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:
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:
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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