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festival programmes & recordings

London Mandolin Orchestra's Seventh Festival 2015

Blissfully Baroque Logo
Throughout eighteenth century Europe the mandolin enjoyed the limelight as a fashionable instrument of the day. Music teachers rushed to publish manuals on how to play this versatile and beautiful instrument and a rich repertoire of music was composed for it. Fast forward 150 years and it once again became the focus of intense popularity thanks to innumerable mandolin and guitar orchestras which sprang up across Great Britain and Europe. This tradition continued to the present day in Europe, but only in recent decades has much been done to revive interest in the mandolin in Britain. In this year's Festival concert we unite the modern concept of the mandolin and guitar orchestra with music from the golden age of the baroque mandolin. We hope you enjoy this concert.

London Mandolin Orchestra

Carlo Cecere
(1706 - 1761) arr. Reiner Stutz
Sonata in F major

Allegro . Largo . Allegro
An Italian composer, violinist, mandolinist and flautist, who worked in Naples. In addition to opera buffa he composed many instrumental works, including a concerto for mandolin. This sonata was composed for two Neapolitan mandolins and basso continuo. The mandolins played in this concert derive from their tradition of four pairs of strings, tuned in 5ths like a violin.
Emanuele Barbella
(1718 - 1777) arr. Frances Taylor
Concerto for Mandolin in D Major

Allegro ma non presto . Andantino . Giga Allegro
A friend of Charles Burney and William Hamilton, it is believed Barbella spent time in London during the 1760s as some of his works were first published here. His compositions for the Neapolitan mandolin are among the most beautiful from its baroque repertoire.
Giuseppe Paolucci
(1726 - 1776) arr. Reiner Stutz
Sonata in G Major

Allegro . Andantino . Allegro
Famous for his treatise The Practical Art of Counterpoint, he was chapel master at Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice and later at San Francesco in Assisi. He composed this sonata for two mandolins and continuo, but for the Milanese/Lombardo mandolin which has six pairs of strings, tuned in 3rds and 4ths.
George Handel
(1685 - 1759) arr. Frances Taylor
Music for the Royal Fireworks

Bourree . La Paix . La Rejouissance . Menuet 1 . Menuet 2
This was commissioned by George II to accompany a firework display that took place in London on 27 April 1749. Originally performed by 24 oboes, 12 bassoons, a contrabassoon, 9 natural trumpets, 9 horns and 3 kettle drums, Handel rescored it for a full orchestra to perform on 27 May at the Foundling Hospital. This piece will be performed jointly with the Mandolin Orchestra of Devon.

Mandolin Orchestra of Devon

The Mandolin Orchestra of Devon or MOoD is a small friendly group of plucked string enthusiasts who gather from across Devon and parts of Cornwall once a month to play together. The repertoire covered varies from classical mandolin music to baroque, folk and contemporary compositions. MOoD is a relatively new ensemble but highlights so far have included playing in Exeter Cathedral and at the British Banjo, Mandolin and Guitar Federation's Rally in Bristol in 2014.
Turlough O'Carolan
(1670 - 1738) arr. Simon Mayer

This is one of over two hundred tunes and songs by the blind Irish harpist and composer to have survived from this period.
Matt Norman

River Ockment

Composed for the Mandolin Orchestra of Devon, this piece evokes the river at Okehampton where the players rehearse.
Johnson's Two Hundred Favourite Country Dances
, Vol. 8, 1758 arr. Matt Norman

John Johnson was a publisher based in London during the mid 1700s. In addition to issuing sets of 24 country dances each year, he published an 8 volume set containing 1600 dances in total.
William Drew
(c.1638 - unknown) arr. Matt Norman
Almaines and Coranto

Little is known about Drew. These dances are from a set of three manuscript partbooks, dating from the mid 17th century, of courtly dance tunes by a number of different composers.
The Henry Atkinson Manuscript
, 1694 arr. Matt Norman
HA 187

This piece is from a manuscript of over 200 fiddle tunes notated by Northumbrian Atkinson and his family from 1694 onwards.
Antonio Vivaldi
(1678 - 1741) arr. Matt Norman
Concerto for Strings in D major RV.121

1st movement . Allegro
Vivaldi composed over 500 concertos. He is the composer who has become most popularly associated today with the baroque mandolin via his fine concertos for solo and double mandolin.