Welcome

Hello there, and welcome to my little site!

This website is a place for me to tell you, my readers, about my latest musical adventure – be it a particularly fun ceilidh, rediscovering an old favourite on the piano, a new composition or a particularly enjoyable piece I’ve listened to.  It will contain primarily folk and classical music but may feature other styles as well.

Please have a look around and enjoy my musical world.  If you are interested in asking me to play, teach, compose or anything music related please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the ‘contact me’ page.

If you’re reading this on the home page, then scroll down to see some more interesting posts, if not either head back there or use the recent posts widget to read something more interesting than a welcome post!

~Stephanelli

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Hawks & Kites

It feels like a long time since I’ve shared some new music – in reality only a couple of months.  I guess that’s still a long time, but I only missed the one planned post so that’s okay.

Today I’d like to share a couple of pieces I’ve recorded, one of them is my newest composition, the other is a folk tune by Michael Raven that I found in a tune book I received for a Christmas present.  I’ve no idea if my interpretation is true to the composers ideas, but I was completely captivated by it.  They are both heavily inspired by nature.

Sparrowhawk
by Michael Raven

Sparrowhawks are birds of prey: fast, nimble and beautiful.  They are small and have adapted their hunting skills specifically for confined spaces like dense woodlands.  If you’re very lucky, you might also find them in your garden.  They are resident to the UK and aren’t endangered – but they are still fantastic birds!  In the Springtime the males impress the females with a beautiful ‘rollercoaster’ flight and it’s this that I feel is captured in Raven’s beautiful tune.

The tune completely captivated me when I first played it.  It is written in 6/8 time, although I play it more like it was a 3/4 waltz.  The chords were provided with the tunes and I haven’t changed them, but the left hand arrangement, while based on these chords, is what flowed naturally from my fingers as I played the piece.  Its mostly based in A minor although its hard to decide what the B part is in – maybe C major, maybe E minor.

This is one of the few times I’ve shared another composer’s tune with you, and this time its because it lead me towards my composition which is shared below.

The Red Kite Soars
by Stephanelli

My latest composition.  It never gets easier to share something you’ve drawn out of your heart, something you think is beautiful, opening it up to the world and its criticism.  I’ve been lucky with this blog, and for that I’m thankful!  So thank you for being nice listeners!

redkiteRed Kites are large birds of prey.  I normally see them around Northamptonshire, UK, but I’m seeing them more often in Cambridgeshire which makes me very happy.  I love their size and watching them soar effortlessly across the sky.

This piece is in the bizarre time signature of 5/4 and the less weird key signature of F# minor.  Why?  Because it felt right.  I can’t explain it, it just did.

Imagine you’re standing in the cold, wrapped up warm in your fleece, hat, scarf and gloves.  You’re standing in a grassy field, maybe there are a few shrubs and bushes near you.  Maybe there are icy puddles.  Its winter and you’re looking up to admire the bright, cloudless, blue sky.  Then you see a large bird, with patches of white and a forked tail.  You know its a Red Kite.  You watch it soar, wondering how it can find the thermals in the cold.  It circles, flaps its wings occasionally but mostly just soars completely effortlessly.

If you successfully imagined that, then you’re pretty close to the image I had in mind when I composed this.  I hope you enjoy listening to it.

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

This is the final installment in a series of posts leading up to Christmas 2016.  There will be four posts each with my arrangement of a well known Christmas carol.  I’m not going to explain anything about how I’ve made it my own or why I’ve done what I’ve done, but I hope you will listen to them and enjoy them.  I will give you the lyrics for each carol in case you’re interested though!

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay,
For  Jesus Christ our saviour was born on Christmas Day,
To save us all from Satan’s pow’r when we were gone astray:
Refrain: O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

In Bethlehem in Jewry, this blessed babe was born,
And laid within a manger, upon this blessed morn;
At which his mother Mary did nothing take in scorn:
Refrain

From God, our heav’nly Father, a blessed angel came,
And unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same,
How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name:
Refrain

‘Fear not,’ then said the angel, ‘let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Saviour, of virtue, pow’r and might;
By him the world is overcome and Satan put to flight’:
Refrain

The shepherds at those tidings rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding, in tempest, storm and wind,
And went to Bethlehem straightway this blessed babe to find:
Refrain

But when to Bethlehem they came where at this infant lay,
They found him in a manger, where oxen feed on hay;
his mother Mary kneeling, unto the Lord did pray:
Refrain

Now to the Lord sing praises, all you within place,
And with true love and fellowship each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas all others doth deface:
Refrain

Original text and music are traditional English.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my musical series here and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and I’ll see you in January with my next musical adventure!

Away In A Manger

This is the third in a series of posts leading up to Christmas 2016.  There will be four posts each with my arrangement of a well known Christmas carol.  I’m not going to explain anything about how I’ve made it my own or why I’ve done what I’ve done, but I hope you will listen to them and enjoy them.  I will give you the lyrics for each carol in case you’re interested though!

Away In A Manger

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet hear.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus, a sleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus!  Look down from the sky,
And stay by my side until morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven, to live with thee there.

Original text and music by William James Kirkpatrick.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

This is the second in a series of posts leading up to Christmas 2016.  There will be four posts each with my arrangement of a well known Christmas carol.  I’m not going to explain anything about how I’ve made it my own or why I’ve done what I’ve done, but I hope you will listen to them and enjoy them.  I will give you the lyrics for each carol in case you’re interested though!

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.
Refrain: Rejoice, rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel.

O come, thou rod of Jesse, free thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell thy people save, and give them vict’ry o’er the grave.
Refrain

O come, thou day-Spring, come and cheer our spirits by thy advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Refrain

O come, thou key of David, come and open wide our heav’nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high, and close the path to mistry.
Refrain

O come, O come, thou Lord of might, who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times didst give the law, in cloud and majesty and awe.
Refrain

The text was based on the Great O Antiphons from the 12th-13th centuries and was adapted by John Mason Neale.  The music is possibly a 13th century french tune arranged by Colin Mawby.

O Little Town Of Bethlehem

This is the first in a series of posts leading up to Christmas 2016.  There will be four posts each with my arrangement of a well known Christmas carol.  I’m not going to explain anything about how I’ve made it my own or why I’ve done what I’ve done, but I hope you will listen to them and enjoy them.  I will give you the lyrics for each carol in case you’re interested though!

O Little Town Of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everylasting light;The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

O morning stars together proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King and peace to men on earth;
For Christ is born of Mary; and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep the angels keep their watch of wond’ring love.

How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming; but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still the dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem descend to us we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell:
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.

The text is by Phillips Brooks, the original melody that this piece is based on is a traditional English tune which was collected, adapted and arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Starlight

Hello and sorry for another hiatus from blogging on here, my wedding took up all my time and energy!  But today I am back with a good intention of blogging just once a month, nominally on the third Wednesday of each month, with the exception of next month where I will be doing a short series of posts with some of my favourite new-age style arrangements of Christmas carols!

Today’s post is inspired by some of my favourite new-age composers (including Ludovico Einaudi and William Zeitler) and also one of nature’s most beautiful scenes.  Imagine looking out of your bedroom window at night, maybe because you can’t sleep, or just for a moment of calm and peace.  Your house is in the middle of nowhere and you have a beautiful view of the sky.  And the sky!  Its filled with countless numbers of stars, all shining brightly.  Maybe you can identify some constellations, maybe you can’t, but its a moment of peace and calm to remember throughout the next day.

This piece that I’d like to share with you today encompasses that feeling, at least I feel it does.  Gentle and quiet and in one of my favourite keys of Bb minor.  That key just has a lovely feel to it.  I hope you enjoy it and it gives you a moment of peace as you listen.  I look forward to sharing some Christmas music with you next month!

Reflection

Hello there!  Its been a while since I lasted posted here.  If you follow my nature blog you’ll realise its because I’ve been madly doing 30 Days Wild and so I was blogging every day on that blog throughout June and didn’t have much energy for blogging elsewhere!  But have no fear, music has still very much been a part of my life throughout June, and today I have a little piano composition to share with you, and a new look to this site!

I’ve been feeling kind of restless and a little stressed recently so I’ve been meditating and trying to get to the bottom of what’s making me feel like this.  Currently I still don’t know, but I do feel better having got this composition out onto the piano.  Its called reflection and I think it could really be about all meanings of the word reflection – I’ll let your mind take you on a journey as you listen to this piece.

There’s no much to say about it really, other than I hope you enjoy it!