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festival programmes & recordings

Fourth London Mandolin Festival 2012

Nice and Easy Logo
The theme for the Fourth London Mandolin Festival on 20 May 2012 was Nice & Easy and involved a light-hearted musical journey which we hoped would guarantee a smile. All works were performed by the combined mandolin orchestra unless otherwise specified.
Michelle Nelson

Zupf Earth

Nelson is a teacher, composer and performer, equally at home on both classical and electric guitars. She was guitar leader in the Melbourne Mandolin Orchestra. Anna Langley, our principal mandolinist, requested Nelson to write this piece for a mass orchestra during her stay in Cambridge. This piece will be premiered in the UK at the 2012 LMF concert.
Ernest Gillet
(1856 - 1940)
Loin du Bal
(Echoes of the Ball)

A dramatic and beautiful waltz common in the London BMG ensemble repertoire. With Under Sydney Skies, LMO performed these two pieces in the biennial 2012 British BMG Federation rally held in March. Gillet was a french cellist and composer. This work was originally written for bowed string orchestra (with violins) but transfers well to plucked string orchestra.
Konrad Wolki
(1904 - 1983)
Suite No. 2 for Plucked String Orchestra
Music for Light Celebration

Wolki is a German composer from Berlin. Wolki wrote many works for mandolin in three different periods - symphonic writing in the 20s including winds and percussion, a neo-classical period from the mid 30s and then modernizing from the 50s. This piece was written during Wolki's neo classical period in 1937 where he wrote lighter pieces and differentiated the use of tremolo and detached notes.
Robert Schulz
(1950 - )

Anna Langley and Catherine Taylor on Mandolin and Stelios Christodoulou on Guitar
Shulz is founder and conductor of the West Australian Mandolin Orchestra (WAMO). Divertimento from italian means to amuse where the mood is lighthearted. The trio performed this piece at the British BMG Federation rally held last March and won 3rd place.
Valentin Roeser
(1735 - 1782)
Sonata 6 - 'A Grand Orchestre'

Roeser was a German composer and clarinettist. A stately piece played in the baroque style.
Georg Matthias Monn
(1717 - 1750)
Symphonia in G Major

Monn was an Austrian, composer, organist and music teacher. Monn was part of a school of Austrian composers forcing the change from the complex and showy Baroque style to the looser, graceful and simpler Galante music.
John Peterson
(1957 - )
Under Sydney Skies
(On Crests of Waves)

A contemporary piece commissioned by the Federation of Australasian Mandolin Ensembles (FAME) for first performance by the combined mandolin orchestra at the International Mandolin Festival held in Sydney 6 - 13 January 2008. Peterson’s music generally reflects his interest in tonal idioms as well as the energy and rhythmic propulsion inherent in many popular music styles. We first performed this in 2009 and are playing it again at the popular request of the players
Orlando Gough
(1953 - )
Traditional Values, Movement 1 - The Kettle is the Answer

Gough was commissioned to compose this piece for Making Music specifically for the Olympic Games and has been made available to all Making Music groups. At the 2012 British BMG Federation rally in March, the mass orchestra event brought together players from all over the UK to be part of the official premiere. The Kettle is the Answer is a fun piece mocking the British favourite drink - tea. Orlando Gough is an Oxford educated British composer and has been commissioned to compose several choir and orchestral works.
Alfonso Montes
(1955 - )
Preludio de Adios

Amy Bowles on guitar
Montes was born in Venezuela and studied music in Caracas and London. His music is deeply in the Venezuelan tradition but influenced by his time in England and Germany. Preludio de Adios is a very light yet haunting piece. As well as performing, Bowles teaches guitar at several schools and colleges.
Bruno Szordikowski
(1944 - )
Celtic Fairies - A Celtic Suite

The arranger, Bruno Szordikowski is a classical guitar composer and guitar teacher at the Mälheim school of music in Germany. This piece is a collection of well known morris dancing tunes including La Portsmouth, Sailors Hornpipe, King of the Fairies, and Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye. This is a chance to get up and dance or sing along to a mandolin orchestra.
Wilhelm Mohr
(1904 - 1989)
Die Specknerin - Old English Dances to the Sound of
Anna Barbara Speckners Cembalo

As the name suggests, this piece is a collection of Old English Contradances inspired by the musical style of cembalo player Anna Barbara Speckner. The pieces are not specifically named. We are performing movements I, II, IV, V, VI, IX and XII.
BMG Federation Newsletter’s review, by Chris Porter, of the London Mandolin Orchestra’s 2012 Festival Concert

This year's concert presented a balanced programme of music which was great fun to listen to, and certainly looked fun to play. One highlight was the premiere of Zupferde by Australian composer Michelle Nelson, a lovely composition served well by the orchestra under Steve Smith's leadership. There was a lot to enjoy, beautifully controlled tremolo swells, a great moment where the double bass picks up the tune, and very light and accurate solo interjections from first mandolin.

Throughout, the players created a light sound that filled the church, and showcased some very tight playing from all sections in performances of light classical and neo-classical pieces such as Konrad Wolki's Music for Light Celebration. I heard audience members talking about the wonderful mandolin orchestra, and of course mandolincentrics like me can easily forget that it is no such thing; the middle section of the orchestra – guitars and mandolas – always provide a backbone to the music. In this context it was nice to see the guitar showcased a few times.

A wonderful trio of players from the Moonlight Mandolins performed Robert Schulz's Divertimento, with Stelios Christodoulou on guitar and Anna Langley and Catherine Taylor on mandolin. This pretty piece showed just how well the guitar and mandolin combine to produce captivating music. Amy Bowles then played Alfonso Montes' Preludio de Adios, a performance that poured a light and haunting melody over the audience.

The orchestra's rendition of Georg Monn's Symphonia in G Major symphonic; they played together powerfully and created a sound that belied both the size of the orchestra and instruments. As a final ‘pre-encore’ piece, the suite of Celtic tunes by Bruno Szordikowski was well chosen and given a lively rendition; if the audience is clapping along it's usually a good sign.

This was a wonderfully entertaining concert from an orchestra that will go from strength to strength, and is a tribute to the commitment of all concerned; well done, I will see you next year!