sudden tempo change in "willow weep for me"
October 17, 2006 2:37 AM   Subscribe

I once heard a radio program (probably on NPR or the BBC) about the song "Willow Weep for Me." They claimed it was an extraordinary song for two reasons: it was written by a woman (rare in 1932) and there was striking tempo change in the middle of the song. However, in most recordings, the musicians skip the tempo change. But on the show I listened to, they played a rare recoding that featured the change. I want that recording.

I'm not a musician, so I don't know how to notate the change, but it goes like this:

[Normal, slow tempo]
Willow weep for me
Willow weep for me
Bend your branches green along the stream that runs to sea
[Fast tempo] Listen to my plea
[Normal Slow tempo]Hear me willow and weep for me

It gets fast for just one line.

I actually bought every version on iTunes, and only one featured the change, but that one made it much more subtle (not as fast) than the version I heard on the radio, in which it was truly startling.

I don't care about finding THAT version -- which, I think, was instrumental only -- but I would like to find A version with the tempo change.
posted by grumblebee to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I actually bought every version on iTunes

Who did you try? (So we know who it wasn't.)

Could the one you heard on the radio have been Wes Montgomery -- jazz guitar? That one was no "rare recording," however; it won a Grammy. You could try a clip at Verve.
posted by pracowity at 4:08 AM on October 17, 2006

I'm going to guess that you heard NPR's "The Women of Tin Pan Alley" and that the version might be Art Tatum's, if this list is any indication.
posted by donpardo at 4:52 AM on October 17, 2006

Response by poster: I think the Wes Montgomery one -- though it might play the temp change -- would be too recent to be the one I heard. The one I heard was from the 30s.

Nope: wasn't "The Women of Tin Pan Alley," although I would love to have heard that show. I don't remember much about the show, but I'm pretty sure that the only time women composers was mentioned was when they talked about "Willow Weep for Me."

I should have thought of posting the versions I bought, but unfortunately I can't for the next few days. I'm "on the road" and those versions are back in my apartment in NYC. If anyone has iTunes, they could do a search in the music store and rule out any of the ones listed there.
posted by grumblebee at 6:24 AM on October 17, 2006

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