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Sadly, Grainne passed away on November 16, 2014 - just days before reaching her 15th birthday.
She was actually born on the 22nd - St Cecilia's Day, patron Saint of Music and Musicians - so her unique spirit will still live on in this, her music.
Otherwise, the programme note below will remain unaltered.
Grainne is, in fact, a lovely soft-coated Irish Wheaten Terrier, who lives with my dear friends, Peter and Roberta, in Bramstedt, a small hamlet south of Bremen, Germany.
Grainne na Dun na nGal, or simply Grainne for short, exhibits all the characteristics of this particular branch of the terrier breed, but also has a unique personality - a lovable, affectionate nature blended with the mischievous fun of the Leprechaun or Little People - a true ’Princess’, then! Hopefully this Air & Jig will conjure up a picture ’in sound’. You could always check out the ’real McCoy’, by calling by, or simply by visiting Grainne’s own website. And, of course, you’ll be able to hear the Jig whilst you’re there, and enjoy all her news and pictures, too - especially the latest adventures of the Wheaten Wagtime Band!
Just to give the piece a little authentic flavour, you might notice a couple of Irish ’tunes’ thrown in for good measure!
The original version was for flute or descant recorder & piano, but this is a special arrangement for string quartet. As local music critic and programme collator for the Plymouth Chamber Music Trust annual series of concerts, held at the University of Plymouth Sherwell Centre, I get to meet all the top international artists each season. Recently we had a visit by the excellent, all-girl Callino String Quartet from Ireland (see picture). Following the concert - you can read my review here - in talking with the quartet’s violist, Becky Jones, I felt that, whilst their programme was superb, they might have given us a short, perhaps lighter encore, as that is what normally happens each occasion. To that end, I said that I would make an arrangement of Princess Grainne’s Air & Jig, which is what I have now since done, and very much hope that it might find a place amongst their encores, when the right occasion presents itself.