Playing tango on melodica and singing Christmas carols

Abby and I went to a Christmas party at Gina’s, and of course there had to be a lot of music-making. Probably ten of us at some point or another were playing music. There was singing, flutes, accordions, piano, mandolin, etc., on all kinds of music, for hours and hours, even in separate rooms simultaneously. I did a lot of sitting and listening to others and also some participation of my own.

For me, personally, my favorite moments that I was involved in were the following.

Piazzolla’s Oblivion on melodica and piano

Henry and I did Piazzolla’s “Oblivion”, with me on melodica, and him accompanying on piano. I’ve recently mentioned wanting to do this, so I was happy to have this opportunity.

My cheap secondhand student melodica has poor intonation on the lower notes, unfortunately, as I observed recently when playing it in the Pittsburgh Contras and Squares Holiday Ball. So the results were not ideal. I’ve decided that if I want to continue playing the melodica seriously, I need a better instrument.

I’ve decided that next time I play “Oblivion” again, it will be on flute.

Niccolò Dôthel’s first flute and cello sonata, first movement

For variety, I threw in some Baroque music to play with Henry on piano for continuo. We did the first movement of Dôthel’s first flute and cello sonata. I had first heard this by accident, while following a discussion three months ago on the Yahoo “early flute” group, in which one of the posters, Javier Gelati, put up a link to a YouTube video of himself playing it:

I found this piece so delightful and suitable for the Baroque flute that I decided I wanted to play it, and worked on it, and so I finally got the chance to play it with someone.

(Update of 2013-02-23)

I ended up playing this piece again, but in a quiet recital environment, with viola da gamba continuo, at the Pittsburgh Recorder Society’s Midwinter Musical Feast.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. It can still bring tears to my eyes. It brings back a lot of winter memories of being alone for one reason or another, while out and about and hearing it playing in stores and subway stations. Those days are over, but still, the song is really quite moving. Especially, I prefer the original lyrics, “Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow”, to the alternate lyrics Frank Sinatra popularized, “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough”. The original melancholy lyrics underline the message of a hope for the future that is not yet reality.

So for the first time, I sang this song for others to hear, with Henry on piano.

Of course, the classic performance (with the original lyrics) is the beautiful one by Judy Garland:

Christmas carols with other people

Finally, I had the opportunity to sing a lot of Christmas carols with a number of other guests, some of whom were music students with astounding voices. Since they were female, I tried to blend in along with the pianist to fill in some harmony. I have basically no real experience in doing this, but it was fun, and I really enjoyed singing with other people.

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