
In the 1990s, Paul was so inspired during his successful art show tours that he built a full mobile recording studio in order to compose and perform music directly in nature. As he journeyed around the western states, he got the idea that spectacular scenery could take the place of a recording studio. He set up his keyboards and performed in remote locations, his music became more inspired. Paul Lloyd Warner is a pioneer in composing progressive and contemporary classical recordings in nature. There have always been musical artists who performed out in nature, yet this artist’s achievement is in the use of multiple keyboards played simultaneously, in a “Live” unedited performance.
CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL MUSIC
Solo “Live” Keyboard Performance in the natural wilderness makes this music so compelling and original. Electronic symphonic solo recording is new. The composer, and performing artist, has an enormous palette of dynamic sound samples to work with.
It is possible to achieve complex instrumental music made from the hands of a single performer, playing multiple keyboards, without multi-tracking, sequencing, or over-dubbing, while gazing into the beauty all around, often spectacular and breath-taking.
The music takes in the grandeur of open vistas and puts the listener right there into the scene. The artist composed the music as the scenery inspired him. In addition to pure keyboard technique, Paul interpreted the world around him throughout his travels. Sometimes, he felt as though the music was playing THROUGH him.
Awe-inspiring surroundings bring out the best in everyone. This is some of the most uniquely symphonic and instrumental music available today. It is a fresh, new musical look into nature. Portrayed through the heart of a poet, Paul Lloyd Warner’s music is original and different. No doubt he is a poet in love with the piano. Beauty is the language of music.
Beauty is a requirement - even in the craggy cliffs of Southern Utah. Bringing beauty back to music and sharing it with the others so that they feel identical beauty within themselves, is Paul Lloyd Warner’s mission as a creative artist. He wants you feel the beauty in his music and the immense dawn around you, the sunrise and glorious sunsets, mountain peaks, canyons and deserts, the wild ocean, Earth and stars.
Currently, Paul is presenting his works in a fresh new music for our time, the 21st century. The MOTHER EARTH 6 Instrumental Symphonic Suites Collectors Set is created from digital recordings performed in nature during the 1990s. These albums were remastered in 2016 and 2017 and serve as an introduction to the music of a contemporary classical composer, Paul Lloyd Warner.