My Beautiful Mandolin Friend
I met Alison Stephens in 2002 when I travelled to London to a fretted instrument rally. As a self-taught traditional musician I was nervous about mixing with the mostly classically trained musicians who would be there. Alison blew that out of the water at first meeting by being charming, hugely enthusiastic and by giving me as much respect as she would any fellow musician. It was the start of a lovely friendship, and every time we got together from then on was a pleasure for me. Everyone loved Ali and was enriched by being in her company.
I heard she was ill, but it was at a time when my father was dying of cancer, so I didn't deal with it very well. I was able to speak to her (in Germany of all places) during her remission, and she naturally forgave me with her usual ebulliance and love. When I was told that she had been admitted to a hospice, I was moved to compose a piece of music for her; I wrote it, recorded it and sent it off the same day. She died very quickly and while that is a blessing, she wasn't able to hear the tune I had simply called "My Beautiful Mandolin Friend".
This piece has been performed by a number of ensembles, and is being recorded by Hamburg mandolinist Jochen Ross. I am delighted that there is interest in it, no doubt because of Alison's popularity. I am happy for anyone who wishes to use it, play it, record it, completely free of charge; I would only ask that it be credited to me, and that some thought is given to the wonderful force of nature that was Alison Stephens. Any questions or requests (e.g. for the music in another format), please just ask (Email me).