(Borrowed image of Perthshire, Scotland. Please click on the photo to go to the source!)
Welcome to my little corner of the Challenge of Music :). I love music, I have always loved music... it is very much a part of who I am. So every time the lovely and wonderful Erin Prais-Hintz has her challenge up, I eagerly leap forward, yearning to play with music yet again.
My forte is vocal music, I have always sang, as long as I can remember lol. So when Erin said this was an instrumental challenge... well, now that is more of a challenge for me. When I was at the UO as an English major, one of my guilty pleasures was taking classes at the Music School when I could find one open to non-majors that sounded enjoyable. My favorite by far was an exploration of Celtic music, we listened to an enormous variety, learning about how Celtic music evolved. From early mouth music, to the bagpipes, fiddle, bodhran... I've always been a sucker for anything Celtic (Scottish in particular) and was rapt throughout this class, our homework? To listen to music... some of my favorite pieces were from the Hebrides, we listened to recordings of elders singing ancient songs that are now forgotten everywhere else but there. We listened to (and got to play at) waulking songs, we were taught a few phrases in Gaelic by a local enthusiast group, they also were kind enough to teach us a few simple steps to show the difference between jigs and reels in dancing. I think those are some of my favorite memories from school there :). Their were a handful of pieces that really stuck with me, that touched my soul deeply... the song I would like to present to you today is one of those. It is what is referred to as a "slow air" or a strathspey.
My tune is "Niel Gow's Lament on the Death of His Second Wife". Niel Gow is one of Scotland's most famed fiddlers, he lived in the 18th century and was from Perthshire, Scotland. He had two wives, both named Margaret ironically. The first bore him eight children, five boys and three girls. I couldn't find out much about his first wife, other than that she bore him many children and left him a widower. However by all accounts I could find his second marriage was a very happy one and they were married for 37 years before she passed on. Can you imagine? I only hope that my husband and I have so many happy years together. Niel Gow wrote this lament after her death and only outlived Margaret by two years. You can listen to this song in my absolute favorite version by clicking HERE. I was hoping for a YouTube version, but well... it was this particular version, performed by Alasdair Fraser on fiddle and Paul Machis on piano that captured my heart something like nine years ago. There are versions on YouTube, but none by Alasdair and that gentleman plays in a way to touch the heart, promise.
Now, finally, for my piece inspired by this song:
What I love about this lament... is that there is more joy than sorrow. You can feel his love, his yearning, his joy at having had such a woman in his life. To me, it feels more Spring than Winter. So my piece is full of soft Spring colors. There is a wee Celtic knot bead to represent their love, an elephant bead from Pips for remembrance, a pale almost grey cathedral style czech crystal dangle for his sorrow, a soft sorrow, wistful not bitter... as is the lavender Irish waxed linen thread. But soft pinks, soft cream, silver circles, silver knots... for a love that was enduring and I like to think, still is.
I hope you have enjoyed my part in this challenge, thank you so much for stopping by! And a special thanks to the amazing Erin for hosting and being such an inspiration to me always.
The List! More amazing blogs and posts about music :)
Evie and Beth McCord
Malin de Koning
Mary K McGraw