Fiddler's Green (2014, rev. 2019)
euphonium and piano - 6 min
commissioned by Justin Schoenherr
The concept of Fiddler's Green is thought to be based upon the Elysian Fields from Greek Mythology. It is a place that sailor's go after serving at least fifty years at sea, where there is a fiddle that never stops playing and dancers that never grow tired. A tune of the same name, written by the English songwriter John Conolly, is often mistaken for a Traditional Irish Folksong. Because of its strong melody and charismatic words, its popularity holds fast amongst Irish sailors today. Conolly's song played the biggest role in shaping and inspiring this piece; remnants of its melody can be heard in sections throughout.
As I walked by the dockside one evening so fair
To view the salt waters and take the salt air
I heard an old fisherman singing a song
'Oh take me away boys, me time is not long.'
Wrap me up in me oilskins and jumpers
No more on the docks I'll be seen
Just tell me old shipmates I'm taking a trip mates
And I'll see you some day on Fiddler's Green
The lyrics of Conolly's song (the first verse and chorus can be viewed above) also helped to inspire this piece. I tried to incorporate, aside from the melody, the concept of Fiddler's Green and its sea-faring ties. Composing this work has been a wonderful introduction into a world of sea shanties and sailor strains that I am excited to continue exploring.
Thank you, Justin.
-- Graeme Shields
[Dave Werden euphonium, Sarah Brunk piano]
[Justin Schoenherr euphonium, Casey Rafn piano]