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Howard Haigh : Jemimaville: Bergmann Edition

Howard Haigh

Bergmann Edition: 9 pages

British born Haigh is a multi - instrumentalist, teacher, composer, and performer who has his fingers in many musical pieces, and here is his Jemimaville, which immediately establishes itself as slightly unusual with a number of interesting features that make it stand out. Firstly it crosses a few musical borders in the sense that you can hear evidence of modern, folk, and other non – classical elements in some of it.

It has a rubato first seventeen bars with many glissando elements, and plenty of diving up and down the fingerboard as it goes on. On the repeat the player is instructed to now play this section at a strict tempo. Then the music progresses into an arpeggio driven idea where the melody often sits at the top of an almost continuous run of semi – quavers in a very folk like pattern. This then moves yet again into a new section using many small notes with the melody in the bass and a great deal of finger work happening above. A brief pause then leads into a tremolo section of some length where occasionally accented six – string chords are places at the start and end of every bar to be played with the thumb. A repeat of that section then leads into a return of the previous section and a D.S. to the opening rubato bars, and thence to the coda which proves to be a variant of the original continuation .Everything then closes on a A6th chord with a harmonic note to finish.

This is a vibrant piece of writing, not too much like anything else you may have seen before, but nevertheless having elements of styles you will know of. Incidentally his recording of it on one site that comes from his album is quite different in a number of details, so I gather that the sheet music is his final thoughts on the piece. You need to be a good player to make an inroad into some of this, and of course your tremolo technique needs to be good, but it is a friendly, pleasant six minutes or so, that many will enjoy getting their fingers around.

Chris Dumigan

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