A Special Light

A Special Light

Illuminating East and West
David Macbride
David Macbride
Benjamin Toth
Stuart Breczinski
Joseph Van Hassel
Bryan Hayslett
Michael Anderson
Katalin Viszmeg
Pi Hsun Shih
Catalog Number: 
new classical

Hartford, CT

Release Date: 
Apr 29, 2014
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
A Special LightiTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.A Special Light06:02$0.99
2.Ave Maris Stella11:53
3.Percussion Park: Swinging03:58$0.99
4.1 x 403:54$0.99
5.Percussion Park: Flowering05:01$0.99
6.1 x 805:12$0.99
7.Percussion Park: Conversing03:27$0.99
8.Standing (Version for Vibraphone)10:17
9.Kelet: I. —04:49$0.99
10.Kelet: II. —01:58$0.99
11.Kelet: III. —06:02$0.99
12.Bells of Remembrance09:27$0.99
One Sheet: 

A Special Light collects various works by composer David Macbride over the span of the last decade. But as much as this makes Macbride’s document, a journal of a certain distinct period, it also remains a canvas onto which listeners can paint their own experiences. “We each bring our own story to whatever music we experience,” writes Macbride in the liner notes. “So a single piece communicates a myriad of personal stories.”

Throughout, Macbride explores his relationship with his Chinese heritage (his mother was from China, his father from Scotland), a part of himself that he had never directly addressed in his work before. In “Kelet,” it comes through in the vocal inflections of the violin, reminiscent of the Chinese erhu. Other Asian elements arise in the temple bowls of “Swinging” and the Indian-based melodic modes of the cello pieces “1 x 4” and “1 x 8.” “All of these pieces,” Macbride writes, “reflect in one way or another Chinese musical and cultural traditions as I become more comfortable being direct in personalizing recognizable Eastern styles and aesthetics.”

But beyond cultural signals or specificities, Macbride’s music has what he calls “a basic sense of serenity and focus.” Underlying the diverse instrumentation and approaches of each piece is that reflective and meditative state, whether the piece is in memory of a dear friend gone too soon (“A Special Light”) or part of a physical sound installation as with the excerpts from “Percussion Park.”

Macbride taught composition at the Hartt School and has two other innova releases, Conundrum and In Common.


“Pianist/composer David McBride mixes modern ambient sounds with  impressionistic intrigue on this collection ranging from solos to duets. … ‘Standing’ set[s] the tone of the whole album by emphasizing space and silence as a sound in itself for over eleven minutes of gentle ruminations. … MacBride himself delivers some spacious ruminations with Benjamin Toth’s glockenspiel as they reflect prisms of color on ‘A Special Light.’ Luminous music.” [FULL ARTICLE]
George W. Harris

“Macbride resolutely goes down his own path. There are aspects of his music that have ambiance in a radical tonality kind of way, such as the opening title work for piano and glockenspiel. … In all this there is a refreshing, plastic notion of "home". David Macbride has multiple "homes" in the origin sense and freely opens himself up to the possibilities of his multiple-heritage. But perhaps more importantly the music is all his. It is as unpredictable as it is fascinating.” [FULL ARTICLE]
Greg Edwards