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New Music: “Pastorale”

Well, it’s getting to be the Holiday time of the year. A standard Christmas type of piece in ages past was the ‘pastorale—the original idea is that it was supposed to be reminiscent of shepherds piping in their fields. Pastorales are always in a gentle 6/8 or 12/8 time (ONE-two-three-FOUR-five-six…) and frequently have a drone bass (long bass note). Handel has a Pastorale in his Messiah, for example. And you can still hear the ‘pastorale’ idea in more modern Christmas pieces like Jesu Bambino.

I’ve been commissioned to write a piece for Recorder Consort and glass armonica by the Questhaven Retreat . The ‘recorder‘ is a kind of Renaissance flute—you’ve heard them many times in film scores—they have a lovely ‘earth flute’ kind of sound. They come in various sizes—standard ones would be ‘soprano’, ‘alto’, ‘tenor’ and ‘bass’ (and there are other sizes still). An appropriate set of recorder players is called a ‘consort’.

Recorders and glass armonica make for a really nice sound—hope you like my little piece! We’ll be performing it on December 22.


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