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Stories, culture, friends and community

September 13, 2019

Bill Kanengiser Plays Tribute To Frank Wallace

We recently received news from our long-time friend Frank Wallace that he is suffering from cancer when he posted his very touching story on his blog in June. Bill Kanengiser of the LAGQ received the news at the same time we did and contacted us immediately to see if we could arrange a video shoot to record 3 pieces Frank wrote in 1999 from his 6-movement work “Sweet Ladyslipper”, which was dedicated to the memory of his friend and colleague John Fleagle, founding member of Trio LiveOak. The entire piece can be heard as played by Frank here. A .pdf file of the piece can also be purchased through that link for those of you interested in adding it to your repertoire.

In addition to performing these 3 beautiful pieces, Bill had some personal anecdotes he wanted to share, to create awareness of Frank’s condition, and to get word out that contributions can be made to Frank’s medical fund to help pay for his expenses.

From Bill Kanengiser:

It was a pleasure for me to come into GSI the other day and record a few pieces by my friend Frank Wallace. Frank and I go WAY back; as a teenager, I showed up at a summer music camp when I was just beginning to teach myself guitar, and he was there as the incredibly over-qualified instructor. He was a huge inspiration to me, and our musical paths crossed in interesting ways over the years.
Frank wrote a gorgeous solo piece in 1999 called “Sweet Ladyslipper”. It was dedicated to the memory of his band-mate John Fleagle, who passed away prematurely from cancer. I was inspired to learn three of the movements a few weeks ago when I learned of Frank’s current valiant struggle with the same disease. Close members of my family are experiencing their own similar challenges, and I could think of no better way to send support to Frank and other survivors than to play this beautiful music.
I chose to begin with Frank’s evocative “Cantiga”; it’s based on an early Spanish Renaissance melody, set in a spare and haunting manner. I used a beautiful 2017 Antonio Marin Montero flamenco guitar to bring out the Iberian qualities of the piece. Next, the heartbreakingly beautiful “Pavane for a Dying Prince”, lovingly patterned after Ravel’s “Pavane for a Dead Princess”. I thought it appropriate to use a French instrument, and the elegant 2014 Bertrand Ligier seemed to fit the bill. Finally, I played the rambunctious “Zar” movement, with its raucous strumming, Egyptian modes and odd-meter counterpoint. A wonderfully exotic instrument built this year by my Uruguayan friend Ariel Ameijenda lent itself beautifully to this piece.
I encourage everyone to check out more of Frank’s wonderful compositions, arrangements and recordings, and to support his initiative for cancer research.
All best wishes,

Comments (5)

Bill, great performance of Frank’s pieces—I really enjoyed them and what a great tribute to Frank and his compositions!

Best wishes to you Frank, and I’m sorry to hear that you are sick and I pray that you triumph in your current battle with cancer. (I think the last time we saw each other was at the GFA in Merida.

Best wishes for a fast recovery!

Thank you David (I presume) and Bill so much for posting this blog and videos. It is very heart warming – and gorgeous!! My wife Nancy and I both appreciate the shout out to our fund-raiser and to Gyre Music – the piece is selling like hotcakes thanks to you Bill and the links you posted David, and, of course, because of the gorgeous sounds you make. This piece has always had a special place in my heart and it’s great to hear it again in new hands. Thanks!

Frank, so happy to hear this is getting so much attention. The idea was all Bill’s, and when he called here (after we both received your email blast) it was clear to us all that we needed to figure out how to get the shoot scheduled… So a big thanks to you for sharing with us all about what you’re going through, that inspired this and more good things will continue to come to you. Keep up the good fight, we’re all pulling for you!

It’s great to hear you playing again, Bill. You make the music SING as it should. And to pay tribute to a dear friend is the best reason to play music. Beautiful guitars too. Thank you so much.

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