Re: The Wind Among the Reeds
1. Laridé 6 temps (trad. Brittany) | Pixel (Richard Kean)
Named for a cat, ‘Pixel’ was originally composed as a 12/8 pipe tune inspired by Bulgarian rhythms. At some point it was decided that, if swung, it would pair well with a traditional, unnamed Breton laridé 6 temps recorded on Strobinell’s An aotrou liskildri (1991) and published in David Surette’s Fest Breizh collection (2006). (To be clear: we are swinging the tune, not the cat.)
2. 5/4 Waltzes: Port William (T.Cummings) | Apple Knoll (J.McLane)
The ‘ground’, or theme, of the Scottish pibroch, ‘The Old Woman’s Lullaby’ [Cronan na Caillich sa Bheinn Bhric], serves as the basis for the first part of ‘Port William’ (named for the fictional town in many of Wendell Berry’s writings). It took only two glasses of pinot noir to transform the ancient pibroch into a contemporary 5/4 waltz. One of the McLane family’s favorite excursions is to a scenic hilltop orchard near South Strafford, Vermont; and so it is that ‘Apple Knoll’ was written for Annemieke McLane.
3. Danses Plinn | rond de Loudéac (trad. Brittany)
The danse Plinn is a Breton dance involving repetitive, energetic, two-footed hopping, and is a traditional form thought to have been used by villagers to tamp down the dirt floors of newly erected homes long ago. On this track we take a ‘smoother’ approach to these than what might be played for an actual dance. These tunes come to us from a variety of sources, including Storvan’s An Deiziou Kaer (1996). The closing melody, originally a rond de Loudéac (another type of traditional Breton dance), was learned from le couple de sonneurs Pierre Catrou and Corentin Dauneau.
4. Bourrées 3 temps: Montagnarde de Saint-Sauve (trad. central France) | Bourrée d’Olivier Durif (O.Durif) | Calarem, calarem pas (trad. central France)
The French word montagnarde is used to describe a type of bourrée, and can also be translated as “mountain girl”. The renowned Jean Blanchard recorded the first bourrée on Musiques pour Cornemuses (1988), having sourced the tune from Jean-Baptiste Bouillet’s Album auvergnat (1853). The second bourrée was recorded by violinists Jean-Pierre Champeval and Olivier Durif on Dans les rochers du Viallaneix (2012), and the third was recorded by Laurence Dupré and Olivier Wely on Fatcha peta lou peis: Violons des Monts d’Auvergne (2007).
5. Son ar Rost (Herri Leon)
This march was composed by Herri Leon (1933-1962), a piper and Breton revivalist, and was recorded by Kornog on Première (1984) and published in David Surette’s Fest Breizh collection (2006). We offer it in a style reminiscent of a Highland pipe 6/8 march. The title is in the Breton language and translates to “the song [or tune] of the roast”, meaning that it might accompany the roast meat course at a wedding, for example.
6. Gavottes des montagnes (trad. Brittany)
We take a slightly unorthodox approach to these Breton dance tunes, taking them at a slightly faster clip, and mixing ton simpl, ton doubl, and ton tripl gavottes. The last tune has been variously labeled a gavotte de montagne (ton doubl), a dans fisel, and a hanter fisel (the latter as heard on Skeduz’s Couleurs Livioù, 1999).
7. Les Morvandiaux (trad. central France) | César’s (T.Cummings) | The Sound of Sleat (Pipe Major Donald MacKinnon)
‘Les Morvandiaux’ was recorded by René Zosso on Chante & Vielle (1968). The first part of ‘César’s’ is based on a theme from César Franck’s Symphony in D minor. ‘The Sound of Sleat’ [pronounced “slayt”] is a well-known pipe tune, and its title refers to the inlet between mainland Scotland and the Isle of Skye.
8. Entre le bœuf et l’âne gris (trad. Breton/French carol melody) | polka (trad. Massif Central)
According to the editors of The New Oxford Book of Carols (1992), ‘Entre le bœuf et l’âne gris’ is a melody that may be of Breton origin. The version now used for the carol, and performed here, has almost certainly been altered from its Breton origins. The polka comes to us from Julie Vallimont, and can be found in The Massif Central Tune Book compiled by Mel Stevens, published by Dragonfly Music (1987).
9. Keys to the City (J.McLane) | The Meadowhawks (T.Cummings)
‘Keys to the City’ was written for Tim on the occasion of his move to Burlington, Vermont. The Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum) is a small, reddish dragonfly native to the Eastern U.S.
10. Hanter dro: Dessous un rosier blanc (trad. Brittany) | E kostez an Henbont (trad. Brittany)
The hanter dro is a simple, traditional Breton dance. It is rare for Breton dance tunes to have titles, and it’s likely these two are titled after the lyrics that may be sung to them. We begin this set in the nervy Phrygian mode, a mode almost never heard on Scottish-style bagpipes. ‘E kostez An Henbont’ (“On the Hennebont side [of the river]”) was recorded by the Battlefield Band on Celtic Hotel (1987). (And according to the Celtic Hotel album notes: “We learned it from the playing of one of the early and best known bands of the Breton revival, Diaouled Ar Menez… By the way, we don’t play the full tune —these are the ‘edited highlights’!”)
11. Border hornpipes: Lord Lovat’s Welcome to Castle Downie (trad. Lowland/Borders) | Cambrian Place (trad./arr.C.Matthews) | Jack’s Gone a-Shearin’ (trad. Lowland/Borders)
The first of these “triple-time” hornpipes was arranged by Irish/English/American fiddler Robert Ryan. The second tune existed in obscurity as a fragment of an old slip jig before the Welsh flutist/piper Ceri Matthews named it and “cobbled” it into the 3/2 hornpipe setting it now occupies so beautifully. (We decided this tune was strong enough to händel a brief countermelody.) Both of these tunes originally came to us from Robert, via Dominique Dodge, who both tend to play them in reverse order. The final tune was published in Matt Seattle’s The Border Bagpipe Book (1993). We took the liberty of swapping the second and third parts from what appears in print.
12. All You Shining Stars (T.Cummings) | Cronos (J.McLane)
‘All You Shining Stars’ was originally written as an instrumental lullaby for the pipes. Its title is taken from Psalm 148, and our performance here is dedicated to Luke McLane (born 2013).