Year: 2023

Instrumentation: Solo Steel-String Guitar (DADGAD tuning)

Duration: 8:00″

Performance History: Commissioned by Welsh guitarist Chris Roberts.

About: Longways I met a Lass is based on a selection of tunes from the collection of English Country Dances: Playford’s Dancing Master. In the folk songs which accompany these tunes there are several archetypal figures that appear regularly, and among them are Damon – a young shepherd – and Phillis – his love interest. They often appear together, usually having a lovers’ quarrel over their alternative romantic prospects before resolving matters and committing to be faithful to each other. This piece depicts an imagined scenario where the two meet for the first time during a Longways dance (a type of line dance where couples progress up and down the line dancing with different partners), the music mixing moments of dramatic and rhythmic energy with brief periods of reflection. The melodic and harmonic material are drawn from three Longways tunes: Young Damon’s Flight, Young Phillis, and Twas o’er the Hills and Far Away.

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