I thought I’d try a bit of a format shift in last Thursday’s stream. So I dropped the singing and reshuffled the instrument segments: mandolin (instrumentals) segment into the middle, viola to the start and fiddle to the end.
I also played one absolutely brand new piece of music and one technically new transcription. The transcription was J Scott Skinner’s violin solo ‘Le Messe’ [sic; unless there’s something I don’t know about, his French grammar was a bit ropey, ‘messe’ as in Catholic Mass is feminine not masculine]; I’ve played several of its siblings in their violin originals in recent streams but I was sure I could make a better job of this on viola, and to make life easier on my brain wrote it out a fifth lower, in alto clef and with a couple of decisions about technical intention ‘clarified’ in the new copy.
The new piece was what I’m naming as my third ‘prelude’ for solo viola; though whereas the first two had (I think) quite clearly identifiable roots in the quasi-improvisatory prelude movements of baroque solo instrument suites, this is essentially a (fairly unambitious) viola version of the solo piano nocturne.
Response to both was certainly positive, though probably more oriented to my playing than the writing; I certainly don’t expect to garner very many more compliments on my left-hand pizzicato in my playing career, though it is slightly easier to make it a slightly more effective device on viola than violin (in my opinion; I don’t think it’s just that my viola technique in general is better).
However, the vox populi is that I should take the mandolin back to accompanying songs. So, while you can expect one instrumental number on that (barring any late-arriving requests), I will be doing a couple of (hopefully!) entertaining vocal numbers. What the audience wants, the audience (if I can deliver it) gets …
One thing I won’t sadly be able to deliver is livestreams on the two Thursdays following 6 August. Shockingly, I actually have gigs with other musicians to live audiences on those dates – and they aren’t in breach of the Covid-19 safety guidelines. Watch this space for more information on that.