Friday, September 26, 2008

(Insert some cliché about "rosin up your bow" here)

Last night was marked by surprising, near-miraculous upsets, including:
1. Outside-potty challenged pup RORY chased a skunk out of the front yard without getting sprayed.
2. Organized-room challenged ROUTE 1 apprentice ANNIKA began formal study of the violin.
In honor of the latter endeavor, ROUTE 1 readers have answered the following FRIDAY QUESTION:
"What is your favorite violin -- or fiddle -- performance on record?"
KERI M. -- "Last Dance," from the Sarah McLachlan CD "Surfacing."
BEKAH P. -- I really don't have one. Sorry. But I love the whole dueling banjos thing... Not the same, I know, and it makes me look a little backwoods-ish.
RICK T. -- A thing called "Back Up and Push." You find a fiddle player who can play that, and you've got a foot-stomping tune!
MIKE M. -- My favorite is J.S. Bach's Ciaccona (or Chaconne) from Partita in D minor for solo violin (BWV 1004). Supposedly, Bach wrote this in anguish soon after returning home from a long trip and discovering that his wife Maria Barbara, mother of their seven children, had died suddenly and unexpectedly while he was gone. The recording on the CD "Hilary Hahn Plays Bach" (1997) is excellent.
BRIAN C. -- "Ashokan Farewell," made famous as the "theme" song in Ken Burns' "Civil War" series.
MIKE D. -- We just heard it live at the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra's "Classical Madness" performance -- The William Tell Overture by Rossini. In fact, after the show, my wife commented that the violin can convey such a range of emotions, from a slow, sullen sound to a frenetic blast of activity.
ERIK H. -- I should probably list some Paganini composition here, but after seeing little Rory chase off the big, bad skunk, I am going to say "Coz I Luv You" by Slade. Jim Lea's electric violin figures prominently on this U.K. chart-topper from 1971 -- the first of the band's No. 1 hits. Lea was a highly underrated musician and songwriter.


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