A Swan in The Evening
The Water Is Wide 3:09
Sally Gardens 2:09
Ah! Si Mon Moine Voulait Danser 3:09
Chicago Style Blues* 3:32
for Gary Gontier
She Moved Through The Fair 5:44
Tri Martolod 3:56
The Blooming Bright Star Of Belle Isle 4:41
Rainy Weekend Blues* 2:14
for Peter Hudson
She’s Like The Swallow 3:17
El Noi De La Mare 3:22
Climbin’ Up The Mountain 2:56
A Swan In The Evening began with my discovery of Alan Stivell through the albums including She Moved Through The Fair and Tri Martolod. The first
song was filled with longing and an unresolved ending, while the latter enthralled with its exuberance. As a student of classical guitar I had hoped
one day to play this repertoire. As a composer I began to arrange folk songs and as a performer have loved working with singers. Sometimes I try to reclaim the narrative elements that have been lost through guitar solo versions and the 20th century’s rush to assert that music is more important than words and
stories. My first gigs were playing at poetry readings, so I have a big love for text and story which nurtured these arrangements.
The Water Is Wide, a song composed by a variety of sources through Scotland, England and the U.S.A. has remained popular since it was re-introduced during the folk revival of the late 1950’s. My arrangementstarts in the folk style, but turns a bit more complex after the first verse.
Sally Gardens pays tribute to the Britten setting, while my version of Ah!
Si Mon Moine Voulait Danser, pays tribute to Godfrey Ridout’s rendering.
Chicago Style Blues, is from my book Well Tempered Blues which is a collection of pieces that introduce the style, so full of creative and interpretative potential to solo guitar players.
The next three songs are conceived as a mini opera, with an instrumental overture introducing this set. She Moved Through The Fair ends with the
lovers separated united only in a dream. Tri Martolod [Three Sailors] takes us to Newfoundland where the couple is reunited. The Blooming Bright Star
Of Belle Isle ends this mini opera, with the betrothed returning from an absence wearing a disguise. The internal monologue in the middle allows the
maid to tell her side of the story.
Rainy Weekend Blues, also from the same book as mentioned above, is an up-tempo number that allows the fingers to dance on the strings through
the standard blues harmonies.
The wonderful Newfoundland song She’s Like The Swallow, trips into a jazz waltz at times and has a beguiling lilt that belies the tragic story as told by
the lyrics. Often heard in a solo guitar arrangement, El Noi De La Mare, a beautiful Catalan children’s and Christmas song, that has inspired many
composers to arrange it. Climbin’ Up The Mountain a gospel song of unknown origin, and here is given an uplifting gospel/blues treatment.
During the first summer of lockdown , I saw a note informing me that the last Sunday of August was “World Play Music From Your Porch Day”. I
thought that we all needed some familiar live music and put out a call to find someone to sing with me. One person answered.
And the partnership with Kira Braun born, as we helped each other through the subsequent lockdowns, appeasing our need to make music by doing split screen videos. And we keep making music together…