TUNE: (air) The Waxwing

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VIDEO LESSON: Gretchen teaches The Waxwing, covering bowing mechanics, vibrato, ornamentation and performance tips. 

TUNE OF THE MONTH: I wrote this tune in 2014 while standing in my living room looking out at a particularly severe ice storm. The scene was arrestingly beautiful, but I was well aware that this was going to cause destruction that would take months for my rural Northern New York village to clean up. Feeling both wonder and despair, I took out my fiddle, pushed record and played what I was experiencing. This tune was finished before I had even played a note --one of those moments when composers ask themselves, "where did that come from?"

The harsh January brought frigid days of -20F, turning my thoughts to the birds that winter here in the "North Country." I was aware of a pair of precious cedar waxwings that nested in the junipers near our home. So handsome, so fragile, so tiny, and so rugged as they endured the harshest of conditions. I decided to dedicate this tune to the waxwings, as they, like the ice storm, offered me a moment of quiet contemplation. This tune became the title cut of my CD with pianist Daniel Kelly and quickly became one of our most requested tunes.

Koehler photo

Koehler photo

I heard The Waxwing just as I arrived home from work today and was compelled to sit in my car until the last note was finished and they announced who the artist was.  I was enthralled with the longing melody and beautiful arrangement.
— NCPR listener, Maitland, Ontario, Canada



Many, many thanks to artist, friend and fellow musician, Hannah Harvester for her beautiful paintings.  www.HannahHarvester.com

Gretchen  Artist:  Hannah Harvester


Artist: Hannah Harvester

Herb  Artist:  Hannah Harvester


Artist: Hannah Harvester

Daniel  Artist:  Hannah Harvester


Artist: Hannah Harvester

IN Concert

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Happy listening. Happy music making.

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gretchen koehlerComment