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Snow Day II - ambient orchestra by Stan Stewart

Ambient Orchestra – EP and video for “Snow Day II”

I wonder what a real winter is. The Finger Lakes have traditionally had “hard” winters — meaning lots of gray skies, cold temperatures, and snow. Recent winters have been much more variable.

Snow Day

But we got a few wonderful snows this season. That’s why I was able to get the inspiration for my first “Snow Day Suite” this winter.

When there’s enough snow (or wind-chill), schools and other institutions have to close to ensure everyone’s safety. The bonus is that people — like me — who enjoy snow can go enjoy it.

Winter Is Real

Winter Is Real - ambient orchestra from Stan Stewart

So, when we had another snow day, the muse got me creating again. This time, I set out to use one orchestra. Normally, unless it’s an all-piano suite, I switch instruments for each piece. But I wanted the challenge of not having that variable in creating three distinct instrumentals.

First, I improvised a brief piano piece. Then, I used the basic structure of that improvisation to be the foundation of what I’m calling an ambient orchestra.

Piano improv for “Winter Is Real”

Wind and Water

Wind and Water - ambient orchestra from Stan Stewart

The Finger Lakes are rich with gorges and waterfalls. In winter, their beauty is not diminished at all. What I can say for sure is that I find them to be spectacular.

The piano improvisation for this piece was one of my more recognizable styles. That made it even more fun to mess with when I arranged it using the ambient orchestra.

Piano improv for “Wind and Water”

Hear the Life

Hear the Life - ambient orchestra from Stan Stewart

The idea of winter has been (ab)used to indicate death. On the contrary, snow days are full of life.

The spontaneous piano performance for this track really surprised me. It (and therefore the resulting ambient orchestral piece) are very dissonant. The scale is maqam complete with hijazkar, hijaz, and nikriz.

Piano improv for “Hear the Life”

This video contains an excerpt from “Winter Is Real”.

I hope you enjoy listening to the ambient orchestra of “Snow Day II”.