Audio

My Musical Diary

When Will I See You Again?

Following the death of my wife, Michèle, in December 2010, I found that music and walking helped me greatly during the long hours of sustained grief. I felt I was in a bubble far from the world of people and events. Within this place, I found myself composing little pieces of music, my “rien du touts” (“nothing at alls”)

These piano pieces were inspired by lengthy walks along the River Trent. Despite the sadness, I usually found myself humming little melodies in my head. The minute I got home, I would rush to the piano and scribble down each melody in my notepad. I would then work for hours, transcribing the music using a notation app before recording it on the piano. I would lose myself in these little compositions and they soon became my emotional connection to the world, describing the places I visited, the characters I met and the people I love – a kind of musical diary.

In time, these little tunes became an intrinsic part of my life and I began to realise that they expressed who I was as a person, sometimes in emotionally charged ways, sometimes in quite subtle ways! When someone suggested to me that I should share my work with others, I became aware that sharing my music would be akin to exposing parts of myself to external scrutiny. I found this difficult to contemplate because, by nature, I am a very private person.

I had found in the past – largely through my professional work as a psychology lecturer – that it is damned difficult to expose even a little bit of yourself to public evaluation and criticism. I believe this to be a fundamental fear in everyone and pertains heavily to individuals who share their creative works with other people, whether they are in education, business or the creative arts. Nevertheless, in November 2018 I released my first Album, “Riversongs”.

Depite my initial reticence, I have received many kind words about my music from people all over the world. I have found this both pleasing and deeply moving. My only disappointment is that a few of my little “rien du touts” have remained just that, “nothing at alls” because they haven’t been played a great deal. However, they are still very special to me!

Some of my earliest compositions are featured in my first two albums Riversongs and Reflections. These include Riversong, Snowdrops, Song for Michèle, When Will I See You Again, First Light and Amour; which can be found by clicking the album cover images below.

A Red Red Rose

My Love is Like A Red Red Rose; Trad. Scottish; Piano Solo arrangement by John McGuinness

We are approaching St. Andrews Day so I thought it timely to share my piano solo arrangement of one of the most beautiful Scottish love songs ever written – Robert Burns’ “A Red Red Rose”.

I have tried to bring out the romanticism in the music by giving the melody a “nocturne” style. I hope you enjoy it and sing along with it. In a future ‘blog’, I intend to write a little on the subject of the “Nocturne” or “Notturno”.

A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns

O my Luve is like a red, red rose
   That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
   That’s sweetly played in tune.

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
   So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
   Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
   And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
   While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!
   And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
   Though it were ten thousand mile.

From Wedding Album

Trams of Prague

From ‘This Week’s Track’ – 27 October 2019

I grew up in Glasgow and as a child I fell in love with the Corporation Trams. I adored the rhythmic sound of the tram as we travelled into the city centre. In both Prague and Vienna I rediscovered this childhood pleasure. The music starts with an impression of the grand historic buildings in Prague followed by an attempt to convey the unique rhythm of the trams.

Autumn Dreams

Barrow on Trent , Autumn 2018
Autumn Dreams from the album ‘Papy Cool’

Today had a beautiful autumnal feel, the vivid colours and the light, the trees slowly turning orange and yellow and the cold moist air. The music reflects my attempt to keep snuggled up in coat and scarf, sniffing the mushroom odours of the dying foliage.

How about catching some more chilled out music on my album: