Romanian Christmas Carols: Series I BB 67

by Jake Schepps

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    Also included are the field recordings collected by Bartok, the sheet music we used to record the piece, the banjo tablature, and the original piano score.

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This is already in the Subscriber catalog, yet given the season I thought repackaging it with the original field recordings and sheet music might be fun for you fine people. This was recorded during the final session for the Bartók album back in 2010, and was an interesting challenge to get it together.

Like much of Bartók’s folk-based works, each of these shorts offer and incredible world of counterpoint and adventurous harmonic decisions. Check out #4 (starting at 1:17). As simple as this sounds, this duet with guitarist Grant Gordy is remarkably challenging. As you can see in the score, there is a fair bit of mixed meter (changing time-signatures), and the sparse setting leaves no room for any errors, excess noise (which can be tough to avoid on banjo). And comparing the basic melody Bartók collected (track #5) to these 25 seconds of beauty is a window into Bartók’s genius. Truthfully each comparison should deepen one's respect for Bartók. And the grand finale with that mandolin tremolo makes me still smile every time I hear it.

Happy holidays and thanks so much to all the subscribers of Round Window Radio!


(here is a performance the original piano version:


released December 14, 2016

Jake Schepps: banjo
Ryan Drickey: violin
Matt Flinner: mandolin
Grant Gordy: guitar
Ian Hutchison: bass

All music by Béla Bartók, ASCAP, arr: by Jake Schepps, BMI

Produced by Jayme Stone with Jake Schepps

Recorded November 2010 at Globalsound Studio, Broomfield, CO

Engineered by Jamie Mefford,
Mixed by Justin Peacock
Mastered by David Glasser, Airshow, Boulder, CO



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Jake Schepps Boulder, Colorado

Jake Schepps has made a name for himself as a banjo renaissance man, an artist with not only an adroit touch on his instrument but an intrepid, imaginative vision for contemporary stringband music. Based in Boulder, Colorado, he leads the Jake Schepps Quintet, playing longform classical works written for string band, music by Bela Bartok, and of course some good ol' bluegrass. ... more

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