The Last Waltz

The Last Waltz is a timeless song written by Barry Mason and Les Reed and was a # 1 hit for Engelbert in 1967.  I placed it towards the end of album since it is almost always towards the end of Engelbert's shows followed by his classic hit and an encore.  

When I play the iconic rolled chords to start the song at Engelbert concerts, the audience typically responds with a warm applause. I wanted to keep that "hook" in my interpretation, but in classic Alex-fashion, with a slight variation.  I roll the 1st & 3rd chords and in the left hand, I add a G natural to the Db chord creating a lydian - mode sound (think The Simpson or Maria from West Side Story).

This song, a bit like track 8 (This Is My Song), The Last Waltz is in a triple meter.  When your title includes the word waltz, you are practically obligated to compose it in 3/4 time signature.  So one element I did not want to lose was the waltz, dance feel, but also, when you depart from the more conventional 4/4 time signature, you find yourself with an array of new rhythmic possibilities.  

One of the examples of me playing with the rhythm is found in the bridge (2'02").  I integrate 8th note triplets, but then shift the accent of those triplets to give the music an accelerated feel . (It's a little musical trick that I like to use and one that I learned from tradition Peruvian music).  A second little trick or more like a stolen tribute is found on the last chorus (2'39") and it's a "tip of the hat" to long time Engelbert drummer, Tony Savage.  The song has a shuffled 3/4 feel, but on that chorus, Tony would play the 8th notes straight for about a measure and it was something that everyone in the band would jump in on.  Musically, it has the opposite affect of what I did on the bridge, in that it almost puts the breaks on the tune.  It makes total sense as the song begins to wind down at that point.  

I hope you enjoy this beautiful waltz for it's compositional merit, the story behind its lyric and the interpretive nuances in this recording.