I have recently filmed performances of my two favourite pieces from my first collection of piano compositions – “Riversongs” (2018).
The first of these is a simple, lyrical melody written for my oldest granddaughter, Aimy. It is a simple expression of loving feelings by a grandfather (or “Papy”, as Aimy calls me) for his beautiful granddaughter.
The second recording is the title song of the album, “Riversong”. This piece written in 2014 is a poignant piece. It describes views of the River Trent in Autumn and early Winter. Following the death of my lovely wife, Michele, in 2010, I often walked the fields by the river very early in the morning and was struck by the peaceful beauty of the scenes – the mists over the water, the stillness of the riverbank and the faint silhouettes of St.Wysten’s steeple across the river in Repton. I would begin to sense the stirrings of the little river “people”, their slumber interrupted by the early morning light. Close by, Willington would be coming to life, its inhabitants ready for another day. The scenes seemed to mirror a sense in me of the beauty and vulnerability of life shared by all living beings.
I dedicated this composition to Jeremy and Debbie, my son and his wife who, like me, lived on the banks of the Trent.
If you enjoyed these recordings, you will find the album on most of the top music streaming services – Spotify, YouTube, Apple, Amazon, Tidal, Deezer etc.
I live in Willington, a thriving village on the banks of the River Trent. There are so many beautiful walks along the river and the canal. As mentioned in my previous blog, these have provided me with many of my musical themes and ideas.
There is a richness and diversity of fauna and wildlife as well as a rich history both ancient and modern. On the other side of the river is Repton, the ancient capital of Mercia, home to one of the oldest public schools in England and St.Wystan’s Church. The crypt of the church was used as the burial chamber for the ancient Anglo Saxon kings and in its grounds were discovered the graves of vikings who had come up the Trent in their longboats and settled in the Repton area.
At Swarkestone, another neighbouring village, one can see the commemorative plaque to Bonnie Prince Charlie and his army. It marks the spot where Charles and his army turned back to Scotland on his ill-fated attempt to win back the British Throne for the Stuarts. Soon afterwards, they were decimated at Culloden!
When I was first widowed, I would walk the fields, discovering so many new things about Willington’s past, its geography, its history, its social and cultural life.
Many of the Piano pieces in “Riversongs” and “Among the Willows” are early attempts to capture the ambience of this place
In the last year, I have written a set of orchestral poems about my countryside “ haunts” entitled “Songs of the Trent”. I have not yet sent these for general distribution but I thought I would upload one or two of these musical poems in advance for you to hear.