(Composed and performed by Reynold D. Philipsek- Zino-Rephi Music copyright/ All Rights Reserved)
The definition of a “Pavane” is a 16th or 17th-century stately dance in duple meter.
I am going through a sort of neo-classical period. Since I did not grow up with classical music (my mom loved Hank Williams and the Everly Brothers), I have come to that music on my own terms and gradually.
I first discovered classical music in a very backward fashion, in so much that I listened to 20th-century composers first. Stravinsky, Ravel, Prokofiev, and Bartok were my entry points.
I have been moving back in time ever since, i.e. Brahms, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, etc.
I am only know getting “back to Bach.”
On this backward journey through history, it is only fitting that counterpoint has become more and more an essential ingredient for me. Contemporary pop music (even at its best) contains very little in that domain.
As a guitarist, counterpoint presents problems because of certain limitations of the instrument. This is especially true for the plectrum (pick) player like me.
I have tried to stay true to the Pavane form, using Faure as a good example.
My album “Picture This” afforded me a good opportunity to attempt a little foray into the counterpoint realm because the whole project was built on my overdubbing several guitar parts.
This is a very simplistic and brief example but simple and brief have become my guiding principles.
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.