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providence suite - movement no. 1 - grace

from classical - an eternal album by dave stafford

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"providence suite - movement no. 1 - grace"

this is the initial theme that kicks off "providence suite" and as my second major classical work, I wanted to firmly establish the themes and melodies in the opening movement. therefore, the decision was taken that this first movement would be entirely comprised of solo piano, to establish and reinforce the themes and melodies that first appeared at the very beginning of the march 4th, 2012 session for "providence suite", using a very familiar, and for me, very comfortable instrument - the piano.

"movement no. 1 - grace" is made up of sixteen takes of an evolving theme, recorded in the original sequence on solo grand piano, so what you hear is essentially what I heard as I performed the pieces on the day.

this all-piano "bedrock" sets the stage for the movements to follow, which feature both variations on the melodies and themes within "grace", as well as new themes that compliment and support "grace". this first movement may seem simplistic to some, but I was loath to introduce too much musical complexity immediately, so I worked my way up to it - and by movement no. 3, there is complexity aplenty to satisfy the most demanding listener.

but - we start with calm, and quiet, with the occasional moment of questing / challenging - as "grace" should be: calm and quiet. a sense of real peace was in the air on this day, and it was this relaxed, peaceful atmosphere that caused me to play the themes the way I did - for which I am eternally thankful.

about “providence suite”:

I recommend that if possible, to listen to the entire suite as a single work – that’s how it’s intended, of course, you can listen to any of the movements in isolation, but playing the seven movements in sequence gives you the music in the way John and I discussed and intended it to be, as an “album” – and given that John was not able to actually contribute any recorded music, I still very much valued his input, I valued our collaboration, and the ideas we exchanged, and his intentions are as well-reflected as they can be in these pieces – I have worked very hard to do justice to his memory, by assembling this plaintive, sometimes sombre set of musical movements, made up of the raw material that was originally meant for the first “providence” album – the album that was not to be.

"providence" as a band never completed or released any actual music, which is why I have taken the time to mix and master "providence suite" now, at the end of december 2013, and to release it with my best wishes, sending my positive thoughts with it into the new year 2014. reluctantly, I release it under my own name, rather than under the name "providence" - but that's not a problem, it's just an unavoidable issue - this is the way I can release this work, which features only myself performing, unfortunately. if John had had time to send me his parts (it is actually unclear if he ever was able to record any parts, or if they were recorded, he never sent anything to me), it would be a very different story…and a very different album, too. so what was to be a collaboration of many instruments with much percussion, instead, I am presenting these “solo” versions of the seven movements, taken from the original master recordings made in march, 2012.

“providence suite” was conceived to honour the memory and intention of the band “providence”, and to honour the input of John as much as is humanly possible when the music presented does not contain any of his recorded sound – but his heart is in it (as is mine), and when I hear this music, I think of the music of “providence” – not of “dave stafford solo recording” – that’s a choice that was made for me, I am very happy indeed, but at the same time, it is with a heavy heart, because John isn't here to see it happen (and more importantly, he is not present to hear the music inspired by the band – beyond in demo form - and from our collaborative thoughts and communications) – I am most happy to release these pieces now, comprising “my half” of the work, in John’s honour and in his memory.

I never met John “in the real world” but from his letters and other communications, I felt a kindred musical spirit, we shared a vision of a new kind of collaborative effort, across an ocean, from providence, rhode island to the wilds of central scotland - we were set to set the world on fire with our music – and in hearing “my half” of what the band would have eventually released, I’d like to think that we actually would have :-)

this one is for you, John, wherever you are.




from classical - an eternal album, released December 17, 2013
dave stafford: solo grand piano

basic tracks recorded live to digital on march 4, 2012.

assembled, mixed and mastered from the original master recordings, december 2013 for pureambient records.

"providence suite" is dedicated to the memory of John Orsi


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dave stafford Stirling, UK

ambient loop guitarist dave stafford performed on stage with robert fripp and the orchestra of crafty guitarists in early 2009, and again with robert fripp and the symphony of crafty guitarists in 2015, and has worked with ambient music and looping for over twenty years. stafford has a rich back catalogue of ambient and loop music, +rock, prog or acoustic crafty guitar music: www.pureambient.com ... more

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