I can boast a claim to have been 'screeched in' and therefore stand proudly as an 'Honourary Newfoundlander'. There's an old saying; 'if you stop to ask a Newfoundlander the way, you would likely be sharing their supper table that night'. And the Newfoundlanders will tell you that 'strangers are just friends you haven't met yet'.
As a seasoned traveller of Newfoundland, I can most certainly attest to the open friendliness with which Newfoundlanders greet strangers..
Otto Kelland, is best known for his hauntingly beautiful song 'Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary's'. a wistful and much loved Newfoundland song, and I recorded this by way of a tribute to the lovely people of that beautiful province.
'L`ete Indien' (Indian Summer) earned the title 'Best Song of The Year' in 1975. I delight in the mosaic texture of this piece of music and I so enjoyed every minute of the time I put into arranging and orchestrating this version. I decided that the musical form would be a suite with variations; weaving my own musical compositions in three parts around the main melody. The opening piece in this fantasia is 'Into The Night', a 2:45 minute introduction which leads us gently into the principal theme: 'L`ete Indien'.
Inspiration for the second variation, 'At the French Cafe', came from a memorable evening I once had in a outdoor cafe`on a Paris street a long time ago. The lively composition of this song captures the colourful ambience of the evening; and it is the bright voice of the musette accordion, while adding the traditional and nostalgic ingredient to the Parisian charm, that takes us through a change of key and returns us to 'L`ete Indien'. The early light of 'The Awakening Day' is proclaimed by the voice of a Shakuhachi - an ancient bamboo flute traditionally used for meditation music. The dawn then comes forth through a dramatic blaze of red sky announcing the coming of stormy weather.
'Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes (and I will pledge with mine') is a beloved old English song from the early 1800's. It was originally a poem about infatuated love that was later fitted to a tune already in existence. In my arrangement of this piece I have played it through twice and between the two sets I have interlaced a composition of my own which I have titled 'Nymphs of the Valley'. Nymphs are the guardian nature spirits that live in the gardens, forests and by the streams. While you listen to this piece, close your eyes and you will see these lovely spirit creatures as they softly move around giving gentle care to the flowers.
'Con te Partiro'('Time to Say Goodbye') . . is most certainly one the the most beautiful and moving pieces of music ever written. Classical in it's composition, 'Con te Partiro' was written especially for Andrea Boccelli who, singing it in Italian, established the song as one of the best selling singles of all time. Later, a second version of the song entitled 'Time to Say Goodbye', was performed beautifully, and from the heart, by Andrea Boccelli and Sarah Brightman.
Anyone who has enjoyed the BBC production of 'Larkrise to Candleford' will surely remember the catchy melody which wove it's way through each episode. During the weeks that I watched this series I frequently heard the music playing in my mind. The airy freshness of this pretty song is enchanting.
I could never present a new collection without including a foot tapping contagious rhythm. 'Que Rico El Mambo' was written by Perez Prado, the Mambo music king, and is probably the most famous Mambo of all time . . .
Slowing down but continuing in the Latin flavour is Cole Porter's elegant and romantic, 'Begin the Beguine'.
'Halleluja' . . When I hear a beautiful piece of music such as this .... I feel an enthralling pleasure in which reason has no part. It seemed only fitting to end this programme with Leonard Cohen's 'Halleluja'. This lovely song offers a tranquil and soothing place to be.
There is something very wonderful in music. It speaks not to our thoughts as words do; it speaks straight to our hearts and spirits. Music soothes us; it can melt us to tears; we know not how; it is a language by itself. Music is the most sensuous of arts to loving souls. It is my wish that you derive much pleasure from this collection . . .