Tuesday, 3 July 2012

George Butterworth - The Banks of Green Willow - a Must for an Arrangement!

And still it rains... a Scottish lady on the short holiday I have just had told me that in the part of Scotland where she was brought up, there were lots of different names for the different kinds of rain. Beautiful-sounding names they were, too - I can't remember one, of course, but I think they were all onomatopoeic... beautiful.

So today I can only call it Scotch Mist - the English name for the fine, steady rain that just drenches you. I took one look at it early this morning, had a cup of tea and went back to bed. LSH got up and obligingly switched on my favourite radio station, Classic fm...

Now I love English 20th Century music, especially Vaughan-Williams and Elgar. But one of my favourites is "The Banks of Green Willow" by George Butterworth. It was on the radio this morning and I realised that it's a piece of music that puts you immediately at peace with that sort of rain... you can listen to it and not mind the rain at all - because the rain is at one with those banks of green willow.

Please, treat yourself and lay aside five minutes to listen to this gorgeous orchestral piece, and enjoy the beautiful images of the countryside...

So I want to play those themes on my ukulele. I'm working on it already - chords with a picked melody in between...I've done the eight bars of the first melody.... in C, of course... and if I can get something finished on the lines of the two melodies and a cheat link, I shall write down the tab. Now that, for me, will be some sort of challenge, and some sort of progress....

Ukulelemike, Mike Lynch, did an arrangement of the theme from Finlandia, with a video and tutorial, and I featured it here - and it was not too difficult to learn from those, without the tab; but what I have also learned from that, is that the chords used, (key of C again) I can use here....it's starting to learn my way around the fingerboard by playing music, not by studying a chart in isolation.

If you watch the video on Youtube, (it was shared with permission), you'll find more information about the music, for which the inspiration was two English folk tunes.

How tragic, that like Mozart, like Gershwin, Butterworth died young; a lieutenant in the Durham Light Infantry, at 31 years old, he was killed by a sniper's bullet in 1916, leading a raid in Pozieres in the battle of the Somme, WW1.

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