Edward Huws-Jones' 'The French Fiddler'
Selected and arranged by Edward Huws-Jones. Boosey & Hawkes, violin part only, €9.85; complete, €18.95.
Indefatigable traveler and researcher Edward Huws-Jones continues to expand his admirable series of traditional fiddle repertoire with yet another “string to his bow.” His wide-ranging collection includes Klezmer, Viennese, Latin American, Gypsy, Greek, Celtic, and Ceilidh fiddle music. His books always include the historical and social background to the folk music, giving musicians a window into ancient and evocative tunes handed down through generations. In this edition, dances, jigs, polkas, marching songs, romantic tunes, laments, and timbales are all represented as part of the French regional heritage.
With a tradition of folk song still vibrantly alive in many European towns and villages, Huws-Jones takes us through a Gallic collection of tunes ranging from the joy and exuberance of dance rhythms such as “Tric Trac Polka” to the simple lyricism of “The Folk from the Mountain,” all evoking the delights of nature in a rustic setting.
Twenty pieces provide an attractive journey through rural France in various styles and variety of rhythms and moods. Evocative photographs of the performers and dancers add appeal. Starting in Gascony, our intrepid traveler takes us east to Tarn, on to Provence, the Auvergne, through Berry to Alsace, and after a detour to Paris, the tour concludes in Brittany.
With positions ranging from first through third, such slower, lyrical pieces as “An Evening of Romance” will encourage beautiful tone production, while livelier tunes, like “Th e Witch’s Broomstick,” will require the use of spiccato and martelé technique.
The pieces are short enough to sustain a young player’s interest and the piano accompaniments are simple and eff ective. Here is excellent teaching material that is also a pleasure to play, encouraging listening and ensemble skills as well as memory and improvisation.
Huws-Jones’ arrangements follow the same versatile format as his other books in this series—take your pick from solos, duets, or pieces for larger ensembles. A separate book contains the violin melody (with guitar chord symbols), while the easy violin part is conveniently printed on the opposite page.
The piano accompaniment book has both the melody and easy violin part in small print above the piano score, with a separate, additional violin accompaniment on the following page. Printing this extra melody accompaniment as a separate booklet or insert would allow all four players to perform together.
It is awkward as it stands.
These attractive and contrasting works will keep little fingers happy for hours and will no doubt reap praise from family, friends, and teachers.