The Nightingale: A Gothic Fairytale

by Valentine Wolfe

Released 2015
Released 2015
This story is based loosely on The Emperor and the Nightingale by Hans Christian Andersen and is set in a Poison Garden. The soundscape of music features haunting, ethereal female vocals and virtuosic bass layers.
Braxton Ballew and Sarah Black have been composing and performing music together as Valentine Wolfe since 2006. Their scores have been heard in productions of The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest (Warehouse Theater), The Winter’s Tale (Furman University), and Twelfth Night (The Distracted Globe). Both hold graduate degrees from the University of Georgia, where they studied electronic composition with Dr. Leonard V. Ball. In addition, Sarah completed her Masters degree in composition studying with Dr. Adrian P. Childs. She currently studies voice with Lisa Barksdale from Furman University. Braxton holds a DMA in Double Bass Performance and has studied with Milton Masciadri, Albert Laszlo, and James Barket. He is the Education Director of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra and a member of the double bass section.

Their gothic metal music is heavily inspired by all things Victorian, including TV shows like Penny Dreadful and of course literature and poetry from that time period. The lyrics to Darkling, Listen off of The Nightingale are taken almost directly from Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats. The story of The nightingale is based loosely on The Emperor and the Nightingale by Hans Christian Andersen. They have chosen to set their version of this old story in a Poison Garden which they modeled on the Alnwick Poison Garden.

Braxton plays an electric upright bass for their gothic metal projects and it is similar to the bass he uses for his orchestral performances but with one big difference. His electric upright bass has a high C string that allows him to sound like a cello or even a violin in some instances. He loves to push the boundaries of traditional bass playing and create new worlds and soundscapes with his instrument. All of the layers that sound like a guitar or cello or bass are performed with his electric upright. He runs his sound through a Blackstar amp at this time and uses a Boss RC300 looper pedal.

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