The Nightingale Concerto is a work for solo recorder and a Covid-conscious orchestra of strings and percussion. The work is inspired by, and structured exactly like, the John Keats poem "Ode to a Nightingale" - in eight stanzas. Soloist Heloise Degrugillier and the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, for whom the work was composed, will premiere 3 stanzas from the work in March, 2021. As part of the project, I was asked to extract melodies from 2 of the stanzas and create pieces for beginning recorder students to play based on these melodies. At the same time that I was doing this, I was enjoying weekly Global Music online playing sessions with Daphna Mor, and it occurred to me that versions of these same two stanzas might be great fun for that group to play. So I created these versions of the stanzas for two advanced recorder players and percussion.
"Sunburnt Mirth" is taken from the second stanza of the concerto, and reflects a part of the Keats poem that extols the joy and merriment that the poet sees embodied in the nightingale. The music reflects the images of song, dance, warm days and cold draughts found in the poem, and uses a pair of old English Country dance tunes ("Mr. Lane's Maggot" and "Black and Grey") as melodic springboards.
A student version of Sunburnt Mirth is also available in the ARS Online Music Library.
"In Fairy Lands Forlorn," (advanced version and student version) is also available in the ARS Online Music Library, and is taken from the seventh stanza of the concerto.
-- Jamie Allen
Play-along files recorded by Jamie Allen, supported by a grant from the Recorder Artist Relief Fund.