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SIMON MAYOR - The Art Of Mandolin

SIMON MAYOR - The Art Of Mandolin
Acoustics Records CDACS065

If you are partial to the music of the mandolin and its siblings the mandola, mandocello and mandobass, then you will love this recording of a master musician at his absolute best. It’s great value with 14 pieces of music ranging from the classical repertoire of Debussy, Purcell and Chopin (Simon’s version of The Minute Walse will have your jaw dropping) to Simon’s own compositions that, in my opinion, stand up well in such illustrious company. He is assisted by the wonderful Hilary James on Mandobass (and vocal on the traditional song Brezairola - truly sublime). Django Reinhardt’s Anouman features Frank Kilkelly on guitar. It seems likely that Hilary features elsewhere on the CD, but the details are not made clear. I suspect that some of the playing here is multi-tracked Simon – if so, it is an amazing feat of disciplined musicianship.

I said that there were 14 pieces of music on this CD, but we mustn’t forget the spoken ‘intro’ and ‘tailpiece’ lifted from a performance at the Ilkley Playhouse. These spoken pieces are important as they serve to remind the listener that the music is, after all, played by mere mortals. That can be difficult to remember when faced with playing of this quality. The accompanying booklet is full of useful stuff I did not know about the mandolin family of instruments, though I have played mandolin for many years. One of the best things I have heard so far this year.

Phil Thomas

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This album was reviewed in Issue 102 of The Living Tradition magazine.