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Americana - transcriptions of pieces by Copland, Bernstein, Gershwin, Dvorak, Monroe et al. / Modern Mandolin Quartet [Blu-ray audio]

Album Summary

>Copland, Aaron : Rodeo
>Dvorak, Antonin : Quartet for Strings no 12 in F major, Op. 96/B 179 "American"
>Bernstein, Leonard : West Side Story
>Traditional, American : Shenandoah, folk song
>Gershwin, George : Preludes (3) for piano
>Marshall, Mike : Bill Monroe Medley
>Glass, Philip : Quartet for Strings no 3 ("Mishima")
>Traditional, Irish : Irish Roots Medley
Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Sono Luminus presents this uniquely engaging collection of music that embodies the American spirit in Americana, the latest release by Modern Mandolin Quartet. The package will be a 2-disc set, containing a Blu-ray Surround Sound disc as well as a standard CD. The Modern Mandolin Quartet was formed in 1985 to give a new voice to that most American of musical instruments, the mandolin. "MMQ play dead-straight, spot-on, and packed with freshness and vitality of a kind that is rare in material of this type. These are not down-scaled, make-em-easy, just-for-kicks charts either - they are a Major Thing. TRIPLE MUST!" - Fanfare Magazine

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (08/22/2011-08/24/2011).

Fans of the Modern Mandolin Quartet will eagerly snap up Americana, the group's 2012 release on Dorian's Sono Luminus label and its first album since the Nutcracker Suite, which appeared in 2004. This lively collection offers sophisticated and clear-headed arrangements of string quartets by Antonin Dvorák and Philip Glass, as well as the Three Piano Preludes of George Gershwin, which are interspersed with shorter pieces of a strong American flavor, including the "Hoe-Down" from Aaron Copland's Rodeo, "Cool" from Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story, the traditional folk song Shenandoah, a medley celebrating bluegrass legend Bill Monroe, and an Irish Roots Medley. The ensemble, which consists of two mandolins, mandola, and mandocello, matches the tunings and registers of a classical string quartet, so the Dvorák and Glass pieces make sense both musically and technically, though the adaptations of the Copland, Bernstein, and Gershwin selections involved more creativity. The mandolin's sound isn't for everybody, and because the whole program involves plucked and strummed music, without alleviation from other instruments, some listeners will find the CD is easier to appreciate in small doses. Even so, Americana is a tour de force, thanks to the Modern Mandolin Quartet's skill and artistry. The package contains two discs, one a conventional CD and the other a Blu-ray audio disc, providing two options for playback. ~ Blair Sanderson



Reviews

Brand New MMQ!
AMERICANA - Modern Mandolin Quartet Sono Luminus

The term “Americana” has been used for everything from the title for a Don DeLillo novel to a radio marketing term for otherwise uncategorizable singer-songwriters.
In their latest recording, the Modern Mandolin Quartet propose their own definition and continue their successful blending of the familiar and the unexpected. Their performances of the folk melody, “Shenandoah” and the “Irish Roots Medley” (as well as the live concert favorite, “Bill Monroe Medley”) speak to their knowledge of ‘home-grown’ American music, while their arrangements of Aaron Copland’s “Hoedown” and the previously recorded “Cool” by Leonard Bernstein seem to make even these modern ‘standards’ more accessible.
However, the real strength of this record lies in their rendering of Dvorak’s “American” string quartet (No. 12 in F, Op. 96) and “String Quartet No. 3” by Phillip Glass, both played with the taste and timing, dexterity and dynamics one has come to expect from this group. George Gershwin’s “Three Piano Preludes”, like the Glass composition, further allow them to exhibit that rarest of all musical qualities and the one sure sign of genuine virtuosity, imagination.
From folk songs to film scores, “Americana” by the Modern Mandolin Quartet proves, once again, the depth and diversity of American music and demonstrates the truth of the old adage that good musicians may play music well, but great musicians bring it to life.

Highest possible recommendation 10 out of 10 Oscar O. Veterano

Submitted on 09/24/12 by Oscar O. Veterano 
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Works Details

>Copland, Aaron : Rodeo :: Hoe-Down
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Running Time: 3 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1942

>Antonin Dvorák (1841 - 1904) : Quartet for Strings no 12 in F major, Op. 96/B 179 "American"
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Notes: Composition written: 1893.
  • Running Time: 53 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1893

>Bernstein, Leonard : West Side Story :: Cool
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Notes: Composition written: 1955-57.
  • Running Time: 4 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1955-1957

>Traditional, American : Shenandoah, folk song
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Running Time: 4 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 18th Century

>Gershwin, George : Preludes (3) for piano
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Running Time: 14 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926

>Marshall, Mike : Bill Monroe Medley :: Roanoke / Lonesome Moonlight Waltz / Wheel Hoss / Cheyenne / Rawhide
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Running Time: 8 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Glass, Philip : Quartet for Strings no 3 ("Mishima")
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Notes: Composition written: 1985.
  • Running Time: 20 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1985

>Traditional, Irish : Irish Roots Medley
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Running Time: 4 min. 42 sec.

>Copland, Aaron : Rodeo :: Hoe-Down
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Running Time: 3 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1942

>Antonin Dvorák (1841 - 1904) : Quartet for Strings no 12 in F major, Op. 96/B 179 "American"
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Notes: Composition written: 1893.
  • Running Time: 53 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1893

>Bernstein, Leonard : West Side Story :: Cool
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Notes: Composition written: 1955-57.
  • Running Time: 4 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1955-1957

>Traditional, American : Shenandoah, folk song
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Running Time: 4 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 18th Century

>Gershwin, George : Preludes (3) for piano
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Running Time: 14 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926

>Marshall, Mike : Bill Monroe Medley :: Roanoke / Lonesome Moonlight Waltz / Wheel Hoss / Cheyenne / Rawhide
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Running Time: 8 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Glass, Philip : Quartet for Strings no 3 ("Mishima")
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Notes: Composition written: 1985.
  • Running Time: 20 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1985

>Traditional, Irish : Irish Roots Medley
  • Ensemble: The Modern Mandolin Quartet
  • Running Time: 4 min. 42 sec.