A thread on the discussion board reminded me of this old Scottish Slow air. It is also called Lord Balgonie’s Favorite.
Wouldn’t it be better categorised as a strathspey than a reel? There’s a large body of tunes in the Scottish fiddle repertoire called, ‘slow strathspeys’, which, while having the rhythmic structure of a strathspey, are played at slow tempo and more-or-less rubato.
Yes Spoon I think I should have done that. Maybe I still can.
Also used in the movie the piano and often played by Ben the Hoose.
Been singing this to myself to learn it and it kept drifting into something more like 6/8. Searched around and found a reference to it as the being the same melody as ‘Bacca Pipes Jig’.
Gloomy winter’s noo awa’
The Robert Tannahill lyrics:
Gloomy winter’s noo awa’, saft the westlin’ breezes blaw
Amang the birks o’ Stanley Shaw, the mavis sings fu’ cheery o
Sweet the crawflower’s early bell, decks Glennifer’s dewy dell
Bloomin’ like your bonnie sel’, my ain my darlin’ dearie o
Come my lassie let us stray o’er Glennifer’s sunny brae
And blythely spend the gowden day ‘midst joys that never weary o
Towerin’ o’er the Newton woods, lavrocks fan the snaw white clouds
And siller saughs wi’ downy buds, adorn the banks sae briery o
Round the sylvan fairy nooks, feathery brackens fringe the rocks
And ‘neath the brae the burnie jouks, and ilka thing is cheery o
O trees my bud and birds may sing, flowers may bloom and verdure spring
But joy tae me they cannae bring, unless wi’ you my dearie o
I love the dramatic contrast the cheerful words and the gloomy melody create! (why such gloom? the suspense lasts til the last line)
And this is the skeleton of the song heard on the Tannahill Weavers’ album:
T: Gloomy Winter
A>A AB AG E2| c>c ce dc B2 |A>A e>A AG E2|D>D EG A2 AB:||
ce gc Bc d2|c>B Ac Be E2|EE G>[EG] EA Bc/2d/2|c>B A/G/E/D/ EA A2||
oh…and finally, this precision; the reference to ‘The Piano’ above is to Michael Nyman’s soundtrack for Jane Campion’s film, 1993. For a brief account of the genesis of this work, see; http://www.mfiles.co.uk/reviews/nyman-the-piano.htm for example.
I read the sleeve notes to the CD after it was released but struggled to find a mention of the origin of this best seller of a ‘theme’ (used on ‘The Sacrifice’ and other tracks such as ‘The Heart Asks Pleasure First’): it was barely and small-ly refered to as ‘traditional’: no name or bibliographic reference given. Typical!
Jeremy Kittel plays this as a slow air on his Roaming album. It is breathtaking.
Gloomy Winter, X:3
Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas have a lovely G minor version.
This tune works really well in E minor too (E on the D string).
Lord Balgonie’s Favorite Set
Here is me playing Lord Balgonie’s Favorite aka Gloomy winter with The Virginia Company
Re: Gloomy Winter
Also on the soundtrack to the film Marion Bridge, set in Cape Breton, played/arranged by Dave MacIsaac. I think it is in the scene when the declining mother is nostalgically listening to recordings.
Re: Gloomy Winter
@ gardnerfiddle: Lovely, thank you.
Re: Gloomy Winter’s Now Awa’.
I had a go at this air to Gloomy Winter’s Now Awa’, playing it on Hammered Dulcimer, English Concertina, Fiddle & Whistle!