for oboe or Bb clarinet and piano
©1979, revised 1983
Seven Folksongs for oboe and piano was written while I was living in Mexico and represents a type of nostalgia, I suppose, for the music I learned to love during the folk music revival of the 50s and 60s. (Interestingly almost none of the pieces I wrote while actually living in Latin America reflect that experience at all, while many of the ones I have written since then are deeply rooted in my time in El Salvador and Mexico.) I composed Seven Folksongs for my then roommate, oboist Alan Julseth, and he and I gave several performances of it in Mexico. Sometime later I made a version for clarinet and piano.
Six of the movements are settings of actual folksongs from the great English/American tradition, while one is a folk-like song I wrote during my Joan Baez/Judy Collins phase in high school (those of a certain age and musical background will perhaps nod and smile in recognition of what we share…). I chose songs with a variety of moods and tempos to make a set with both complimentary and contrasting movements. I have tried to match the tunes with simple, but modern, accompaniments that I hope complement the music and the (in this case unsung) texts of these wonderful songs.