"Fresh air to the old masterpieces...Highly recommended. Complimenti!" - Carlo Aonzo
"A most admirable job...lovely as the bay of Naples... Bravo!" - Evan Marshall
Like most of my mandolin projects in the last ten years, this collection of music came as a sudden vision and challenge. Capriccio Fantastico - composition in a free style, whimsical, and fantastic! This phrase sums up my feelings and approach to this project that began in April, 2011.
For many Americans, playing old mandolin music means early to mid 20th century music: ragtime, blues, early swing and pop, and maybe even bluegrass. In contrast, and the attraction for me, the music on this CD represents the roots of mandolin - 200 years old and Italian. Excluding Tchaikovsky's Melodie and Piccola Gavotta Bruciacchiata (imagine Jethro Burns and Raffaele Calace drinking a half-rack of Old Style beer and jamming), all of this music was written for solo or accompanied mandolin between 1750 and 1900.
Not being trained in the art of classical mandolin repertoire, I take a scientific, step-by-step approach by notating the music and making improvements to my arrangement and, likewise, my own techniques. The music may have a ferocious and aggressive forte passage and then a beautiful and gentle piano passage, all the while using right and left-hand techniques that are rarely, if ever, used in American mandolin playing. Reared in the genres of bluegrass and swing, I arranged this music so the performance sounds authentic, but, also, fits my playing style. I felt I was on the right track when I read the liner notes of Vladimir Horowitz's penultimate album from 1989, Horowitz at Home:
"Classical, Romantic, Modern, Neo-Romantic! These Labels may be convenient for musicologists, but they have nothing to do with composing or performing. I cannot name a single great composer of any period who did not possess "romantic" qualities. Isn't, then, all music romantic? Music is the expression of feelings... style and form change, but not the basic human emotions... All my life, I have considered music of all periods Romantic... The notation of a composer is a mere skeleton that the performer must endow with flesh and blood... An audience does not respond to intellectual concepts, only to the communication of feelings". - Horowitz
*Note 1* - Brian has self published a book that contains the sheet music for this album. Contact Brian directly to purchase this book.
*Note 2* - A PDF of the album's artwork and liner notes is available (for free) for purchasers of digital downloads. Contact Brian directly.
Enjoy this music and thank you so much - Brian Oberlin July 7, 2014