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Midnight on the Water Live

4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, April 28, 1998
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 28, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • ASIN: B0000062E2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,678 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Mark O'Connor Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Is there anything this man can't do?
After paying tribute to his various sources of inspiration on Heroes - by playing duets with them - O'Connor began a journey into "serious" music. As a composer and performer, Mark O'Connor disappointed me on those early outings, even while I admired and respected his courage to stray from his roots.
It all pays off here. For not only are the master (Paganini) and mentor (Benny Thomasson) here, but all the other heroes as well: Stephane Grappelli, Russ Barenboim, Sam Bush, Vasser Clements, Pinchas Zukerman, to name a few. They've all become Mark O'Connor.
This recording demonstrates maturity in every aspect of O'Connor's craft - as composer, as classical violinist, and as pure fireworks fiddle player. The tone that defines O'Connor (for me) is here, but it shines through the other styles he's absorbed.
The album's title piece is simply the finest O'Connor recorded performance - so far. It pays tribute to Benny Thomasson - a man who felt it was unnecessary to compose new pieces because there were so many undiscovered, unplayed variations on the old ones.
This one's good enough to make you forget to ask "What's next?"
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Format: Audio CD
I've followed Mark O'Connor's career since his 1976 "A Texas Jam Session" LP and have watched him evolve into one of the best violinists / fiddlers in the business. This album, which represents the kinds of live one-man shows Mark has been performing for over a decade, is probably my favorite of everything he has ever recorded, and it has squarely established his reputation as a performer, improviser, and composer. Mark sounds better than ever, and these are some of his finest compositions, improvisations, and interpretations.
O'Connor's performance of his musically inventive caprices is absolutely hair-raising. His improvised tracks range from pyrotechnic displays to forays into the blues to ghostly explorations of violin timbres. Additionally there is some beautiful guitar playing on this album. Star-Spangled Banner is incredible; Amazing Grace is stirring, and the traditional Midnight on the Water paired with Bonaparte's Retreat makes for a satisfying high point of the album.
The album was nicely produced; the recording sounds as though Mark is standing right in the room with you- Sony Classical obviously put a lot of money into producing this one. The liners are extensive, informative, and even artistic (a Vanderbilt University poet has contributed a poem for each improvisation).
If you like any kind of violin music, fiddle music, or just sheerly virtuosic music, this album's for you. Even people who say they don't usually like fiddle music have fallen in love with this album.
Doc Wallace
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Format: Audio CD
Listening to Mark O'Connor playing Midnight on the Water, I was certain I heard the Beloved. And, when it was over and I wasn't sure, I knew it to be so when Amazing Grace captured me. Mark O'Connor understandably speaks of Nicolo Paganini as his inspiration. I would suggest that Sir Paganini is dancing with the angels at this very moment listening to these *amazing O'Connor caprices.*
Comment 15 of 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
O'Connor's virtuoso fiddling on this album is truly remarkable. I've followed his career for nearly twenty years now, and his playing was never better than what is presented here. The caprices are pure genius, combining classical styled arpeggios with rock/jazz/blues based riffs with a little fiddling thrown in for good measure. He even uses the bouncing bow technique (spicatto) in a similar fashion to Paganini's first caprice.
The improvised pieces further display O'Connor's musical brilliance and creativity. Improvisation #4 showcases his mastery of harmonics (no, it's not an electric violin you're hearing) and exagerrated vibrato (fiddlers might call it a shake). The liner notes say that this piece was recorded in one take in a moment of inspiration. Unbelievable!
The weakest cuts on this album in my opinion are the guitar and mandolin/mandocello pieces. When I first saw O'Connor he was playing guitar for the David Grisman Quintet on Austin City Limits. I was dazzled by his ability as a flatpicking virtuoso. It was only after I began collecting DGQ albums and reading up on the members that I discovered that he was known more for his world class fiddling than his picking. Later he came out with the False Dawn album where he composed and performed all of the pieces from a selection of over a dozen instruments. The picking on Midnight On The Water fails to live up to the first class playing he did in the 80s, however. (If you ever get a chance to hear the DGQ album Quintet '80 which is out of publication, or the live DGQ album with Stephane Grappelli you'll hear O'Connor at his best on a Somogyi acoustic guitar). It seems to me that as his focus on pushing the envelope for the violin has increased his focus on the plucked instruments has diminished.
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Format: Audio CD
Mark O'Connor has long proved himself to be one the greatest and most talented violinists out there, but this affirms that even more. He is an honest virtuoso - when I hear these recordings I am torn between giving up playing (I play the viola - mostly classical though) because I feel I will never have the technical capabilities he has, or running to unpack my instrument and start practicing. He is amazing, and has shown himself again and again as an extremely talented violinist, guitarist, and composer. If you like fiddle music in the least, or never experienced any, then I would definitely recommend this! It is amazing what he showcases on this album.
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