Lathrop’s Waltz is the title of a new release from flute and whistle-player Sarah Bauhan. Through each of her 4 albums (starting in 1991) Sarah’s efforts have evolved in breadth and sophistication, though it must be said that she set the bar quite high from the beginning.
One could be unfamiliar with Sarah’s music, or even this genre (New England/Scottish/Celtic) and yet still reap great pleasure from listening. The melodies range from haunting to delightful, and they are well served by the caliber and diversity of the musicians. I believe Sarah took a risk (albeit well-calculated) in having such variety. Some of the pieces are rendered in a more modern, fluid style (the piano and bass stylings of Kent Allyn tastefully reveal his jazz influences), while other pieces are more solidly New England, accompanied by the inevitable Bob McQuillen, who has also served as a mentor throughout Sarah’s career.
In an interview, Sarah told the story of going, as a young musician, to the Clearwater Festival in New York. All weekend she nurtured envy for a particular wooden flute that was for sale, at a price beyond her means. When she returned to New Hampshire she told McQuillen about it, and a few days later in the mail . . . well the rest is history (and no surprise to those who know Bob). An earlier influence was� the home of Jan and� Newt Tolman,� her godparents. � Sarah spent many happy childhood moments at Greengate, their home in Nelson. She became enchanted with� Newt’s flute playing, and the repertoire of New England contra dance music which he had so enthusiastically embraced. By the time she was a teenager Sarah was good enough to join in with the Canterbury Orchestra, though she suspects her fellow players just got a kick out of having a kid around. Nevertheless, she is grateful for all the generosity shown to her when she was starting out, and she takes an opportunity here to keep it in motion. A reel, Off to California, begins with Sarah on flute and the fiddle played by 12-year old Emma Clarkson. No listener concessions are required however – Emma is solid. She is soon joined by Sophie Orzechowski, the daughter of fiddler Jane Orzechowski, who also appears on this and other cuts. Jane’s sons Russell (fiddle) and Francis (piano) are included on a couple of tracks. In an expansion from her previous recordings, this album includes two vocal numbers, sung by Chloe Green, (who also represents the younger generation):� a lovely rendition of The Lost Ones – a Garnet Rogers song written about “the days and nights we all spent at the Folkway in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and those dear souls we lost too soon”, and a traditional song The Snows They Melt the Soonest. Chloe sings with an unadorned natural beauty – the songs have an earthiness about them that is well supported by the instrumental accompaniment.
Sarah has the good fortune to have a relatives from Scotland: her cousin Iain Bain has been a regular guest on her recordings,� playing the highland pipes. He has been a life-long musical influence for her. Ian’s daughter, Kristy Anderson, is heard on the Scottish harp. Long-time musical collaborator David Surette does some fine mandolin and bouzouki work. Marko Murray contributes some ethereal guitar throughout, and notably on Ker Jacob, a tune written by Breton guitarist Gilles Le Bigot.
It might be the variety of textures provided by the different configurations that makes it difficult to choose a favorite from Lathrop’s Waltz. The liner notes for the opening tune, Calum’s Road, say “one of the happiest-sounding tunes I know”, and you can certainly listen to it and feel quite satisfied. A more subdued joy is produced by the sheer beauty of the waltz Kusnacht.�
Sarah Bauhan has lived over in Maine, for some years now, but family and friends keep her returning to the Monadnock Region where she was raised and received her musical heritage. When I have listened to her music over the years I have often felt that it possessed the gentle majesty of Mount Monadnock – at once graceful and powerful. With Lathrop’s Waltz, the mountain has just gotten a little bit higher.
Lathrop’s Waltz is available locally at the Toadstool Bookstores in Keene and Peterborough, or can be ordered through www.sarahbauhan.com
Sarah Bauhan Discography
Chasing the New Moon 1991
The Untamed Grasses 1994
Broad Waters 1999
Lathrop’s Waltz 2007