FAME Review: Peter Ostroushko - The Mando Chronicles (three CD box set)
Peter Ostroushko - The Mando Chronicles (three CD box set)

The Mando Chronicles

Peter Ostroushko

Red House Records - RHR-CD-253 (three CD box set)

Available from Red House Records.

A review written for Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Jim Zimmerschied

For all you mandolin buffs here is a large dose of sugar for you. With three CD's in the set and 52 mandolin tunes, you will be set for quite a while listening to a remarkable piece of work. For those who like acoustic instrumentals, this album may well convert you to being a mandolin aficionado.

The Mando Chronicles cover a wide range of music that can be played on a mandolin (or close relatives). Mr. Ostroushko is an acknowledged superstar on the instrument and shows his talents well in this three disc set. He is accompanied by a host of talented musicians such as Norman Blake, Johnny Gimbal and Butch Thompson just to name a few of the twenty or more artists involved.

The Chronicles is divided into three sets:

  1. Americana—homegrown music that has been popular here for a long time. It includes fiddle tunes, ragtime and jazz. It also includes several traditional sounding tunes written by the performer.
  2. Old World—music rooted in Ukrainian, Swedish, French, Italian and Irish traditions.
  3. Classical and South American—some selected works of classical and Latin American composers.

As you will see, the breadth and depth of the music is incredible. The playing style is laid back with a minimum of outside embellishments. In some pieces such as the Joplin tune: Swipesy, Peter overdubs on three types of mandolin family instruments making himself a virtual "one man band". On other tunes, he does bring in the right match of musicians, for instance on Duke Ellington's C Jam Blues there is piano and percussion as well as Johnny Gimbal on mandolin.

Commenting on some of the outstanding tunes (even though all are great:

Ace of Spades/Brilliancy is a medley of traditional fiddle tunes with superb back-up by Norman and Nancy Blake.

Sweet Georgia Brown is a familiar tune made livelier by the addition of Johnny Gimbel's mandolin and other artists on piano/percussion.

Kozachok is a lively Ukrainian tune.

Avec Relais is a French musette with assistance by Danny Gotham on guitar.

Ed Reavy's/Gusty's Frolic/Miss Patterson's Slippers/Rakish Paddy are a set of hornpipe/slip jig/reels from Irish dancing music. There are also several other lively reels on this disc.

Vivaldi's Mandolin Concerto in C major is the first of a long set of classical music compositions that Ostroushko plays on the third disc. There are selections from Bach and Beethoven with appropriate string accompaniment.

Beneath Oklahoma Soil is a piece written by Peter Ostroushko in memory of a friend, not classical music but fits well in this section.

Madeline is a Puerto Rican waltz played by Peter on a number of different types of mandolin family instruments.

Ciumento is an enjoyable Brazilian Choro (called the New Orleans jazz of Brazil).

Just from these comments you get the idea that The Mando Chronicles is broad in scope and will provide hours of music pleasure.

Here is what's on the album:

Play List:

Disc 1:Disc 2:
  • Paddy on the Turnpike - traditional
  • Ace of Spades/Brilliancy - traditional
  • Lantern in the Ditch - traditional
  • Mr. Bill Hinkley's March to the Promised Land by Ostroushko
  • Crossing the Cumberlands -Bill Monroe
  • Proud Boys of Manassas/Bull Run Picnic by Ostroushko
  • Long March Through Texas by Ostroushko
  • Old Virginia Reel - traditional
  • Herald of Spring/Civil War March by Ostroushko
  • Monkey on a Dog Cart - traditional
  • Heliotrope Bouquet - Joplin
  • Swipesy - Joplin
  • Flapperette - jazz
  • Sweet Georgia Brown - swing
  • In a Sentimental Mood - jazz
  • C Jam Blues -jazz
  • Entrance of the Gladiators - jazz
  • Kazochok - Ukrainian
  • Krokadyeel/Orelitsya - Ukrainian
  • Stoli Hori - Ukrainian waltz
  • Maldovian Dance Tune
  • Pereschitya - Ukrainian
  • Ganglat - Swedish Walking Tune
  • Vals from Orsa - Swedish waltz
  • Tarantella di Mirto - Italian dance tune
  • Avec Relais - French musette
  • Aida - Italian mazurka
  • Bouclette - French musette
  • Una Bambola - Italian polka
  • Coeur Vagabond - French musette
  • Ed Reavy's/Gusty's Frolic/Miss Patterson's Slippers/Rakish Paddy - Irish dance tunes
  • Lament for Captain Henry/Mama's Pet/The Banks - Irish dance tunes
  • The Humors of Tullycrine/Sporting Paddy/Lough Isle/Reel in the Key of A -Irish dance tunes
  • The Knackers of Naven/The Salamanca/The Nine Points of Roguery - more Irish dance tunes
Disc 3:
  • Mandolin Concerto in C major - Vivaldi
  • Sonota in G minor for Solo Violin - Bach
  • Adagio ma non troppo in E flat major for Mandolin and Strings - Beethoven
  • Minuetto in E minor for Solo Mandolin - Paganini
  • Beneath Oklahoma Soil - by Ostroushko
  • Madeline -Puerto Rican waltz
  • Ciumento - Brazilian choro
  • Os Cinco Companheiros - Brazilian choro
  • Gostosinho - Brazilian choro
  • Diabinho Maluco - Brazilian choro

Phew—that was a lot of typing. Just imagine all the effort required to learn those pieces and get them down on a recording! I goes without saying that all are played impeccably well.

The Mando Chronicles has a very nice enclosed booklet of information including photographs of some of the many mandolin family instruments Peter used in the production.

This three disc set is bound to be a classic and is well worth the price of admission.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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