In the words of the composer: I had set out to compose a new 'Planets' but from an astrological point of view. When I went for advise to Pantha, an astrologer/friend of mine from Sri Chinmoy Centre where I have been studding meditation and Eastern philosophy for the past twenty years, he suggested, however, that I focus my creative energies on the signs of the zodiac instead...something, surprisingly, he claimed had never been done before. 'Why do something old? Do something new!' he said. Sage advice. So driven by the possibility of creating the first Music of the Zodiac, I immediately set to work. There being twelve signs to the zodiac, the piece is in twelve section. Each section is 3 to 5 minutes, bringin the total to just under an hour. It is scored for twelve players: a string quintet, a woodwind quartet, harp and percussion. The work begins in the key of C and traverses the twelve major keys of the circle of fifths. (something for the musicologists). For my research i collected a number of books on astrology and made listings of qualities held in common for individuals born under each sign. There I distilled down to one keyword, (or 'keyverb' in this case). Hence, Aries: 'I Begin,' Taurus: 'I Possess,' etc. I had another goal; that the work taken as a whole have a larger shape; that it reflect my belief that the Zodiacal year is a metaphor for the spiritual journey; the progression of the individual consciousness from physical birth, through the emotional, mental, and intuitive to full flowering in the psychie. So beginning with Aries/Spring I traveled musically through the seasons, arriving, in the end, at the beginning, with rebirth in Pisces. The great Circle of Life. Universality was also important to me; that regardless of the style of music someone might enjoy, they would feel spoken to. Everyone has a heart, so my approach was to write, to the best of my ability, music from and for this universal heart. Finally, let me say, it is one thing to compose, quite another to have one's music recorded. For that I wish to thank the concert pianist Maria Cisyk, producer of this recording, who heard what I heard and brought it into the world; who set me free to create...a composer's dream come true. Jeffrey Baker Carnegie Hall Studios New York Album Tracks 1. Aries I Begin I am pure energy. I am the sign through which the first ray of will reaches planetary life. I am impulse, initiative, and enthusiasm. I am the positive joy of existence found in action. I am the excitement of a new creation. Let the journey begin! 2. Taurus I Possess I exert a conscious and continuous pull to gain and retain stability above all. Cautious, kind and gentle: beauty and possessions are the substance of life itself for me. I bound with nature through pleasure and plenty, while steadfastly guarding the secret of the Light. 3. Gemini I Think I communicate, I educate. Nothing can be conceived to take shape or have definite existence without me, for I am the intellectual, relational, dialectic, glorious mind! Witty and restless, I am 'here today and gone tomorrow,' but you'll be better off for our encounter. 4. Cancer I Gather I am instinctual consciousness; instinctual life. I am the universal womb governed by the moon. Psychic and receptive, I collect to nurture; I protect to bring forth. I feather my nest with sympathy and intuitive compassion. I bring ideas home. 5. Leo I Will I stalk the jungle of existence. I am supreme energy; fire incarnate; sun-orange divine-flame. I am the glory of Self...courage, strength, dignity, loyalty, and confidence. But best of all...my generous heart. 6. Virgo I Transcend I am the ether-blue materializing ideal, prudent, fastidious, diseriminating. My love of decency and order recoils from anything crude or coarse. Through self-development and purification. I surge to the pinnacle of self-realization. 7. Libra I Balance I bring together with light and laughter the great balance of the outer and inner...the personality and the soul. I am diplomat with the velvet glove but beware of my iron fist! I am tenacious, infinitely tactful and gracious. For me the greatest joy in life is to live in the fullness of beauty and harmony. 8. Scorpio I Create You may think that you know me, but I'm afraid that you don't. I am conscious, concentrated force...power...magic! I am the silent manipulator, relentlessly controlling my world to realize my ambitions. I love my secrets, my private life, and I guard them with my sting. My intensity is dangerous, but turned inward, yields profound revelations of the heart. 9. Sagittarius I Perceive Lunar Lord...night stalker. I am the archer. I see the greater possibility and my aim is true. Dynamic, outgoing and charismatic, I can be just and impartial if my control is unquestioned. But don't let my charm distract you, for I am fast to move, fast to change. 10. Capricorn I Optimize I am the goat, I am the unicorn. Feet firmly upon the earth, yet climbing to the heights of spiritual aspiration, I call from the mountain top, challenging you to bring your mind into spiritual awareness. With patience and persistence, I strike towards a thoroughly organized method of life based on tradition and integrity. 11. Aquarius I Flow Moon -violet, I am forever changing form. I am in constant movement. I am both the shattering force that destroys old forms and the defining field of energy that makes new progress possible. Individualistic, imaginative, supremely independent, no walls can contain me, as I will tolerate no restraint to my ceaseless forward motion. 12. Pisces I Believe I am the completed manifestation of the microcosm. Out of darkness and introspection, through sensitivity and compassion. I have come to serve. Looking at the entire range of human experience, reflecting upon my past, the journey now complete, I am empty-handed but in possession of all. I am free. My faith has brought me home. What they say about Jaffrey Baker's 'Music of the Zodiac' "A spiritual journey of music through the Zodiac...brings out the beauty and essence of each sign." - New Life Magazine "Ideal for meditation..reminiscent of the Moody Blues 'Days of Future past'...even my cats liked it!" - Golden Isis Magazine "The first classical Zodiac...A delightful project with wide appeal." - Music Design in Review "He has captured all the elements and deepest character of each sign. I felt, (as a Pisces), like someone had captured my inner nature, I wept. - Linda Waldron, author "The Crystal Oracle" "Very programmable, I enjoy mixing it in...bridges the gap between Classical, New Age and Soft Jazz." - Jim Conder, KVOD-FM "Very refreshing, Captures the personality of the signs. I have been playing it throughout my program." - Charlie Smoke, WHL-FM "People were calling the station asking where they could get it." - Jeff Abbas, KUOP-FM "It Jumps out at you when you listen to it." - Rick Howard, KAMU-FM "A relaxing blend of sounds perfect for anytime of the day." - Marty Scarbotoughm KASU-FM Jeffrey Baker does a great job at composing and arranging the pieces in this suite, which sparkles with humor and playfulness, despite the overall atmosphere of contemplative thoughfulness or even mysticism. The music is strongly reminiscent of the early 20th century English impressionists like Vaughan Williams, Delius or Bax. There are some overtones of French impressionism as well, and certain passages are spiced-up with some tasty Indian music and percussion. The recording quality is absolutely superb, each instrument is heard clearly, in particular, the well-articulated double bass. Each piece is a sort of an interpretation of each Zodiac sign's spiritual meaning. Many artists were inspired by the Zodiac, including Anthony Phillips and Stephen Halpern, but few have captured the mystical feeling as well as Jeffrey Baker. - E. Minkovitch, Montreal, Quebec.