Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Ragg

Here I am at long last! Perhaps I ought to change the title of this blog to "Most Exceedingly Tardy" or something of that sort.
For this post, I have merely added some rambling thoughts to an edited selection from a journal entry, written shortly after a lovely Harvest Dance we attended last October.

The second dance was one of the greatest highlights of the evening, for it was - the Ragg! Ah! What a wonderful dance it always is! The steps are simple to do and easy to remember, and yet the dance is not boring in any way. Indeed, far from it, for lighthearted skipping and turning shall never be considered dull by me.
And then there is the music - the best part of the Ragg! This music is one of my very favorite recordings by Bare Necessities, mainly because of the enthusiasm and crisp precision with which it is played. Each round is delightful in its own way, for the music is played differently from each round to the next.
The recording begins with a two note introduction given by the high, clear notes of the flute; the flute then immediately begins on the tune itself in a light sprightly mood, accompanied by the tapping of the tambourine and the "zumming" of the violin in the background. The violins take the lead on the second and third rounds, playing with a delightful fullness and depth. Then there is that neat little part in the third round where the instruments are no longer playing strictly the melody; they are gradually moving towards more improvisation in the playing. This transitions well to the fourth round, in which the piano plays a solo that I can only describe as rolling, bouncing, bubbling, and overflowing with quiet joyousness. The beginning of the fifth round marks the lowest point in the energy level within this recording. The violins are somewhat subdued or restrained here, as though they are holding back for the grand finale. This is, in fact, the case - from the middle of the fifth and throughout the sixth, the energy level rises until at last it bursts forth in an all-out celebration! The tambourine returns, the violins lead, and the flute plays around the melody with a song of its own - all contributing to the most joyous and gladsome recording I know of!
This is one of the few recordings I would describe as being "colorful". It is a bit hard to explain... it's just that the seventh and final round of the music always calls to mind the "Celebrate" neon fireworks postage stamp... the black background providing the perfect backdrop for the word "celebrate!" spelled out in a glowy white, surrounded by neon squiggles and swirls of various festive colors. Colorful, exuberant, splendent, radient... To use another illustration, I might say that the seventh round sounds "very much like a party" - for that is what it is most similar to. Joyous, festive, friendly, and lighthearted - the most delightful kind of celebration!

And there you have it, friends - a 450+ words review of one of my very favorite things to listen and dance to! If you have enjoyed this piece yourself, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on it as well. And if you have not yet heard The Ragg... get thee to the CDSS website and order thyself a CD! ;)

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