Nordlys Greetings from Alan and Sandy -- "from Russia with Love" and Bits Galore
12/16/2021, 11:21 AM

A Nordlys Greeting to all on the Rawson Duo concert announcement mailing list!

It’s been quite a while since our last announcement was sent out, so we felt it high time to reach out and reconnect.

Those of you who’ve been with us since the beginning will recall that our home concert series launched with a Scandinavian program in December 2007, titled Nordlys. Norwegian for northern lights, the theme seemed just right to capture the spirit and magic, and beauty of winter solstice, catering to our passion for making music and sharing our home with friends.

In the twelve seasons and hundreds of afternoon programs that followed, this annual event stood out as a highlight, the weekend before Christmas -- and more than once, the exact moment of solstice coordinated with either the Friday or Sunday concert on those weekends. Also, more than once, our unpredictable weather intervened with considerable ice and snow, requiring hasty tractor work in the early morning hours to clear driveway and parking areas, before conceding and initiating a string of rescheduling emails. Even if delayed by one or two weeks, they always came about with the delight of added seasonal charm.

At the bottom of the driveway hill, looking toward the house, February 2019. Click image for email announcing concert re-schedule, with lots of great pictures.
Nordlys 2019, twelve years later, turned out to be our last concert weekend. Some medical issues arose, delaying our next event which had been planned for early February 2020. Postponed until later in March . . . well, we all know how that went.

Since then, we occasionally get warm and touching emails inquiring about us personally and wondering about our in-home concert future. While other organizations and venues have managed since to open their doors in some fashion, it may yet be some time for this to seem right to us. However, we do intend to re-open and think of this as a temporary hold (albeit rather longer than anticipated). 

Thoughts are percolating, so, as updated on our web site: Watch This Space . . .

And speaking of the website, to tide you over with some Rawson Duo spirit, we've just posted a fantastic recording from our very first season that is sure to please (and makes my shoulder ache to think of the youthful energy with which we dove into virtuoso programs in those days, usually with only 3-4 weeks of intense prep):

A pdf of the program is linked here, one of those following our passion for rediscovery of rare pieces, seldom if ever heard on concert stages any more, mostly things only to be found in just a few libraries anywhere in the world. We were hot on the trail via inter-library loan and extensive internet sifting -- and it's pure gold by some of Russia's greatest, along with a sampling of Armenian neighbors to the south (seeds for a future dedicated program).

Just click on the above title link, and the hour-long audio will play in concert order. Or you can select from cued start points from the program list below:

from the “Mighty Handful” of St. Petersburg:
    1. Hopak from The Fair at Sorochintsï, Mussorgsky
    2. Impromptu, Balakirev
    3. Chanson Arabe and Danse Orientale from Scheherazade, Rimsky-Korsakov / Kreisler
    4. Romance
Neighbors to the South:
    5. Apricot Tree, Komitas
    6. Lyric Poem and Dance, Khachaturian
    7. Russian Dance from Swan Lake
    8. Souvenir d’un lieu cher, Op. 41: Meditation / Scherzo / Melody
    9. Valse-Scherzo, Op. 34
. . . and then there was Sandy's reception spread, April 11, 2008 (recognize anyone?)

In case you are wondering: Potato Onion Knishes / Chocolate Walnut Minions / Piroshki (turkey and mushroom) / Kolachki with Poppy Seeds / Ukranian Snow Cap Cookies / Rohalyky z medom i magdalamy (Ukrainian honey horns with almond filling) / Russian Black Bread with Baklazshannaia Ikra (eggplant and pepper spread) and Baklazshannaia Zakuska (eggplant and herb spread)

Of course, recordings and images hardly compare to the real magic of our unique gatherings, the great post-concert, lingering receptions full of affection and laughter. This will return.

Until then, know that we are cogitating in a positive way, and enjoy our "from Russia with Love" reminiscence.

We wish you a Happy Christmas and Season's Joy! -- Alan and Sandy

p.s. We'd love to hear from you. Let us know how you are doing and if you'd like to remain on our mailing list, address updates, etc., or anything else

and another p.s.  . . .  Bits Galore! -- besides sending out concert announcements, you'll recall this editor taking great delight in follow-up mailings that included all sorts of research and things of interest ahead of the event. There was a lot of great stuff on those pages. All have been turned into individual web pages that you can now easily browse through on our new Bits Archive Page. Some of the YouTube links have since been deleted, but the majority are still right there for the clicking.