Finding Spring, A Musical Audiobook (Disc 1)

By Travis Mallett and J. A. Macfarlane, Narrated by Morris Hull


The story “Finding Spring,” authored by J. A. Macfarlane, is a tale of timeless qualities, intellectual discoveries, and entertaining adventures commissioned by Travis Mallett to accompany 30 piano pieces written in honor of the birth of his first child, Audrey Rose Mallett. The story is an allegory for Meditations on First Philosophy, by René Descartes, wherein he famously came to the conclusion, “I think, therefore I am.” Descartes’s work is hailed as one of the most important works in modern philosophy, with enormous impacts in the field. Descartes also has a unique Christian perspective, often ignored by philosophers, and in “Meditations,” Descartes explores the nature of the human soul and presents compelling arguments for the existence of God, who created it.

“Finding Spring” tells the tale of six small creatures, living in a cold winter land, who embark on a journey to see where Spring has gone. Along the way, they encounter strange creatures, learn lessons, and in many cases fall prey to their philosophical follies. The story is divided into two acts. Each act consists of 15 scenes, each associated with its own piano piece

Act I, titled “A Journey For Truth and Doubts Along The Way,” on Disc 1, tells of the six adventurous and brave journeyers setting off on their journey, only to be soon caught in a terrible snowstorm. They begin to doubt: doubt the truthfulness of the stories that have been handed down to them, doubt that Spring exists, and even begin to question their own existence. Continuing nevertheless on their journey, they are waylaid by a demon who uses his powers to deceive them; one of their party is lost in the process. The travelers have many devastating encounters with this demon in the form of various creatures along the way – including the sly fox who, at the end of Act I, imprisons them and helps himself to one of them for dinner

Act II, “Rising From The Grave of Skepticism,” on Disc 2, describes the adventurers’s escape from the fox’s den and their remaining travels including encounters with a hawk, a cat, a squirrel, and a mysterious voice in a cave, all of whom bear an unsettling resemblance to the demon. One by one the party of adventurous travelers is whittled down until there is only one left who somehow escapes the fates of his friends. This lone survivor finally comes upon Spring and witnesses it in all its glory. His doubts about Spring washed away, he returns home bringing the tales of his journeys. His fellow villagers, however, do not believe him and think he has concocted a story to explain why his five friends are missing. But knowing that he has found the truth, he is at peace with the knowledge that Spring one day will come.

Travis Mallett’s pieces for “Finding Spring” embrace a vast spectrum of Western art music, giving the whole set of piano pieces a sweep and breadth that more than matches the wide empty world through which the heroes travel on their search for Spring. Ranging from full-throated lyrical Romanticism to icy minimalism and cheeky atonality, the pieces disclose a well-tuned musical mind going on a journey in its way as adventurous as any search for Spring. The 30 piano pieces are organized in accordance with the story, beginning with the dullness of winter and culminating in a final discovery of Spring.

This project was an outgrowth, or response to the first entering into fatherhood. The inspiration for the music stemmed from the birth of Audrey Rose Mallett on October 28, 2014. Traditional common-practice-period music simply didn’t seem to encapsulate the newness and excitement surrounding a first-born child, and hence, many of the 30 piano pieces are inspired by ideas from contemporary art music. Feeling blessed beyond measure, Travis composed the Opus 23 piano works, dedicated to Audrey, as an expression of his thankfulness for all he has been given.

It is hoped that many will enjoy the music, learn from Descartes, and ultimately come to an intimate knowledge of the Truth.