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Thread: Owen Hartford, "Family Squabble": PMO

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    Default Owen Hartford, "Family Squabble": PMO

    Owen Hartford's wonderful piece "Family Squabble" has been core repertoire of the Providence Mandolin Orchestra for many years. Here is our latest performance featuring two excellent recorder soloists -- Jamie Allen and Michael J. Raymond, Jr -- taking the mandolin parts. Hope you enjoy it!

    Robert A. Margo

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    Default Re: Owen Hartford, "Family Squabble": PMO

    Nice composition... sounds like a dance from ancient times... and a nice place for a live performance

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    Default Re: Owen Hartford, "Family Squabble": PMO

    "Nice composition... sounds like a dance from ancient times... and a nice place for a live performance"

    Thank you, Toomas! The venue is in the same building where we rehearse. It is a renovated industrial mill that is now a dance studio, very high ceilings, wood floors, great acoustics. The performance space is the main dance ballroom. This was our first concert there and I am sure we will play more.
    Robert A. Margo

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    Default Re: Owen Hartford, "Family Squabble": PMO

    Lively and interesting piece and performance. I had suggested this Hartford selection for our local group, we'll see what happens. But I am especially intrigued by the use of wind and other instruments with the mandolin orchestra. Having conducted small orchestras with bowed string instruments and wind combinations, I wonder if such more such collaboration would expand the public awareness of MO's, not to mention the fun for the players. I know there are a number of fine compositions that include wind instruments with plucked strings, I am just saying let's do more, and let's look at some Bach orchestrals and lighter-scored Mozart symphonies--the "little g minor" would work well, I think with a fine oboe part.

    Regarding the great acoustics, I just attended a concert where the guitar and vocals were over-mic'ed with a tinny brassy PA tone, drowning out the other fine instrumentalists. For their encore, the leader said "This place has great natural acoustics--let's turn of the mics." Finally I heard the balanced, rich sound I had expected of this group. I realize there are situations and venues where amplification might be needed, but I dislike the popular trend of mic-ing everything all the time. You provided a clear example of excellent un-amped sound.

    And as always, Bob, thanks for posting another fine recording--See you in Kalamazoo!
    jim
    Jim

    Dr James S Imhoff
    Boston University
    Oregon Mandolin Orchestra

    1912 Gibson K4 Mandocello; Thomann Mandocello; Stiver F5; ?American? Bowlback; Martin 00016; coming: Dusepo Cittern/liuto cantabile

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    Default Re: Owen Hartford, "Family Squabble": PMO

    "Lively and interesting piece and performance. I had suggested this Hartford selection for our local group, we'll see what happens."

    Thanks, Jim for the nice comment. Owen did not write the parts for recorder, it just so happened at this particular concert that we programmed two pieces for solo recorder and plucked ensemble, and we had two different soloists present. The first and second mandolin parts for Family Squabble have solo sections (along with the tutti), and the parts are readily playable on recorder, so we just had the recorders play along with the mandolins and do the solos.

    Recorder blends very well with plucked strings, ditto oboe, flute, and clarinet (and probably English horn, don't know if anyone has ever tried). Brass can be more difficult to balance, but can work with a skillful arranger (e.g. Mark Linkins routinely scores a trombone part for the East Coast Mandolin Orchestra). Trekel has a number of ready-made classical scores (Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, Telemann, etc) for solo recorder/woodwind and plucked ensemble, as does Edition49.

    It's very rare that we would amplify the PMO as an ensemble, although we have played a few pieces w/soloists where we had light amplification on the solo instrument. Depends on the instrument and the venue.
    Robert A. Margo

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