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Semper Concertina Semper Dolens...


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This is my attempt at John Dowlands's Semper Dowland Semper Dolens played on my F/C Jeffries anglo - still all a bit rough around the edges and could do with some variation in the repeats, but I'm quite pleased with it for now. Not sure I'd ever feel comfortable about performing it though, for fear there might be a lute player lurking, but I'm a bit too close to it, to be totally objective and decide if the anglo brings anything to the party? Like Mille regretz, it fits nicely under the fingers of an anglo, with many reverses necessitating the same or conveniently located buttons, but you do need an instrument with more than 30 buttons. I used a keyboard transcription of the lute tablature, rather than the 5-part viol arrangement. As ever, any comments and ideas gratefully received.

Adrian

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Hearing these sorts of Elizabethan textures transferred so successfully to anglo makes me very happy indeed. Might you consider doing an album of this sort of thing Adrian?

 

I imagine you feel about performing it the way I did about performing the Brahms left-hand piano arrangement of the famous Bach D minor Chaconne. In the end I just accepted that violinists would always hate me for it and performed it regardless ;)

Edited by StuartEstell
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Thanks a lot for your encouragement - I'm glad you liked it. With this piece I was able to play lot longer lines between bellows reversals than in mille regretz which gave me less problems with the accompanying "bellows swell" at each reversal. I generally let fingerings dictate when to switch, in the sense that when chords are spread out over both hands, it's nice to be able to keep at least one common button between them, especially when changing bellows direction. Maybe it's just laziness on my part, but I find it helps locate the following chord if not all the fingers have to be repositioned. Of course I had to sometimes break phrases in the middle as they tend to overlap constantly, so that, and the availability of notes in both directions are extra criteria that have to be worked out in advance.

Stuart: It's very tempting of course to think about doing some really nice CD recordings in a studio, but I suspect there's only a few dozen people worldwide, who are interested in the outer reaches of the anglo repertoire, and most of them are on this forum :-) As to performing these pieces, I think I'd have to work on them a lot more to be totally confident of pulling it off live - I'm also pretty allergic to music stands on stage, so I'd want to memorise them too. For the moment, I'm happy just ploughing onwards and hopefully upwards - and posting the occasional effort here :-)

Adrian

Edited by aybee
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You could perhaps do a halfway house Adrian - maybe record with a good quality portable recorder like a Zoom, in a church with a nice acoustic, to reduce (eliminate?) costs. Do an online release and at least the few dozen of us would get to enjoy it ;)

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Stuart, I think if I had the time to get enough of these works up to a recording standard, I'd go ahead and do a session with an engineer, regardless of the 'market'… But right now I'm trying a lot of different sorts of repertoire for the anglo and my time is somewhat limited. It's maybe an idea for the future though and nice to know that I'd have at least a few listeners!

Adrian

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This is my attempt at John Dowlands's Semper Dowland Semper Dolens played on my F/C Jeffries anglo - still all a bit rough around the edges and could do with some variation in the repeats, but I'm quite pleased with it for now. Not sure I'd ever feel comfortable about performing it though, for fear there might be a lute player lurking, but I'm a bit too close to it, to be totally objective and decide if the anglo brings anything to the party? Like Mille regretz, it fits nicely under the fingers of an anglo, with many reverses necessitating the same or conveniently located buttons, but you do need an instrument with more than 30 buttons. I used a keyboard transcription of the lute tablature, rather than the 5-part viol arrangement. As ever, any comments and ideas gratefully received.

 

Adrian

This reminded me of a video I recorded a while back of Dowland's Preludium on a Holmwood Tenor-treble. I'll repost it here for a few days before retiring it again. Mike

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This is my attempt at John Dowlands's Semper Dowland Semper Dolens played on my F/C Jeffries anglo - still all a bit rough around the edges and could do with some variation in the repeats, but I'm quite pleased with it for now. Not sure I'd ever feel comfortable about performing it though, for fear there might be a lute player lurking, but I'm a bit too close to it, to be totally objective and decide if the anglo brings anything to the party? Like Mille regretz, it fits nicely under the fingers of an anglo, with many reverses necessitating the same or conveniently located buttons, but you do need an instrument with more than 30 buttons. I used a keyboard transcription of the lute tablature, rather than the 5-part viol arrangement. As ever, any comments and ideas gratefully received.

 

Adrian

I love it! I think this is a great use of your anglo. Have a listen to this track I made of a Praetorious dance tune on my 30 button C/G Morse- https://soundcloud.com/andy-western/praetorius-dance-from-terpischore-1

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Thanks for your comments. My own favourite performance of this piece is Paul O'Dette's recording on his complete Dowland series - it's a wonder how he can give each of the four lines its own phrasing and direction on one instrument.

Nice to hear I'm not the only one working on this repertoire - I had a look at the Preludium Mike, but I think it's the sort of piece that fits the English system much better than the anglo. All those fast diminutions against held basses would be really quite tricky on an anglo.

Andy, I love the Praetorious dance and think it's an amazing achievement to play it on a 30 button anglo, but I can't help imagining what you would be able to do with a 38 or 40 button instrument... Don't you ever feel the urge?

 

Adrian

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My own favourite performance of this piece is Paul O'Dette's recording on his complete Dowland series - it's a wonder how he can give each of the four lines its own phrasing and direction on one instrument.

I love these recordings too, they're in fact amazing...

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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My own favourite performance of this piece is Paul O'Dette's recording on his complete Dowland series - it's a wonder how he can give each of the four lines its own phrasing and direction on one instrument.

 

He's a wonderful musician. But don't forget his instrument is not a concertina. The impetus for the sounds of the individual voices are not all produced in the same bellows.

 

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Thanks for your comments. My own favourite performance of this piece is Paul O'Dette's recording on his complete Dowland series - it's a wonder how he can give each of the four lines its own phrasing and direction on one instrument.

Nice to hear I'm not the only one working on this repertoire - I had a look at the Preludium Mike, but I think it's the sort of piece that fits the English system much better than the anglo. All those fast diminutions against held basses would be really quite tricky on an anglo.

Andy, I love the Praetorious dance and think it's an amazing achievement to play it on a 30 button anglo, but I can't help imagining what you would be able to do with a 38 or 40 button instrument... Don't you ever feel the urge?

 

Adrian

Understood. Frankly, it's a challenge even with the English system and particularly with a tenor-treble due to the larger bellows volume - pushing a lot of air.

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Thanks for your comments. My own favourite performance of this piece is Paul O'Dette's recording on his complete Dowland series - it's a wonder how he can give each of the four lines its own phrasing and direction on one instrument.

Nice to hear I'm not the only one working on this repertoire - I had a look at the Preludium Mike, but I think it's the sort of piece that fits the English system much better than the anglo. All those fast diminutions against held basses would be really quite tricky on an anglo.

Andy, I love the Praetorious dance and think it's an amazing achievement to play it on a 30 button anglo, but I can't help imagining what you would be able to do with a 38 or 40 button instrument... Don't you ever feel the urge?

 

Adrian

Adrian, I am positively chomping at the bit to get my hands on a 38 or 40 button concertina. I had commissioned Jeff Thomas to build a 40 button instrument for me a little over 2 years ago but when it came time for him to begin construction this past October, I, with a heavy heart, had to cancel. I simply cannot afford it at this time. Other unexpected expenses have crept into the equation. As john Lennon said, "life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans..."

 

Andy.

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My own favourite performance of this piece is Paul O'Dette's recording on his complete Dowland series - it's a wonder how he can give each of the four lines its own phrasing and direction on one instrument.

 

He's a wonderful musician. But don't forget his instrument is not a concertina. The impetus for the sounds of the individual voices are not all produced in the same bellows.

 

That's of course true David, but he is my inspiration (and aspiration) for this music, even if I realise it might ultimately have to be faked on a concertina. Lutes also have their own limitations so I don't feel it's an entirely pointless exercise to try :-)

 

Adrian

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