If you are a regular reader, you know I love words. Love is not too strong a word to use either. I delight in finding just the right word to describe a situation, experience and most especially an emotion. When Chuck and I married, we went through our truly eclectic CD collection to find the songs that spoke to us. We chose songs that sparked memories or described some aspect of our relationship or that made us smile. Chuck took the time to make a mix tape (Listen to us: a mix tape! How old are we?) which we played during our wedding reception. I typed up excerpts of the lyrics and printed them out on the micro-perfed reams of paper that used to stream through our old reliable dot matrix printer. (Oh dear!) Before our wedding we spoke to the family and friends gathered in our living room and talked about our “lust for lyrics”. Then we unfurled the scroll of lyrics which was so long it could have done double duty as carpet runner.
You also most likely recall that despite Chuck’s knowledge and love of classical music and our annual trips to Tanglewood, classical music rarely stirs me.
All that is written by way of background as to how unusual this next topic is. I am now quite taken with the non-vocal, purely instrumental performances of Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas. Alasdair is a Scottish fiddler and Natalie an American cellist. Their music is hauntingly beautiful, stirring, toe-tapping, ancient, modern, aurally mesmerizing and achingly bittersweet. All that comes from two musical instruments and enough talent between Fraser and Haas to fill an entire orchestra.
Chuck discovered Fraser and Haas by following a typically circuitous and serendipitous route, which only seems possible in cyberspace. The trail of bread crumbs led to the L.L. Bean website and their streaming audio for their Freeport Maine summer concert series. That concert series was recorded and broadcast by Martha’s Vineyard Radio. If you have a rough map in your head of the northeastern U.S., you know that Freeport and Martha’s Vineyard are not geographically connected except hemispherically. No matter, we are grateful they did record Fraser and Haas’ stunning performance. Here’s the most direct link I could find for you to listen their July 28, 2007 concert. Or go to the L.L. Bean website and click on the “Listen to our Concert Series” musical notes on the lower right.
Here are a few more useful locations:
Alasdair Fraser’s website
Natalie Haas’ website
Their albums (”Fire & Grace”, 2004 and “In The Moment”, 2007 - not yet released in the U.S.) are available from from Culburnie Records, from Amazon, from Amazon UK, and from Apple iTunes.
: : Enjoy!