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  • Fanfare for the Volunteer / O'Connor, Mercurio, London SO
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Fanfare for the Volunteer / O'Connor, Mercurio, London SO


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Audio CD, October 19, 1999
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Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Fanfare for the Volunteer: I. Call of the MockingbirdMark O'Connor;Steven Mercurio;London Philharmonic Orchestra20:25Album Only
listen  2. Fanfare for the Volunteer: II. Trail of TearsMark O'Connor;Steven Mercurio;London Philharmonic Orchestra16:08Album Only
listen  3. Fanfare for the Volunteer: III. Fanfare for the VolunteerMark O'Connor;Steven Mercurio;London Philharmonic Orchestra20:05Album Only


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Fanfare for the Volunteer / O'Connor, Mercurio, London SO + Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms; Symphony in C; Symphony in Three Movements
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 19, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Mod - Afw Line
  • ASIN: B000028U0Z
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,505 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Mark O'Connor is the heir to a long line of composer-performers who wrote music for themselves to play. Like his predecessors, O'Connor writes to his strengths, which include a lovely, expressive tone, a natural, easy way with the instrument, and an innate feeling for the style. The three works on this record were initially conceived as the movements of a concerto, and though they became independent pieces, they're connected by thematic and melodic elements. In style and atmosphere, they take their inspiration from the folk music, as well as the landscape and history, of America.

"Call of the Mockingbird" is a study in the evocation of nature and its sounds. The solo violin joins woodwinds, horns, and string pizzicato in conjuring the voices of birds, and there is an improvised, unaccompanied cadenza toward the end. The music breathes a simple, peaceful serenity. "Trail of Tears" commemorates the tragic dispossession of the Cherokee Indians; melancholy, a bit dissonant, the music has the heavy tread of a forced march and builds up to a powerful climax. In "Fanfare for a Volunteer," the death march becomes a clarion call for freedom, with drums, trumpets, and other brass; the solo fiddle bursts into a string of tunes and dances, and joins the drums in another improvised cadenza. After a quiet interlude, the piece ends with more martial fifes and drums. Throughout, perhaps the most unusual aspect of the music is the combination of folk-style fiddling with the highly sophisticated, masterful scoring for a large symphony orchestra; indeed, O'Connor's avowed purpose is to showcase the orchestral sections as much as the soloist. His playing is superb, disciplined as well as free, and the orchestra supports him splendidly. --Edith Eisler

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Bob Zeidler on April 2, 2000
Format: Audio CD
My entry into the performance and composition worlds of Mark O'Connor was by way of Yo-Yo Ma, with the release of "Appalachia Waltz" a few years back. As a one-time violinist, I was intrigued enough by this album that I was led naturally to a search both into O'Connor's musical past and into his work subsequent to that album. An incomplete listing of O'Connor projects on record that I uncovered include "The Fiddle Concerto" (an interesting combination of 19th century throwback ideas and country fiddling, and an obvious warm-up exercise for the masterpiece under review), "Liberty" (compiling the best of his work for the PBS series "Liberty! The American Revolution"), his session work in a group called Strength in Numbers, anticipating, fully twelve years in advance, the currently hot Edgar Meyer album "Short Trip Home," and his solo album "Midnight on the Water."

Unquestionably, O'Connor has technique to burn. With his technical security and leanness of tone, he brings to mind Heifetz. No one presently living knows, of course, how Paganini sounded when he performed, but we should not be surprised regarding comparisons made between O'Connor and Paganini, particularly with both of them being guitar virtuosi as well. But the rap against Paganini-perhaps too facile and self-indulgent-can apply equally to O'Connor. "Midnight on the Water" is a case in point; in my mind, this is not a work that can be listened to with any frequency on its musical merits alone. (For budding violin students, the matter is somewhat different; they will listen to it from a very different perspective.)

With "Fanfare for the Volunteer," all's right with the world again.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ruth F Blanchette on September 3, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Mark O'Connor with his understanding and love of the violin and his love of life has captured the essence of the heart breaking beauty of the Tennessee hills. His music soars and swoops and dips weaving a magical life of its own. If you enjoy the passion of Hillary Hahn wait until you begin to listen to Mark's story because that is what this piece is. It is the story of the Cherokees and their heart-rending loss of their land. It is the story of the seasons with their beauty and their harshness. This CD will be one you will play over and over and over, never tiring and each time finding something new that will for just a short space in time, take your breath away.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 3, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I had the chance to listen to this CD on public radio while driving through the mountains of West Virginia, USA, this Fall. O'Connor's latest work is both soaring and contemplative and was the perfect complement to the moods outside my windows. I had to own it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Laurie Eckhout on September 22, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I have to admit i came upon this CD because of my penchant for Maestro Mercurio's talents, and not through any familiarity with O'Connor's performances or compositions.
After reading that these three pieces were joined, then separated I wondered how that would be reflected in the works.
Well, they are related, for sure, but not an ounce of unwelcome repetition between the pieces is to be found. Only a lovely continuity of themes and a consistent level of what can only be described as genuine faith, by all involved, in what is being shared.
I almost felt as if the works were being written and performed by O'Connor on the spot, with the orchestra being an extension of the fiddler, himself. This speaks to the talents of O'Connor, but also for Mercurio, who always brings his all to a performance. It is symbiotic.
I read in some other reviews that O'Connor is reflective of other composers of this century. All i can say about that is for the most part, I do not like most contemporary compositions of a classical nature. There is usually a rhythm to them that i find disenchanting, and it almost deterred me from purchasing this piece. But alas, this CD is a thing beauty from the beginning to the end. Laurie in Alaska
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Colaninno on January 16, 2000
Format: Audio CD
There are few clasical works good enough to bring tears to my eyes at the absolute beauty of the music. This CD did. I rate it as a modern masterpiece and worthy of just about any price to acquire it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Byron W. Eddy on February 15, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I bought this CD because I've thoroughly enjoyed O'Connor's "Fiddle Concerto" for years. With this purchase, I was hoping for something similar, and upon listening, it has far exceeded my expectations. This is now one of my favorite CDs. It is full of life and joy, and I like it more every time I listen to it. It is so rare these days to find high-quality modern orchestral compositions, especially ones that speak to the soul (as this one does).

In the CD notes, O'Connor mentions that he wrote this as a follow-up to the Fiddle Concerto. "Three Pieces" really functions as a complete work with three movements. The first and third tracks are faster, and the middle track is slow and lyrical. The fanfare at the beginning of the third track is a nice touch, and is very Copland-esque (thinking of "Fanfare for the Common Man").

Kudos to Mark!!
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