Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wals Voor Polle

This waltz, by Wim Poesen, became something of a beloved chestnut for me after I heard the House Band's version on their Stonetown CD. I recently went into a friend's studio to get a quality recording of my Baffetti, and laid down this recording of the Wals. Thanks to Caleb Orion for recording and engineering.

Wals Voor Pollee, played by me on the Baffetti Tex-Mex II/34


And here's a stunning performance by piper Polle Ranson for whom the Wals is voor.



UPDATE: Go HERE for additional recordings of Ranson playing the tune on Flemish pipes.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Stephane Deliqc's "Vivre"

The duo of Mark Prescott and Clive Williams play Stephane Delicq's tune, "Vivre," at their June 2013 concert.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sous le Ciel de Paris (Still Learning)

A few months ago I mentioned that I was determined to learn the Edith Piaf classic, "Sous le Ciel de Paris." I had been asked to accompany a singer, but then decided I wanted to learn the Tune itself. I saw the Anders Johannson video and was thoroughly inspired. In the end, I did not use his arrangement. I based mine on the arrangement my singer was using. There are some techniques of Johannson's that I would dearly love to get under my fingers -- those descants! But I'm pleased with the progress I've made. I follow the example of fellow blogger Owen Woods who, in April, posted some "experimental" work he was doing with descants, and then just recently posted a piece about the joys of being "out of my depth." Very joyful, indeed. Sigh.



Some technical points. I'm playing it basically in A minor, but there's a lot of straying from typical diato chords. I pulled the thirds out of the chords on the left hand. My goal wasn't so much to find the right chord for the song, but to find a dyad that fit with the chord.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Vivant: Tree of Life

I wrote about Vivant -- the duo of Clive Williams, melodeon, and Mark Prescott, violin -- some months ago, including some lengthy commentary by Clive himself! At the time I was enthusing about their first recording. Clive mentioned that a second disc was in the works. It's here.

Tree of Life builds on the strengths of its predecesor with a sort of whirling romantic simplicity. There's a bit more of the melancholy here then on the first. And at one point these English and French tunes actually evoked a Russian winter to me. Though that could simply be because I'm reading Dostoyevsky at the moment (for which this recording provides a perfect soundtrack).

This isn't meant to be a proper review. Rather, I'm hoping to call your attention to beautiful work being done by two artists in a way that suits the music, the instruments, and me. Go to Vivant's bandcamp page to stream, download, or order.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

First Tunes with the Baffetti


Videos down below!

The Dino Baffetti Tex-Mex II/34 arrived on Thursday! Very exciting! I had intended to do an internal examination of the box, a la Owen Woods or Daddy Long Les, but I found I couldn't bear to take a screw driver to it, not even to remove the grill. I'm made of less stern stuff than that, it seems.

Instead, I've been playing the heck out of it. Here are some first thoughts:

  • Big one!  Playing a three row is different from playing two or two-and-a-half row or even two-row-plus-accidentals. Possibly this is obvious. The three row quint box can do different things that I don't yet know how to do. New frontiers!
  • The two row repertoire works just fine on this one. Even if it is obvious that playing up-and-down the rows is not what it was built to do, everything I've been learning for the last 15 years is essentially transferable!
  • At melodeon.net there is a recurring discussion about stepped keyboards vs. flat keyboards. Playing a flat keyboard for the first time in years has made no difference to me.
  • Even though this is an F/Bb/Eb box (which is exactly what I was after) I'm choosing to name it as G/C/F and recognize that it's a transposing instrument. All of the sheet music and tab is for G/C/F, so this seems simplest.
  • It sounds AMAZING. Essentially, as one colleague mentioned, it's a clone of a Hohner Corona, done to a absurdly high level of quality. The sound is so very sweet. And the touch is effortless. I do have fond feelings for Hohner accordions, but this is a cut above.
  • I love it.
  • It is a little silly that with five rows of box to my name, I still don't have a D row. What sort of psychological block am I dealing with? Is it PTSD from the Minneapolis Irish sessions?
Here are three videos with the Baffetti. The first is a hanter dro written by Sylvain Piron.



The second is another hanter dro, traditional, that I learned from Steve Gruverman.



The third is a Breton March, traditional, that I learned from the playing of Daniel Thonon.