Saturday, April 27, 2013

Six Duettinos, Summer 2006, no. 5

Six Duettinos, Summer 2006, no.5 (mp3) (pdf)

Continuing the process of finally recording all six of my little "duettinos", which you can read about in an earlier post from December 2012. Number 5 is one that I recorded back in February and then forgot to press the save button on my machine, so I played it again this afternoon and managed to save my work this time.

Getting ready for a fun concert tonight with Erik Sessions and special guests Pat O'Loughlin and Ehler Orngard. It's a benefit to raise funds for a lawsuit aiming to force the EPA to regulate livestock feedlot emissions that are affecting local air quality. Read about the suit here and the concert here.

The music will be fun and will feature some new tunes along with music our Notes From the Farm CD and sets of tunes from Contraopia CDs as well. We may even be joined by lawyer/mandolinist Wally Taylor for a tune or two.

If you are in town come on out to Good Shepherd church tonight to hear a couple of world premieres. We promise no long speeches, just good tunes.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Off to Minnesota with the Providence Mandolin Orchestra (Post #100)

Off to Minnesota (mp3) (pdf score, parts available on request)

According to the Blogger internal counting algorithm today's post is number 100 since I created this blog back at the start of 2007. You can see from the archive that I have been a little inconsistent over the years; 25 posts in 2007 but only 3 in 2009. Lately though I have found a rhythm and I believe that this is the 28th consecutive week that I have posted a piece of music here. (I have nothing for next week yet but we'll see what the coming week brings.)

I'm especially pleased with this week's "tune" because it features the remarkable Providence Mandolin Orchestra performing my arrangement of my simple tune "Off to Minnesota" (really just a variation on the classic tune "Off to California"), which I originally made up in 2007. It appeared here in its basic form, with guitar and mandolin, in June 2008. A little later I created the mandolin orchestra version and gave it to my good friends in the Minnesota Mandolin Orchestra.

The MMO has performed this piece many times in recent years and I have had the honor to join them on occasion. We performed the piece in Minneapolis during a concert at the annual Classical Mandolin Society of America convention last fall and Mark Davis, director of the Providence Mandolin Orchestra, liked the piece enough to ask me for the music. This resulted in the performance I'm sharing today.

The PMO is, by any standard, one of the premiere plectral ensembles in North America. They are especially well known for focusing on the performance of recently composed music for mandolin orchestra. In January 2013 the orchestra played a concert as part of the Music at Lily Pads series in Peace Dale, RI that featured a program of all original music for mandolin and guitars, including some recent award-winning pieces. I was extremely honored that Mark and the group chose to perform Off to Minnesota as their encore that afternoon.

Thanks to the hard work work of PMO member David Miller, and the generosity of Mark and the group, I have permission to share that performance here. It's an especially appropriate choice for today's post because I just returned last night from my second of two trips this weekend "off the Minnesota" to play tunes with buddies in Contratopia. I hope you enjoy the fine playing of the folks in the PMO!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wintry Mix

Wintry Mix (mp3) (pdf)

I wrote this tune a month or so ago while returning from Washington D.C. on Amtrak's Capitol Limited train. At the time I did not imagine that I would be watching, and listening, to such weather in mid-April here in Decorah. But this morning there was fresh, slushy ice on the car parked out front and nearly frozen rain is still falling from the sky at 11:00 a.m. Enough already.

The tune is a simple jig that lays nicely under the fingers.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Late Breakfast

Late Breakfast (mp3) (pdf)

I picked up the mandolin first thing this morning and a little snatch of melody was waiting. Rather than go downstairs for breakfast I played along until a whole tune emerged. Following my late breakfast I tuned up the guitar and plugged in a mic, then I recorded the music while it was still fresh.

Usually it's a good idea to wait a while and see if new and better ideas come along to improve a piece but I decided to go ahead and share this tune while it was new. Hope that's OK.

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