Birch Tree, The

By Diana Weston, Thoroughbass

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The theme of this recording is music inspired by folkmusic. Diana Weston (harpsichord) and the ensemble Thoroughbass have recorded this wonderful collection of tunes by composers such as, Mary Mageau, Béla Bartók, May Howlett, Ann Carr-Boyd and Elena Kats-Chernin.
Folk melody and rhythm can be found permeating works from all centuries and genres up to the present. For the French of the 17th and 18th centuries, it formed the backbone of a national style, albeit one with a sophisticated overlay (the dance suite). For some composers, like Bartók, folkmusic became the stuff of their compositional voice. For others like Ann Carr-Boyd, adaptation of folksong was a way of approaching a wide variety of audiences of different ethnic backgrounds. Her new composition, Suite for Diana, follows this trend, as does Elena Kats-Chernin’s The Birch Tree, both composed for Thoroughbass in 2014 and recorded here for the first time. Thematically overlapping Bartók’s miniature pieces ‘For Children’ (arguably ‘about’ children as much as ‘for’ children) are four songs for children by May Howlett. Both composers recognize the complexity of childhood in music that is expressive and authentic, innocent and above all, fun.
Wirr 068

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1 Variations on Scarborough Fair (Mary Mageau)
For Children - Hungarian (Béla Bartók)
No. 4 Pillow Dance 
No. 6 Study for left hand
No. 10 Children's Dance
No. 11  No. 17 Round Dance
No. 18 Soldier's Song
No. 26  No. 28 Choral  10 No. 31 
11 No. 38 Winter Solstice Song 
12  No. 40 Swineherd's Dance
13  The Littlest Dragon 14  The Cat
15  The Dog  1 Flutter by, My Butterfly
Suite for Diana (Ann Carr-Boyd)
17  The Wild Colonial Boy
18  Interlude 119  Two Latvian Folksongs
20  Interlude 2    21  Gulumkan 22  Interlude 2a
For Children - Slovakian (Béla Bartók)
23  No. 1 24  No. 6 Round Dance
25  No. 7 Sorrow
26  No. 10 Funeral Dance  27  No. 11  28  No. 17  29  No. 18 Teasing Song
30  No. 19. Romance 
31 No. 20 Game of Tag
32  No. 22 Revelry  33  No. 25 Scherzando
34  No. 26 Peasant's Flute
35  No. 28 Choral  36  No. 33
37  No. 34 Farewell  38  No. 38 Dirge
39  The Birch Tree  (Elena Kats-Chernin)