Pueblo Galliard

Pueblo.jpgJohn Dowland, Renaissance lutenist and composer, finding himself transported through time and space to a fiesta in the American Southwest, comes upon a grizzled old guitarist dashing off bits of tremolo for a small circle of onlookers. A couple of dancers appear, and the guitarist strums a few bars of a traditional dance in the age-old sesquialtera (6/8 versus 3⁄4) rhythm, intimately familiar to Dowland from the dances of his own time. Seeing the stranger’s ears perk up, he winks, tosses him the guitar, and motions for him to play something. The Renaissance composer spends a moment finding his way around the tuning of this strangely shaped lute missing half its strings, then improvises a strange and colorful bit of dance himself. Not to be outdone, the old maestro abruptly snatches the guitar back and proceeds to display an even more brilliant passage of tremolo. The two musicians continue in dueling fashion for several rounds, reaching ever higher peaks of emotion and virtuosity, until finally Dowland receives a flash of inspiration for a new piece. The strains of the fiesta fade into the background as Dowland, back at his desk in old England, puts the finishing touches on his Pueblo Galliard. Just then, a messenger from the Earl of Essex arrives…

Nathan Cornelius