|Dimensions||22 × 16 × .50 cm|
To describe StringyBach as a mandolin and guitar quartet could indicate that the group’s repertoire is predominantly classical. It can be be, if this is your choice. However, StringyBach is equally at home with music from the renaissance through to the Baroque, Romantic, jazz, Latin, ragtime and the modern era, including the Beatles.
The instrumental line-up includes acoustic guitars (steel string and classical), mandolins, bouzouki and acoustic bass. And because we care enough about the listening comfort of our clients, we don’t dominate the scene through over-amplification. While we play you can still maintain a conversation.
Put us in the background, or up front as part of your celebrations, depending on the occasion. And yes, we do play music for dancing, with a repertoire of swing music, strict tempo and folk melodies to fit the setting.
CD review by Tony Smith
Weeping Willow is a collection of some familiar and well loved light classics, traditional music, jazz standards and other memorable tunes.
The playing of cello, guitar and mandolin is really excellent and the arrangements by members of Western Australian ensemble, StringyBach, bring out the best in both the compositions and the instruments.
Their repertoire can be summarised as ‘Renaissance to Ragtime, Baroque to Beatles’ but includes much more.
As the sleeve notes or ‘Liner fibs’ explain, this StringyBach (there are other pretenders to the name) is Penny Taylor (mandolin), Robert Schultz (mandolin, classical guitar, bouzouki), Jim Elliott (mandolin, classical guitar, steel string guitar, bouzouki) and Robert Kay (acoustic bass guitar).
They are joined by Alan Harvey (mandolin), Ann Palumbo (nylon string guitar), Don Blue (electric guitar) and Michael Goldschlager.(very expensive Louis XIV cello).
Their witty approach is typified by the description of recording engineer, David Clarke, as a ‘maker of silk purses’.
Mind you there are no sow’s ears in evidence on this tastefully produced CD.
Albums on StringyBach’s punningly titled playlist include, BachPedalling, Bacchanalia, Bach in the Bight and Bach Odes.
But do not let the slightly self-effacing nature of the ‘Liner fibs’ deceive you, this is seriously good music.
Listeners will be able to identify their favourite tracks among the generous offering of 21 on this album, all are lively and entertaining.
I am particularly taken with the upbeat version of J.S. Bach’s, ‘Sheep May Safely Graze’, and ‘Weeping Willow’ by Scott Joplin, the ragtime master.
The composers covered include, Lennon and Macartney, Pachelbel, Handel, Haydn. Saint-Saen, Irving Berlin, Albeniz and Villa-Lobos.
Louis Armstrong gets a guernsey and Robert Schultz’s, ‘Greek to Greek’, Robert Kay’s, ‘Mando Rondo’, and Jim Elliott’s, ‘Katy’, fit perfectly with this august company.
The folk tradition is represented by the sixteenth century tune, ‘La Rocha’, the Irish tune, ‘Go to the Devil and Shake Yourself’, ‘O’Carolan’s Receipt’, ‘Tomorrow Will Be My Dancing Day’ and ‘Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye’.
This album is essentially a celebration of the mandolin.
It is not surprising that the instrument lends itself so well to classical music and folk tunes.
The mandolin has the same tuning as the violin or fiddle, GDAE, tenor banjo and Irish bouzouki.
While the instrument does occasionally feature in symphony orchestras, it is more likely confined to mandolin ensembles.
In traditional music it tends to be a background instrument, embellishing the tune rather than carrying the melody solo.
There is however, no doubt about the beauty of the mandolin’s sound and it must be said that StringyBach have understood the mandolin’s potential and exploit it to the full.
6 in stock (can be backordered)