View Full Version : Tapestry set for release in U.S.

Scott Tichenor
Feb-16-2004, 7:36am
Ali Stephens contacted me to let me know her Duo Mandala's Tapestry is set for release in the U.S. I plan to get this one as mandolin and harp is a favorite but rarely heard combination, at least in this country. This is apparently getting great reviews from the classical community which is a pretty tough nut to crack with a mandolin.

Ali is a great gal. She showed up to one of the Nutcracker performances I played at two years ago. Afterwards we went out for a beer with her and a mandolin friend she was visiting in the states (trust me, she didn't come over from London to hear me). Regular kind of gal, a real pleasure to hang out with. I asked where she be performing next and her casual answer was something like "oh, I'm performing with the Tokyo symphony next weekend,"... or something like that. "Oh, I said," gulp.

Tapestry CD UK: http://www.sanctuaryclassics.com/product_details.php?productId=6164

Duo Mandala info: http://www.sanctuaryclassics.com/index.p....eId=219 (http://www.sanctuaryclassics.com/index.php?section=4&subsection=1&getArticleId=219)


Classical Music Web (http://www.musicweb.uk.net/classrev/2004/Jan04/tapestry.htm) where it's one of the Recording Of the Month.

Amazon.co.uk Review
The world's first (and only) mandolin and harp duo, Alison Stephens (mandolin) and Lauren Scott (harp) are such a remarkable team that four composers have been inspired to write music specially for them. The result is Tapestry, an inspirational album of contemporary music that rescues these instruments from the polite environs of the 18th-century drawing room with which they are usually associated.

The complementary plucked sonorities--both instruments are naturally percussive, but with markedly different textures--are demonstrated to good effect in Bill Connor's enigmatic Krug, with its off-kilter rhythms and chordal passages. The mood is somewhat more traditional in Julian Dawes' Three Pieces, in which the mandolin's urgent tremolo contrasts with the harp's reflective arpeggios. David Sutton-Anderson's Mandalas are true miniatures, seven short and avowedly meditative pieces. The longest work is Paul Mitchell-Davidson's Tapestry, an ambitious 32-minute, four-movement suite. Utilising the mandolin's full range of techniques--ringing arpeggios, glissandi, string skipping (playing only one of the paired strings), strumming chords and tremolo--it's a virtuoso workout for Alison Stephens, who surmounts its technical challenges with apparent ease.

Throughout, the two instruments reveal previously unimagined expressive qualities, helped in no small measure by the splendid musicianship of Stephens and Scott, whose persuasive advocacy will surely guarantee more fine music for this combination in the future. Lovers of the classical mandolin in particular and anyone with a taste for unusual chamber music will find much to cherish here: contemporary yet thoroughly attractive pieces, splendidly performed. --Mark Walker

Feb-16-2004, 1:05pm
I really like this CD. The whole departs from tonality just enough to keep it interesting and mentally challenging, but it never wanders too far from ready accessibility. It's worth your hard-earned cash.