Thursday, April 18, 2019

Clark's Ramble (live from CMSA Santa Rosa, November 2018)

Clark's Ramble (mp3) (pdf score) (pdf M1) (pdf M2)

Last November I had a great time attending the annual Classical Mandolin Society of America convention in Santa Rosa, CA. One of the highlights for me was presenting the world premiere (with the artful assistance of Dr. Robert Margo, appearing in our guise as Duo Oswald) of a piece now titled "Clark's Ramble."

This piece began back in the 1980s (I think) as an exercise when I was working through William Russo's excellent text Composing Music: A New Approach, a book I highly recommend. It went from a single melody to a three part piece over the years. Planning for the CMSA open mic performance I had the idea to take this old piece and turn it into a duo, while adding a new section at the beginning.

While written for two mandolins, Dr. Margo suggested playing the second mandolin part on an octave mandolin at our performance and the recording that I'm sharing here is of that version. The score and parts are the original two mandolin arrangement but an octave mandolin works fine on the second part.

If anyone sits down with the score and compares it to the recording she or he will quickly discover slight alterations in our rendering of the score. We had rehearsed a couple of times and had practiced in advance but the fun of actually playing it for an appreciative audience (watch your volume control at the end) allowed us to take a few liberties (mostly unintentional) with the written music. At one point I believe we even fall out of sync for a few measures, resulting in some fun new music. I hope you enjoy this piece as much as we did.

The portrait above is of George Rogers Clark, the founder of my hometown of Clarksville, Indiana. A good case can be made that, without his determination and leadership, the United States of America might never have extended its reach beyond the Appalachian mountains. Following that alternate historical line Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, etc. might today be provinces of Canada. Just a thought.

Many thanks to Michael Tognetti for capturing this performance. There's video too but I haven't figured out how to stream it.

Special thanks to my Duo Oswald partner Bob Margo for adding his talents to this recording and for encouraging my composing in many ways.
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