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Jeremiah Clarks, Arr. Ron Kubiak
2. Duos #26 and #27 from 44 Duos
(Duet: Alan - mandolin 1, Craig - mandolin 2)
3. Pavane de la Belle au bois dormant
4. Dance of the Lunatics
Thos. S. Allen, Arr. Walter Jacobs
5. Gymnopedie #1
Eric Satie, Arr. John Mock
(Duet: Lisa - guitar, Alan - mandolin)
7. Concerto in G Major Andante
(Alan - mandolin, Don - guitar with Carol, David and Jack pizzicto backing)
8. Texas Fox Trot
David Guion, Arr. Tony Kaye
9. Life in Antarctica (Is Cold and Lonely)
(Duet: Damian - bass and Alan - mandolin)
10. Little Rabbit
(Ensemble: Alan and Mark - mandolins, Craig - mandola, Lisa - guitar, Damian - bass)
11. Blackberry Blossom
Traditional, Arr. Charley Rappaport
(Orchestra with solos by Mark, Ray, Dean and Alan)
The Review by Butch Baoldassari from the CD Cover—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has never been known as an influential center of American Music, but in the world of the mandolin, Pittsburgh has contributed a number of important musical personalities and groups over the last 100 years.
Mandolin soloist/composer Valentine Abt (1873-1942), one of the best-known figures during the mandolin's Golden Age, was born in Allegheny County and
taught at the Pittsburgh Conservatory. He went on to form the first American Classical Mandolin Quartet (1908) and the 150-member New York Plectrum
Even as the mandolin's popularity was declining after the World War I, Pittsburgh mandolin music, played by Perry V. Lichtenfels and the Alleqre Mandolin Sextet,
was feature.a on radio station KDKA on the very first transatlantic radio broadcast. Lichtenfels led a serious group whose 78-rpm recordings are highly sought today.
The 17-piece Pittsburgh Mandolin Orchestra carries on the tradition of important mandolin music from Pittsburgh. On their debut CD, The March, they pay tribute to the Golden Age but also present a contemporary update of the: capabilities of the mandolin family instruments. With a pair of early-twentieth century tunes, "Dance of the Lunatics" and "Texas Fox Trot," the PGHMO shows how accomplished the early mandolin orchestra composers and arrangers were. Rocca LaFauci's "Italian Waltz," a relatively new composition, sounds as if it were hot off the presses in 1895. They show the more "serious," classical side of mandolin orchestra
repertoire with pieces ranging from the "Andante" from Vivaldi's "Concerto n G" for two mandolins to Jeremia'h Clarke's "March" and Ravel's "Pavane."
Interspersed among the full orchestra arrangements is a broad-array of ensemble/chamber pieces. Satie's "Gyrnnopedie #1" is performed in duet by PGHMO
founder, leader and first mandolinist Alan Epstein with guitarist Lisa.9 Abrams. Epstein' duets with Craig Schaffer on Bartok's duos #26 and #27, and with bassist Damian Helbling on Edgar Meyer's "Life in Antarctica." And in a nod to the mandolin's most visible role in today's popular music genres, the PGHMO features a pair of bluegrass-flavored tunes, "Little Rabbit" and Charley Rappaport's arrangement of "Blackberry Blossom."
Let the record state that the Pittsburgh Mandolin Orchestra is off to a great start as one of the more serious community-based mandolin orchestras actively performing in the USA. Their future looks bright and we can only hope to see more performances and recordings on their horizon.
Butch Baldassari, Nashville, Tennessee
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