Parlour Music – Ragtime & Classical duets for uke and guitar by John Kavanagh CD Review

Title: Parlour Music – Ragtime & Classical duets for uke and guitar
Artist: John Kavanagh
Year: 2006


1. Temptation Rag (4:41)
2. Sonatine in D minor (2:51)
3. Sonatine in D major (3:18)
4. The Honolulu Cakewalk (3:11)
5. Gnossienne #3 (2:52)
6. Maple Leaf Rag (3:38)
7. Sonata in D – Allegro (3:08)
8. Sonata in D – Adagio (1:24)
9. Sonata in D – Minuetto (1:59)
10. Elite Syncopations (4:18)
11. Narcissus (1:54)

Parlour Music is John Kavanagh’s first solo CD, which has 11 songs with a total play time of 33 minutes and 30 seconds. This CD comes in a plastic jewel case.

Temptation Rag – When this song starts out, it reminds me of the music played while people are dancing the Hora circle dance. This slightly greek flavor comes and goes as the song plays and mixes with a regular ragtime feel. The song is slow and calming. I like it.

Sonatine in D minor – A classical piece by Beethoven. When I listen to it, I can imagine women gathered in a fancy parlor with frilly gowns and handkerchiefs in hand enjoying the song while a breeze drifts in through an open window. It’s a very pretty tune and relaxing to listen to.

Sonatine in D major – Another Beethoven piece. This one is a little more lively and happy than the previous one though. It reminds me of the classical pieces on James Hill’s A Flying Leap CD. It sounds like it would be a challenge to play.

The Honolulu Cakewalk – A wonderful little ragtime ditty. It conjures images of a couple riding a bicycle built for two around the countryside on a warm summer day. I don’t really hear anything in this song that makes me think of Honolulu or a cakewalk though ๐Ÿ˜‰

Gnossienee #3 – A haunting piece that didn’t appeal to me when I first heard it. The more I hear it though, the more I like it. It has a slightly eerie feel to it.

Maple Leaf Rag -A Scott Joplin tune that some people might mistake for another one of Joplin’s very popular tunes: The Entertainer. The Maple Leaf Rag was actually written before The Entertainer. This song sounds great. It’s a bit slower tempo than some versions that I’ve heard on piano, but so what. My brain even wants to believe that John is playing piano instead of a ukulele and a guitar. My brain is funny that way…

Sonata in D – This three movement piece brings us back to that 16th century parlor with a snobby sounding harpsichord twittering tune. I say ‘snobby’ in the friendliest way though… John is fantastic with his smooth runs from note to note.

Elite Syncopations – Scott Joplin is back with another piano rag. You can’t help but love to listen these tunes. While it does sound similar to the Maple Leaf Rag, I don’t think people will be disappointed in it. Just listening to it makes me wish I could play it myself. Yeah, like I’ll EVER be that good…

Narcissus – This is the only song on the CD where John is just playing the ukulele. No guitar. As such, I would have to say that it’s probably my favorite song on the whole album. I guess I’m a ukulele purist ๐Ÿ™‚

John plays a baritone ukulele tuned to ADF#B, which he calls the Canadian tenor tuning. He also plays guitar on this CD. It’s no surprise that the sound of both of these instruments blend so well together. This CD is a fun collection of tunes that both guitar and ukulele players will appreciate. Even if you aren’t a fan of classical music or ragtime tunes, I think most people will really enjoy the laid back happy music on this CD.

If you would like to buy this CD or hear track samples, please visit the John Kavanagh’s site.

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