Hello friends – thank you so much for reading my posts in “Behind the Tracks“, a series of stories about the music on my new album “Enter The Fadolín” (available now as a download, as a home-made autographed CD-R, and a collection of sheet music). I’m grateful to hear that these posts resonated with many of you, and it’s been fun for me to put the context of these pieces in writing.
I’m going to make an executive decision and combine the five remaining pieces into a single, final post in this series. All of these pieces are short, and the stories behind them are not long, either. For those of you reading these posts in reverse-chronological order, this will give you a good point of entry into the album — click here to read the entire series.
And so — with much gratitude to everyone who helped create and supported this album — here we go! Listen to all of the pieces below as you read.
“Enter The Fadolín” begins with four miniatures, all centered around the tonality of F major. I have grouped them together at the front of the album as a set, but they were written at different times and in different locales.
“CHAIKA BLUES“, the first piece on the album, was composed in the cafe at the Chaika Swimming Pool complex in my native Moscow, Russia, on April 3 2019, while my mother, Irena Ginzburg, was taking a swim. From the very first note, this piece employs a range of notes that would be impossible on any other string instrument. It is written as a free-form Jimi Hendrix-inspired fadolín blues prelude.
“COURANTE DE MAMAN” was written on July 11 2019 at the Maman bakery in the Nomad district of Manhattan. I stopped in for an afternoon coffee and wrote this tune while listening to — you guessed it — Brown Noise — in my headphones. At that point I was thinking that the work of writing solo fadolín music would take a shape like Bach’s Cello suites, and so I wrote this with the spirit of a “Courante”.
“THE EARLY VOTER” was — composed? improvised? — at the Frederick Douglass playground on the Upper West Side, at the entrance to our early polling site, on October 27 2020. Before vaccines, people in our neighborhood stood in line — some for two or three hours — to cast an early ballot in the 2020 presidential election. Here’s my original phone recording of “The Early Voter”, direct from the polls, combined with some still photographs taken by friends and neighbors in line.
“SEACLIFF SERENADE” was probably my very first piece for the unamplified fadolín, written on February 18 2019 at Seacliff State Beach near Aptos, California — my wife and I were both in San Francisco for work (I was arranging something for a San Francisco Symphony concert), and we drove south to Santa Cruz for a 1-day vacation. I was also trying to compose a theme for Chris Shimojima‘s debut feature “Alberto and the Concrete Jungle” — half of “Seacliff Serenade” later became “Marina’s Theme”, which you can hear below in a trio version from our living room. (A proper soundtrack album is in the works, and the film, whose theatrical run was sidelined by the pandemic but went on to win a number of awards at festivals, will soon be available in a wider release, too.)
Finally, the last track in this post is a tiny 1-minute soundbyte –– “F-FIN” celebrates the most unique sound of the fadolín – the sonority of our F string! It’s simply a tiny slice of heaven, something I improvised at home off-the-cuff on November 17 2019. When I play it live for my violin and viola colleagues, they tend to blush with envy. No need to blush — get your own fadolín! 🙂
And that’s the story. Now you know something about every track on the album. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading and listening, or, if you’re just beginning to read these posts, I encourage you to check out other posts, too (see below). I feel grateful and fortunate to have been able to share these stories with you.
||> See a playlist videos of Ljova’s new music released during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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