Although most of you know me for my recipe blogs, there is much more to me than just a love of food.
One of the other things I love is music. I am a published poet, songwriter and recording artist (as one half of the alternative due, ElectrickWytch, along with my husband Dan) and I also compose classical music, notating by hand.
Writing music score is an activity I started more recently, over a four-day period during the last festive season on the run up to the UK’s Third Lockdown. Like many people in the UK, we had a quiet Christmas being joined only by Dan’s mum, Verna, who was in our ‘bubble’.
I play the piano and have been having lessons with my teacher Jake for about three years now. I really enjoy my lessons and although I had already been able to read music and play instruments off and on since a young age, my sight-reading has definitely improved over the last few years, especially since the Lockdowns when I was forced to teach myself the Grade 2/3 syllabus (I don’t get on well with Zoom or other online methods of learning and participation, I don’t feel sufficiently ‘connected’) and my forays into writing music. Regular piano lessons have enabled my skills and confidence to grow; although I have been writing songs for many years, never did I think that one day I would be able to start writing classical music and take to it like a duck to water.
My MIL went back to Richmond on 28 December and Dan, who is a Piano Tuner/Technician, had tunings in the London area that day. I had been amusing myself with daily piano practice and, with some kind of melody that had literally popped into my head very early that morning, I set about carefully writing the notes in pencil on to some blank manuscript paper that I found among my bunch of sheet music books. Over the next few days, I wrote the music in small sections at a time, going between the paper and the piano as I expanded and built up the piece. I recorded certain sections of the piece on to my mobile phone to help me recall more easily the melody and rhythm and notate it accurately and as I intended by using the playback on my mobile phone app whilst putting pencil to paper. By lunchtime on New Year’s Eve, my Avenue Waltz was born. I dedicated it to Jake and his fiancé Liam as a housewarming gift on the occasion of their moving into a new house together. I called it Avenue Waltz because Jake and Liam’s new house is on an avenue, and the melody and rhythm of the composition convey the ambience and feel of a couple’s journey and conversation along a tree-lined road on a sunny spring day. Dan transferred my hand-notated manuscript on to Guitar Pro 5 and printed off a copy, which I signed and delivered to Jake by hand.
Written in the key of C Major and in 3/4 time, Avenue Waltz is a Piano Grade 3 Level Viennese-style waltz reminiscent of the well-known Austro-Hungarian composers of the 19th century such as Johann Strauss II (The Blue Danube, Emperor Waltz) and Franz Lehár who was best known for his Operettas such as The Merry Widow but also his most famous waltz piece, Gold and Silver Waltz. Avenue Waltz is a piece that could easily be orchestrated and immediately makes me think of André Rieu’s dancers twirling around the ballroom to the dulcet melodies of his Johann Strauss Orchestra, and the little trill in bar 77 contains that trademark element of playfulness and good humour.
Avenue Waltz contains fast running semi-quavers in bars 6, 13, 36 and 43 and various other places as a lead-on to the next musical section, or cadence, as means of punctuation. The piece is an adaptation of an A, B, A Coda or shortened rondo form. A rondo form is a principal theme or ‘refrain’ which alternates with one or more contrasting themes or episodes, which are occasionally referred to as ‘digressions’ or ‘couplets’. One main characteristic of my music is either this rondo form or, in fact, ternary or trio form, such as one of my new pieces La Periquita (more about that later). Ternary form is otherwise known as song form, a three-part musical form consisting of an opening section A, a following section B, and then a repetition of the first section. This style was popularised in the eighteenth-century Baroque music of G F Handel’s Messiah and St John’s Passion by his contemporary, Johann Sebastian Bach.
Avenue Waltz also contains a ‘drone’ in the bass clef at bars 46-76. The piece is approximately five minutes’ in duration including repeats, depending on whether one takes it faster or a little slower. It is available to purchase and download from:-catherineevans.bandcamp.com http://www.scoreexchange.com/scores/546726.html
I hope you enjoy listening to (or perhaps even playing) my composition and thank you for your support!