The classical mandolin was alive and well this weekend in New York City. This was the 12th workshop that Carlo has presented in Manhattan...the 1st was held in Chaim Caron's (organizer) brownstone with maybe 12-15 participants...Jim Garber & I were there. The number has grown to 30-35 dedicated mandolin family players (mandola & mandocello...this year there were about 5 or 6 of each). By dedicated and comitted to mandolin... I mean some travel from as far away as Canada, Seattle, San Francisco, Memphis...on an annual basis...I think there were only about 5 new attendees this year.
Let me say a word about Carlo...He is one of the world's greatest mandolin players...yes, his mission is to promote the classical mandolin, but he can and does play Jethro Burns as well as anyone...and also can play bluegrass with & on the level with the likes of the Kruger Brothers & Doyle Lawson (on a Pandini bowlback!)...so take a world class musician that is a world class instructor & conductor...you get a high level mandolin workshop....plus he is a nice charismatic person!...definitely see him on one of his tours!
When you sign up for the WS the music is sent to you ...
On Thursday of the WS an optional performance or technique class is held...this year Carlo went into great detail on Riggierri La Fustemberg Variations and Calace II Preludio op 49 ...see Carlo on youtube play LaFustemberg...a great insight to see the maestro break down the fingering, timing,and dynamics in the master class...
On Friday & Saturday we rehearse from 10AM to 6 PM...Sunday from 10 - 3...with recital @ 5:15...there are breaks & lunch of course...on Friday Carlo has given concerts...this year John Carlini performed with him.
Chaim, like all of us, has his "things"...and the most prominent one is Bach...we always have a portion of Bach...or BTA (Bach the alien) he must have come from another world to have composed all his remarkable music! We did Bach Suite Number 3 in D and Contrapuntus 3
Vivaldi Concerto in A minor (LA Minore)...participants of the workshop get to sign up for solos if interested...so I challenged myself to play the solos in the 1st movement Allegro...I have progressed from the 1st workshop to now where I could play this piece...the solos were split with me and Jim Garber...the musicianship has improved greatly over the years of the workshop that I actually felt nervous doing the solos ...the moist hands etc,...and I perform all the time with no problem...I guess this is part of raising the bar to your own playing...
Then we did two Scarlatti Sonatas...Along the way we were very fortunate to have Victor Kioulaphides and his mandolin attend the workshop...Victor has added his own compositions and arrangements to the workshops...this year he took two of Domenico Scarlotti's Harpsichord Sonata's...and arranged them to be performed by a mandolin ensemble.....Bravo Victor!
We finished off the performance with Munier Quartetto in Re Maggiore...in 4 Tempi..
The workshop has evolved and grown...Linda Binder was a great addition to Carlo & Chaim to help out in the overall organization needed to plan & implement this annual classical mandolin event.
If you are not a member of the Classical Mandolin Society of America, I encourage you to join...check out the CMSA website and the photos of past conventions & videos of the concerts.
Let me end this by saying I enjoy playing the mandolin...all styles...Years ago I remember practicing some classical Doncla Scales and they triggered a memory...I went to a VHS (remember them?) instructional tape by Sam Bush that I got two years before...Grey Eagle all of a sudden made sense to me...because of classical mandolin.
PS Perform at senior centers and nursing homes...they will appreciate it...play You are My Sunshine and ANYTHING else...you will be better for it in many ways...
Sorry this became so long...but I don't post too often!