Sunday, April 23, 2017
Conway to Lincoln (mp3) (pdf)
Bates no. 15 (mp3 pt.1) (mp3 pt.2) (pdf score)
This week's tune is titled in memory of drive we took one morning a couple of years ago on rt. 112, the Kancamagus highway, from Conway to Lincoln, New Hampshire. I'd love to do that again sometime. We were on our way to catch a flight out of Manchester we couldn't dawdle much but I hope next time we can.
Also, I'm adding no. 15 from Mr. Bates. Three to go.
This week on Thursday Erik Sessions and I will play some tunes as part of a fund raiser for the local Water Street Music Series. It's a progressive evening of food, drink and music held in three lovely local homes. And it's for a good cause. I think there are still a few tickets left.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Tolley's Jig no. 5 (mp3) (pdf)
Bates no. 14 (mp3 pt.1) (mp3 pt.2) (pdf score)
This week's tune is another jig named after Tolley the cat. The recording is a little wobbly but still fits within my flexible demo quality standard.
A careful listen will reveal that the tune is played 3 times. The first time a short guitar intro is followed by the melody on mandolin. The second time through a harmony mandolin part is added, more or less as written in the pdf above. The third time through I doubled the melody an octave down (with a couple of changes) during the A sections but I added a third harmony part in the B section. This extra harmony is not written but shouldn't be too hard to transcribe if you want to take the time.
Here also is Bates' duettino no. 14. That leaves four to go.
I hope you are enjoying this holiday weekend and that you have at least some spring weather this week.
Sunday, April 09, 2017
Deer Track, April 2017 no. 1 (mp3) (pdf)
Bates no. 13 (mp3 pt.1) (mp3 pt.2) (pdf score)
This week's new tune turned out to be another Deer Track piece. I had a lot of fun working with these notes. We've seen a little bit of spring-like weather this week which has made for some enjoyable walks around the city park system. (The picture above is not recent but is a good example of the kinds of deer paths that I often see on my walks.)
Musically this was an eventful week. Erik Sessions and I worked up a couple of new tunes, including last week's "Old Annapolis", to perform at an open mic event at Java John's on Wednesday. Then on Thursday night I played my monthly solo mandolin gig at JJ's. Here's the setlist:
Java John’s solo mandolin, April 6, 2017
1. Swarbrick Sends a Tune to Iowa (Goodin) / O’Neill’s Favorite (trad.) / Flowers of Edinburgh (James Oswald, 1710-1769)
2. Oswald: Airs for the Seasons / The Auricula
3. Goodin: Bear on the Beach / Sherwood & Brookes / Tolley’s Jig no. 4
4. Bach: Minuets 1 & 2 (J.S. Bach, 1685-1750)
5: Goodin: Old Annapolis / Sessions: Annapolis Friends (Erik Sessions)
5. Sauli: Partita VI for Mandolin (Filippo Sauli, c. 1710)
6. Goodin: Red Hawk Schottische / Marin: Hundlaten (Mikael Marin, 1965- )
7. O’Carolan: Lady Gethin / Carolan’s Draught (Turlough O’Carolan, 1670-1738)
8. Oswald: Airs for the Seasons / The Junquill
9. Goodin: Toledo Moon
10. Telemann: 1730 Menuets nos. 47 & 43 (G.P. Telemann, 1681-1767)
11. Bach: Partita no. 2 for solo violin: Allemanda (J.S. Bach, 1685-1750)
1. Trad.: Old French / Morpeth Rant / The Rights of Man
2. Barbella: Sonata – GIMO 18 (Emmanuele Barbella, 1718-1777)
3. Goodin: From the Balcony / If Only Now /Paws Down
4. Oswald: Airs for the Seasons / The Crocus
5. Tallroth: Marsch i April (Roger Tallroth, 1958 - )/ Jarvela: Maknads Marsch (Arto Jarvela, 1964-) / Bach: March in G
6. Goodin: Deer Track, April 8, 2004 / Dunn Meadow / Canny Crow
7. Valentine: Allegro from Sonata no. 3 for Mandolin (Robert Valentine, 1671-1747)
8. Goodin: September Last
9. Bach: Bouree in Am
10. Goodin: Elkhart Freight / Motion Detector
I managed to play everything on the list with about 5 minutes to spare. I also had a great group of listeners, many who stayed for the whole two hours. I'm looking forward to next month already.
Many thanks to Mike Blevins for taking the candid photo above. It's a good shot of my recently acquired Weber Custom Vintage A oval hole mandolin. I used this mando for this week's recordings as well, along with a new set of Thomastik strings.
I was also able to play a few notes of Webern's op. 10 along with members of the Luther College Chamber Orchestra during two rehearsals this week. It is such a pleasure to sit in with these talented young musicians and to be conducted by Maestro Dan Baldwin. Our performance occurs on April 30 so I am trying to be prepared.
Finally, I sat down yesterday and recorded Bates no. 13, another fun tidbit from the 18th century.
Sunday, April 02, 2017
Old Annapolis (mp3) (pdf)
Bates no. 12 (mp3 pt.1) (mp3 pt.2) (pdf score)
When Contratopia was out in the D.C. area a couple of weekends ago we had the opportunity to play a dance on the Saturday night in Annapolis, MD. We were able to spend a couple of hours in the afternoon playing tourist and we really enjoyed our visit. Today's new tune emerged last week and it seemed appropriate to give it this title.
Bates' divertimento no. 12 appears here also. Another charming example from his collection.
Last night in Minneapolis Contratopia would up its Fall 2016-Spring 2017 season, playing to an enthusiastic group of dancers. Even though it was a few gigs shorter than most years we had a really good season. We are planning ahead to next year and we haven't run out of ideas yet.
This week, on Thursday, I will be playing solo mandolin at Java John's in Decorah from 7:00-9:00. On Wednesday Java John's is hosting an Open Mic night and I will probably be playing a couple of tunes with Erik Sessions sometime during that event. Drop by either night if you are in town.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Tolley's Jig no. 4 (mp3) (pdf)
Bates no. 11 (mp3 pt.1) (mp3 pt.2) (pdf score)
Today's new tune was written on Thursday, after I returned from a short trip out to the Washington D.C. area with Contratopia. The photo above was taken from my sleeper compartment window on the Capitol Limited on the morning of Friday March 17, on my ride into Union Station, somewhere south of Pittsburgh.
I wrote, as I usually do, a few new tunes during the train rides that book-ended this tour and I thought I would present one of them this week. I'll try to get some of those posted here in the coming weeks.
The tour itself was great fun, four dances in three days, friends old and new. You can read a little more about it in the Contratopia 2.0 blog here.
I'm posting my recording of Bates' duettino no. 11 here also. I have recorded no. 12 to be ready for next week. After that there are only six to go.
I was very pleased during the tour to encounter a few people who actually read and listen to this blog. I also made a couple of new friends on the train ride who may take a look here also. I even managed to post last week's entry, albeit on Monday instead of Sunday, from Takoma Park, MD. I was especially pleased to hear from a friend in Norway who had been playing along on guitar with last week's tune, "Paws Down."
I encourage you to break out your mandolin or fiddle, or flute, or guitar and play along with these recordings.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Paws Down (mp3) (pdf)
Bates no. 10 (mp3 pt.1) (mp3 pt.2) (pdf score)
Today's post (if all goes according to plan) will be published while on a short tour with Contratopia. Last weekend, while playing a dance with Pat's Propellers, Linda Breitag shared the best cat-related tune title ever. I won't steal her thunder by revealing it before it's time but I think "Paws Down" is not that bad.
Bates no. 10 was more challenging than most of its relatives and so this recording is more demo-quality than most. I think it would be more fun, and easier, to play it with an actual partner rather than just a recording of myself.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Sherwood & Brooks (mp3) (pdf)
Bates no. 9 (mp3 pt.1) (mp3 pt.2) (pdf score)
Sherwood & Brooks (an obscure reference to grade school) arrived unbidden on Friday morning. I already had a tune ready for this week but I'll save it for next week. This little jig wrote itself and was entered into Sibelius and then recorded before lunch. Jigs two weeks in a row, not intentional.
The photo is recent also and, while unrelated to the title of the tune, is certainly a good image for this music.
Bates no. 9 is a typically cheerful example of the music in his collection.
I was honored to play a contra dance last night in Minneapolis with Pat's Propellers. We had our usual good time but, because of the onset of Daylight Savings Time, the drive home took an hour longer than usual.
Next weekend I'm looking forward to four dances with Contratopia, all in Maryland. Check out our schedule and stop and say hello if you are in the neighborhood.
I'll be trying to post next week's entry from Takoma Park, we'll see if I succeed.