Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Erskine's Hornpipe (Reel de L'Hôtielier)

Here's a charming little hornpipe that Erskine played in the key of D from the reel-to-reel recordings. This one has an especially cute little rhythm to it that must have made it great to step dance to.

This tune seems to pop up in many places in Quebecois fiddling under different titles, though the high strain has a somewhat different twist to it. Pierre Schryer told me he'd heard it called Reel de Ti-Jean, Reel Saint-Jean, and Reel à/de Remi. Further research has shown that other titles include Gordon's Reel, and the Chamberlain. Joseph Allard played this tune calling it L'Hôtielier. Jean Carrignan played this tune very well also. Erskine was a big fan of both Allard and Carrignan and was known to pick up tunes off their records.

This tune appears on an Isidore Soucy recording as "Set Américain, deuxième partie" which strikes me more as a movement in a dance set as opposed to a title.

Like many hornpipes, the first part of this tune just follows the chords D, G, and A with nice rolling arpeggios that just seem to flow out under Erskine's bow. The second part of the tune is a little more mysterious and primitive in its melody and really contrasts well with the first part. I find that this part just kind of floats, not really going anywhere melodically which for me, gives it a feeling like being suspended in mid-air. This might by why I have the impression that this tune was really geared towards step dancing; this part has a real lift to it. Its impossible not to tap your foot to this lovely little tune.

Hear Erskine's Hornpipe

Here is Isidore Soucy playing essentially the same tune.

No comments:

Post a Comment