for variable woodwind duo
“Humlets” are a number of short pieces commissioned in honor of the memory of Percy Grainger by a consortium of musicians based in Columbus, Ohio. Virtually all of Grainger’s output is based on folk songs which are easily remembered and easily hummed. His description of the term: “Awaiting the arrival of a belated train bringing one’s sweetheart from foreign parts: great fun! The sort of thing one hums to oneself as an accompaniment to one’s tramping of feet as one happily, excitedly, paces up and down the arrival platform.”
The un-Graingered definition provided by the consortium: “A brief melody that one hums/sings while walking, waiting, or wandering. A melody that one has carried for a while or has already written down but was unsure of how, or where, to use it.”
They provided some guidelines as to instrumentation and length and asked a number of composers to contribute. My own is an arrangement of a Scottish tune called Druimionn Dubh, for which Robert Burns provided the lyrics to a song he called “Musing on the roaring ocean.” It’s a jaunty little tune filled with typical Scottish rhythms and an ending that, like so many Scottish melodies, doesn’t necessarily come to rest on the note you were expecting.
Druimionn Dubh was written while I was in residency at the I-Park Foundation in East Haddam, Connecticut. I am very grateful for the time and solitude provided for my work on this, and other, projects.