I don’t post many polkas (or any, really), but I do play them in the comfort of my home and at dances, and I do love them! They just aren’t as interesting to me as the other types of tunes I play (bourrées, mazurkas, waltzes, etc.), so I leave them for others. A recent video by Melodeon.net doyen Clive Williams has had me rethinking this. His performance, below, of two polkas is a thing of beauty, with the left-hand adding tremendously to the colors of these fairly basic tunes.
For my other post on the elusive, well-played polka, check out Rikke van Ommeren.
|Andy Cutting’s “The Bay Tree.”
Click to enlarge.
It occurred to me that however I described Alexandra Browne’s Diatonic Liaisons, nothing would top seeing an actual page. I asked if she would choose a page for me. She did, and sent me a JPEG, and here it is.
The tune — “The Bay Tree” — itself is a brilliant piece of work by the great Andy Cutting, a British accordionist with a true affinity for the continental. The tune is on Cutting’s classic duet recording with vielle à roue player, Nigel Eaton, Panic at the Cafe. That recording can be downloaded here.
Around thirteen years ago I was at the Button Box and saw a tune book, Diatonic Liaisons, by Alexandra Browne. An amazing piece of work, it compiled original tunes by Frédéric Paris, Dave Roberts, Bruno le Tron, Alain Pennec, Alan Lamb, Andy Cutting, Trevor Upham, and Marc Perrone. With eight tunes by each of these worthies, along with extensive biographical notes, this was an amazing, unprecedented collection. On top of that, it was simply beautiful, with the music hand rendered, incorporating unique symbols to capture the particularities of button accordion practice. On any other day, I would have picked up the thing for twice the asking price.
But on that day I was purchasing an instrument and had no excess supply of the ready to get the book. “Next time,” I said, and then never saw it again.
Until a few months ago. Who should show up on Melodeon.net
but Alexandra Browne herself, and she doesn’t know, but is there any interest in this book … and there was a lot of interest. A print run was done, and copies were made available (also by PDF), all for a reasonable price. So, I’m recommending the thing unequivocally. If you’re interested in obtaining a copy, contact Ms. Browne at firstname.lastname@example.org.