Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sometimes (the bear eats you) - Bates no. 3 - Bighorn River Sunset (duo)

Sometimes (the bear eats you) (mp3) (pdf)
Bates no. 3 (mp3 pt. 1) (mp3 pt. 2) (pdf score in G)
Bighorn River Sunset (duo version) (mp3) (pdf)

This week's new tune is a hornpipe in C, though it could be thought of as a schottische too I suppose. Another Norman and Nancy Blake inspired piece. A friendly melody with a simple harmony part.

I also recorded the third of William Bates' duettinos, another fun piece to play.

Finally, I recorded the duo mandolin version of my "Bighorn River Sunset" waltz as it appears in my Midwestern Mandolin Duos book. This tune already appeared in this blog back in October 2012 as recorded by my Contratopia friends. It is also featured in Don Julin's excellent Mandolin For Dummies book as an example of basic chord melody arranging.

Back in October 2016 I presented recordings of 10 new divertimentos for solo mandolin that I was compiling into a book titled Postcards from the Crater. I had print copies of this book for sale at the Classical Mandolin Society of America convention last fall. Now I have finally prepared the PDF edition for sale online. You can read more about the book and purchase either the ebook or the print version at this link:

Today's entry marks four weeks in a row, with a new tune each week. We'll see how long this pace continues. I hope you enjoy the music.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

March in January - Bates no. 2 - Goslings

March in January (mp3) (pdf) (pdf harmony)
Bates no. 2 (mp3 pt. 1) (mp3 pt. 2) (pdf score in G)
Goslings Afloat (duo version) (mp3) (pdf)

This week's new tune, mostly written on Jan. 18, is only slightly "original." Still it kept coming at me until I wrote it down so here it is. I recorded it at what I thought was a nice march tempo as a mandolin trio with a fun harmony part and the 3rd mando playing chords.

While there were certainly plenty of marches around the world this week my title is really a nod to Roger Tallroth's great tune for Vasen, "Marsch i April." The photo above was taken during a march with Suzie a couple of years ago. The stretch of road pictured is mostly a sheet of slowly melting ice right now.

Even though it's meant to be a march we played it at a much faster tempo for a circle dance last night here in Decorah and it worked fine.

I'm also including a recording from this morning of the 2nd of William Bates' duettinos. I have no. 3 in the digital can now. We'll see if I go further. Number 2 is certainly a fun piece to play.

"Goslings" is another piece from my Midwestern Mandolin Duos book. I have already presented this tune as a melody with chords back in May 2008 but this duo version has its own charm.

This was a busier than usual week for me. Last night I played at our local contra dance with our Western Home String Band. On Thursday I was honored to be invited to play the second set with my friends in the Tom Bourcier Band at Java John's. This was a "reunion/farewell" show for Tom and although it was a bittersweet occasion, musically it was a ball. On Tuesday I played my January solo mandolin show at JJ's and had a really nice audience, including artists, authors and at least one famous recording artist.

Here's the setlist from Tuesday:

Java John’s solo mandolin, January 17, 2017

Set 1
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 Arbutus

3. Mouret: Bourees I & II (Jean Joseph Mouret, 1682-1738)

4. The Hogwart’s Express / Steady On

5. Bach: Minuet from French Suite no. 6 / March in G from the Anna Magdalena notebook  (J.S. Bach, 1685-1750)

6. Phelps Park Bandshell

7. Telemann: 1728 Minuets nos. 4 & 14 (G.P. Telemann, 1681-1767)

8. Lecce: Partita in C (Francesco Lecce, 1715-1775)

9. Waltz for the New Year, 2017

10. Oswald: Airs for the Seasons / The Cyclamen

11. Henrietta Hornpipe / The New Henrietta (Goodin) / News Boys’ Hornpipe

                                                           Set 2

1. Sauli: Partita IV for Mandolin (Filippo Sauli, c. 1710)

2. Deer Tracks: January 29, 2009 / January 22, 2011

3. Menuets in Dm / Purcell, Clarke, Handel, Bach

4. Bach: Bourees I & II, 3rd Cello Suite (J.S. Bach, 1685-1750)

5. Twin Bridges

6. Bach: Bouree in Am

7. Oswald: Airs for the Seasons / The Heart’s-Ease

8. Telemann: 1730 Minuets nos. 47 & 43

9. The Wedding Broom

10. Butterfly Prairie

11. Big Tree Down / Over the Waterfall (thanks to Alan Jabbour)


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Big Tree Down - Casselman by Rail - Bates no. 1

Big Tree Down (mp3) (pdf) (pdf harmony)
Casselman by Rail (mp3) (pdf)
William Bates Duettino no. 1 (mp3 pt. 1) (mp3 pt. 2) (pdf score in G)

Today's tune, Big Tree Down, began its life as "January 9, 2017." The Big Tree in question, pictured above, began its life many years before that but it was felled this past week. It provided shade, shelter for squirrels (a mixed blessing) and many leaves in the autumn. A large, dangerous, split developed recently and its time ran out. This photo was taken shortly before the crew arrived.

Casselman by Rail appears in my Midwestern Mandolin Duos book, one of many tunes inspired by my trips on Amtrak's Capitol Limited route.

The Bates Duettino is the first in his set of 18, published in London around 1770. I would like to eventually record them all but you are welcome to do it first, if you like. They are pleasant pieces from the heyday of the popularity of the "guittar" in England, a wire-strung, cittern-like instrument not to be confused with today's guitar. You can read a little more about this music here.

I'll be playing another of my monthly solo mandolin gigs at Java John's Coffee House in Decorah this Tuesday (Jan. 17) from 7 to 9. I'm still building the set list but it will contain at least 3 of James Oswald's (another composer who wrote for the "guittar") Airs for the Seasons. I plan to choose 3 of the Winter sonatas. I will also be premiering my version of Filippo Sauli's fourth Partita for Mandolin and I will play a few pieces by J.S. Bach. I'll also probably play Big Tree Down and last week's Waltz for the New Year as well. Stop by if you are in town, no cover.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Waltz for the New Year, 2017

Waltz for the New Year, 2017 (mp3) (pdf)

Today's post marks the beginning of the second decade of this blog. Begun as an experiment in January 2007 I never for a moment imagined that I would still be using this platform in 2017. Of course for long stretches of time, most recently November and December 2016, I haven't added any content but with a new year comes new resolve.

On New Year's Day I wrote most of today's tune. I tinkered with it some on Monday and Tuesday and did some recording on Friday.

 I also had some fun this week working with a trio sonata composed by my old friend G.P. Telemann for transverse flute, violin and continuo. My Barenreiter edition tells me this was the "third of a collection of six trio sonatas with different instrumentation which Telemann had engraved in copper by Benjamin Kenckel", all six featuring the violin as one of the instruments.

In this post I am presenting an arrangement of part IV of the sonata, the concluding Vivace, for two mandolins (or mandolin and violin, etc.). In arranging this music for two mandolins I have pulled notes and phrases from the bass line to provide material for each player during what were measures of rest in the original. I will include recordings and the sheet music below.

Telemann: Trio Sonate in G, IV. Vivace (mp3) (pdf)

Finally, the photo above was taken moments ago (around 9:30 a.m.) looking out of my studio window. You will note that it is still rather cold here this morning, -4 or so last night, but it promises to warm up to around 17 degrees Fahrenheit this afternoon.

I hope you enjoy the music.
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