Думка: A XIXth century pastiche
Written for me at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, this new commission by Canadian composer Claude Lapalme is called Думка: A XIXth century pastiche. It begins with a slow and thoughtful section and then moves to a rip-roaring kolomejka, or Ukrainian circle dance. The ending finishes telling the story. My Ukrainian heritage is perfectly captured by Claude in this composition, and tugs at my heartstrings.
Traditional Ukrainian Folk Song
When I was 10 years old, a Ukrainian folk ensemble was touring across Canada and made a stop in Calgary to perform. Our family was lucky enough to host a few of the musicians. One evening, the violinist and the bass player who were staying with us sat on my back deck and jammed for hours. They shared this traditional Ukrainian folk tune and patiently taught it to me — I’ve been performing it ever since. It has even made it into the repertoire of our extended family musical jams!
Orange Blossom Special
Orange Blossom Special by Ervin T. Rouse is one of my favourite fiddle tunes and I have played it for as long as I can remember. Although I originally learned it from a score, I created this version by listening to various arrangements. The Orange Blossom Special was a train that traversed the United States, and as a train does, it starts slowly and speeds up. While performing this piece, I always start slowly, but then challenge myself to play it even faster than the previous time!