Hangman’s Lane

I went to a concert given by violinist Fenella Humphreys at the Presteigne festival last year. It was part of a series of concert entitled Bach to the Future – ha ha – sounds like one of my titles! Basically Fenella (who is an amazing violinist) was performing Bach’s solo violin partitas and sonatas alongside works by contemporary composers inspired by them.

I started Hangman’s Lane after the concert and the idea for it comes from the arpeggiated section of the Chaconne. I’ve never been able to play this section due to my shortcomings in string crossing so I started the piece as a kind of study for myself. Only just got round to finishing it.

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                                         photography © Alex Ramsay

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Strings of the Desert

Joshua Tree 9

photo: Errol Walsh

Drone

When you listen to one note for a long time you hear harmonics from that fundamental note but you also start to hear other notes and sounds. Sometimes it’s hard to know if the sounds are real and actually there or if you’re imagining them.

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Falling Song

Bartok wrote two volumes of violin duets strongly influenced like much of his work by Hungarian folk music. I was inspired to write this piece after playing through some of them with one of my students. This is the first time I’ve used a guest musician on this project so many thanks to Ruth Watson for her super oboe playing.

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Gaucho

It’s ok. You haven’t been misdirected to ebay and these boots are definitely not for sale!

This piece started off as a gentle, rolling piece of ambient music which kind of went a bit pear-shaped in the middle. At the end I wish I’d started pear shaped and then gone er… different fruit shaped. Thanks to my pal Dave for the boots.

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7 Heaven

7 Heaven is almost entirely in 7/8 time. It’s a very addictive groove and a few years ago I found that I was using it so much, (a fact some of my fellow band mates will attest to) that I couldn’t write anything that wasn’t in 7. In the end I banned myself from using it.  Seems to be creeping back though…

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Yule

Yule uses the melodies from four well known carols. If you can recognise all of them you’re probably already enjoying a glass of port by the fire in your festive jumper. If you score one or less maybe you’re a bit of a Christmas Misery (like myself).

Bonus points can be scored by correctly identifying the Bach quote near the end of the piece.

Good luck.

Alex Ramsay          photography © Alex Ramsay

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