Sadie Harrison-Lachrymae (Tennessee) after Cotton Eye Joe(Dorothy and Elliott’s Piece) Shaftesbury 29th March 2014
UNEDITED outtake. Recorded 18th June 2014 St John the Baptist Aldbury (in the presence of the composer) Engineer-Jonathan Haskell-Astounding Sounds.
This piece comes from ‘Room 2’ of Sadie Harrison’s ‘Gallery’. I premiered Book 1 at Wilton’s Music Hall in 2013.
‘Lacrhymae’ is written in response to a small painting which I made in Nashville, TN, a month before. The painting had a number of sources. The reason for the title was two-fold. I was working with composer David Gorton on his evolving piece based on the epnonymous John Dowland work.
However the impulse for the composition, and uppermost in my mind while I worked on the painting, was the Dorothy (Dee Dee) Schwartz, who died on in the first week of March. I was privileged to have been Dee Dee’s friend and was enormously affected by her paintings, three of which hang in my apartment. There is a fascinating artistic relationship between her paintings and the music of her husband Elliott. They both continue to teach me so much.
Sadie has known Dee Dee and Elliott for twenty years; this piece is for both of them, as you can see from the title. In the middle, it bursts into ‘a quirky little hoedown’, a moment of joy and dancing, which reminds me of the Civil War folk song, ‘Cotton Eyed Joe’ which is one it’s sources-this is was recorded in 1929 by Gid Tanner and his ‘Skillet Lickers’ (two fiddles, banjo, guitar) and, to me, they suddenly appear out of the mist, and are gone.