NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

March 18, 2013

Slip-Jig for Flute and SUV

Not often do I get requests when I busk the streets.

Apart from standards such as “Irish Eyes,” “Danny Boy” and “the jig that Custer used,” I can count 35 years’ worth on the flying fingers of my hands.

So I’m surprised in Lexington when a man with visible dollar bills in hand asks for the largo from Anton Dvorak’s “New World Symphony.”

Heard me play it last week — and by coincidence had it assigned this week as a practice tune for his violin.

By no coincidence other than that of the family that plays together stays together, his wife and son, about 12, seated on the bench before me are also learning the instrument and, therefore, the tune.

I pin the sheet to the stand, not so much apologizing for having to read it as admitting that the tempo is too deliberate for me to trust to memory. And:

“Should warn you that the last note will launch into a jig called ‘Mrs. Cole,’ composed by Turlough O’Carolan, one of those wandering Celtic bards who named songs for anyone who’d feed them a few days.”

Luckily, my banter and their laughter cause a few other folks to stop and satisfy curiosity.

This does not surprise me. This I am versed in, and so I look to the others when I re-title the piece: “New World Symphony & Old World Compensation.”

Ordinarily I play Dvorak’s largo on my high-pitched sopranino recorder, but with a gathering so close, I opt for the tenor — made all the more resonant by the cool day’s crisp acoustics.

Always recall that an American who met the Czech composer during his 1893 trip down the Mississippi put lyrics to the largo, transforming it into a spiritual titled “Going Home.” That thought conveys the piece as much as all 10 fingers and all my breath.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans