“Sasha and Dinu”
composed and performed by Reynold D. Philipsek 2013 copyright
Zino-Rephi Music (BMI)
C Sharp Minor is a key that always puts me in mind and feeling of Slavic melancholy.
Slavic melancholy is a condition that permeates a lot of music by musicians of that particular origin with myself included.
This “melancholy” is not all sad because a certain nobility is involved as well.
Considering the history of the region this is understandable.
Chopin, Rachmaninoff and Scriabin all famously wrote pieces in the key of C Sharp Minor.
The Sasha I refer to is Scriabin. The Dinu is the Romanian pianist and composer Dinu Lipatti.
We also have named our new female Havanese puppy Sasha.
(She is adorable and happy and not the least melancholy.)
Though the general thrust of this piece definitely conveys this Slavic element which is heartfelt for me and quite natural, there is also a very American component in parts of the piece.
It is very easy for me to “feel” this music and it is one of the things I love to play. Every morning it is one piece I play to start my day along with Chartreuse, Dark Eyes, and Through Rose Colored Glasses.
composed by Reynold D. Philipsek 2018 copyright Zino-Rephi Music (BMI)
Both of my parents passed on in the past few years. Suddenly I realized I had neglected to appreciate my heritage.
My paternal ancestry came from Upper Silesia and more specifically a city in Poland called Opole.
Quite rightly they settled on homesteads with other immigrants in Central Minnesota close to a township called Opole.
I also have Bohemian and Czech roots.
When I was growing up I heard Polish spoken. My maternal grandmother was born in Poland and spoke little English. Many words were also very similar in Czech.
“Matka” for example, means mother in both languages.
As a kid I was not interested at all by this cultural treasure.
I was wrong.
My new album “Picture This” pays homage to this heritage in several ways. “Bohemian Flats” (the opening track of the new album) refers to a low-laying region of Minneapolis which at the turn of the 20th century became a “little Bohemia” and was occupied by Czechs, Slovaks, Bohemians and Poles.
By 1950 this area was extinct.
“Silesian Mist” (another song on the new recording) refers to the Upper Silesia connection I have previously mentioned.
This attempt to retrieve my heritage is not a gimmick. It is an honest attempt to reconnect.
I regret the arrogance of my youth. I felt almost embarrassed by the fact that my folks spoke what was referred to as “broken English.”
I didn’t ask any questions and ran away from this heritage which now I wish I would have embraced.
Maybe it is a case of too little to late but I want to make amends.
Since this song is entitled “Matka” I can’t help but thinking of Evelyn (my mother.)
I am joined on this little bolero by my friend Denny Malmberg on accordion.