John Williams composed The Five Sacred Trees for Judith LeClair, the principal bassoonist of the New York Philharmonic in 1995, to honor the orchestra's 150th anniversary. The first performance was given by LeClair and the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur on April 12 of that year. The orchestra consists of three flutes and piccolo, two oboes and English horn, two clarinets and bass clarinet, two bassoons and contrabassoon, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones and tuba, timpani, harp, piano, celesta, and strings. Performance time is approximately 26 minutes. Inspiration for the work also comes from the writings of British poet and novelist Robert Graves.
Above the Earth, Below the Sky is the first full-length studio album by American post-rock band If These Trees Could Talk. It was independently released on March 11, 2009 and then re-released by The Mylene Sheath on vinyl the following year then released once again through Metal Blade in January 2015. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Tim Gerak at Mammoth Cave Studio in Akron. The album was produced by Zack Kelly and Tim Gerak.
This album represents a step forward in If These Trees Could Talk's musical carrier. It paints an overall mystical vibe while layering heavy guitars throughout. Each listen through the album reveals more layers and beauty.
If These Trees Could Talk are back with another album, another hour of noble, tragic, and cinematic post-metal. There is nothing radically new, no startling changes, but this is better, and I think it is largely because the production is improved. The Ohio band's slow, simple, layered sound here is deep, rich, and reverberant, like a cathedral. The cathedral of the Earth, perhaps, given that the central theme of the band is climate change and the environmental crisis. Despite no vocals or lyrics, that theme has always been clear from the band's name, from the names of the songs, and from the graphics. Tragedy is not enough, we also need to be angry, and to translate our compassion and anger into effective action. That's my reservation about ITTCT's music. But on its own terms, it sounds great. It's not a suitable soundtrack for activism, but perhaps the band's cinematic sound can be used for actual soundtracks, like Explosions in the Sky.
Bob Schneider is one talented guy. There's nothing he's done that isn't fantastic. But Underneath The Onion Trees is even better than much of his other work. It's a mellow, acoustic side of Bob that we've seen glimpses of on other albums. Mitch Watkins is the guitarist here, and he's amazing. His playing is stunningly beautiful, and Bob has provided some lovely songs to go with Mitch's playing.