Quixote — Written and performed by Reynold Philipsek, copyright 2017, available as a complimentary download on the Free MP3s page.
The 17th Century Spanish tale by Miguel de Cervantes of Don Quixote and his adventures has inspired many artists. Both Orson Welles and Terry Gilliam spent considerable time, money and energy shooting miles of film to no avail or a completed film on the subject.
For more than 15 years I have entertained the idea of writing an “episodic” piece about this prototypical “hidalgo.”
During my recent six weeks in Naples I finally began to write this music.
In keeping with the Spanish theme of the central character I have utilized two distinct Spanish dance rhythms- The “guajira” (a bar of 6/8 followed by a bar of 3/4) and a Tango/Habanera rhythm.
There are three resting pedal points which can be seen as transitional (scene changes). These three “pedals” are C, D and E. The piece could easily be extended further by continuing these pedals in whole tones 4 more steps (G flat, A flat, B flat) to once again return to C.
Another objective was to bend standard song forms and to create an extended piece of music that has not only prescribed themes and movements but places for improvisation. Though this version is done on solo acoustic guitar (with synth drone pedals) ideally I would like to play the piece this summer with both of my trios (East Side and Sidewalk Cafe). The drones could easily be handled on arco upright bass.
For those unfamiliar with the story, Don Quixote was a hidalgo who read so many chivalric romances that he loses his grip on reality and decides to set out to revive chivalry, undo wrongs and bring justice to the world. Cervantes tells this tale with much humor and pathos.
For some odd reason Autumn stirs deep memories in me. As of late I have thought a lot about my grandmother. She spoke very little English and always pronounced my name as “Ronyal”. She was a very tiny woman and a prolific rose gardener. Only now (alas, too late) do I realize what a unique link I had not only to the “old world” as a far away place but also to a person who was literally from the 19th century (she was born near Poznan, Poland on July 16,1884 and passed away near St. Cloud, Minnesota on May 22,1979).
She was very fond of wine and always made sure I had a small glass of red wine whenever we would visit her. She began offering me this glass of wine when I was quite young and my parents never objected. Maybe some of my “warm” memories are distilled by this custom. There is even a family rumor that she made bootleg Slivovitz during Prohibition.
I also fondly remember her wonderful raspberry candies. She concocted this confection from the raspberry crop she yielded each year. (there may have been a little wine or slivovitz in them but I am not sure).
So, for my entire life I have associated red roses, red wine and red raspberries with her. I also see her in my mind’s eye donning a long red winter coat and a yellow babushka.
“Babushka” has two meanings in Slavic culture. “Babushka” means grandmother and also refers to the headscarf worn by older women. In my case, the “babushka” reference held both meanings because my “Babushka” always wore one.
Click here to listen to: Babushka
(composed and performed by reynold d. philipsek
2016 copyright/zino-rephi music BMI)