Mark O’Connor releases “Americana Symphony”

Mark O’Connor releases “Americana Symphony”

Mark O’Connor’s “Americana Symphony” has been released on CD (OMAC Records B001R4KQKC) US$12.98 and in mp3 (256kbps) US$9.91 at Amazon.

Mark O'Connor: Americana Symphony

The band is the Baltimore Symphony, led by Marin Alsop, with Mr. O’Connor on violin- or should I say fiddle?

What a joy is this “Americana Symphony”. It is big, brassy, brash, lots of crescendos. If one looks for sources or inspiration for Mr. O’Connor, don’t look to Copland or Bernstein. Maybe Ives? But here I could be corrected, I do not know Ives that well. Rather, What I heard was the influence of Mr. Holland.

I think that for some listeners the sub-title, “Variations on Appalachia Waltz” might be off-putting, implying more of the same, based upon his previous work of that name.This is definitely not more of the same. This is great new Mark O’Connor.

Mark O'Connor: Appalaccian Waltz

I started with Mark O’Connor’s “Appalachian Journey” at first on stereo video tape from a video presentation at WNET, NY. I saw Mr O’Connor, Yo-Yo-Ma, Edgar Meyer, James Taylor and, for the first time, Alison Krauss.

I bought the CD. Then I bought the prior release, “Appalachian Waltz”. All well and good. What put Mr. O’Connor on my map for good was the “Fiddle Concerto”. Finally, I bought “The American Seasons”, and “Fanfare For The Volunteer”. Especially in “Fiddle Concerto”, I felt that I was listening to a mature composer of serious “classical” music, whatever that term means.

Mark O'Connor: The Fiddle Concerto

Except for WNYC, Mr. O’Connor has been ill-treated by Public Radio. The Appalachian titled works are seen as light weight. The other three works are seen as “classical crossover”. Is this the dim bulb nature of music programming in PubRadioLand? Actually, one day at work, I was streaming WPRB and heard a bit of O’Connor. I called up- you can call the on air folks at WPRB- and praised the host for being brave. She giggled and promised more. But…

At Amazon, you can listen to bits of each track. I recommend this music.

Mark O'Connor: Appalachian Journey