I'm getting into pretty good violin shape these days, but there's no place for me to play, so I decided to make a home recording of Elnora's Violin and put a link to it here, creating a "garage band" called Elnora. It's not perfect, but then again, neither am I.
Here's the gist of the piece: This is a one-movement work inspired by Gene Stratton Porter's 1909 novel A Girl of the Limberlost, which is set in a town situated near what was once a series of vast swamps in the eastern part of Indiana. The heroine of the novel is a teenage girl named Elnora Comstock who, in the process of "coming of age," discovers that she has inherited a talent for playing the violin from her long-dead father whom she never knew. Through a particular set of circumstances, Elnora is given her late-father's violin, but must practice the instrument in secret for fear of reminding her mother of her father's sudden death in the swamp. Through playing his violin, Elnora is able to connect with her dead father and ultimately help heal her mother's grief over his death. This piece comes from the part of me that understands Elnora's irrepressible desire to explore the natural world around her and express its wonders through music.
This picture is from my copy of the 1909 edition of the book (I have several editions), which, oddly enough is missing some of my favorite pages (pages 211-215), the pages that describe Elnora's violin playing, and the pages that inspired me to write this piece as well as to start playing the violin again (after giving it up as a child) at the age of 32. I like to imagine that what was written on those pages meant as much to the person who cut them out of the book as they mean to me.
The whole text is available on line.