Contemporary North American Repertoire
On A Recent European Tour
Geissen, Concert at Weilburg
The next day saw the PMO saying heart-felt good-byes to our host families and departing by chartered bus for a visit with the Giessener Zupforchester 'Neapolita" in Giessen, somewhat north of Stuttgart. This visit was arranged by Udo Schon, who is known to many in the US for his several visits to the CMSA annual conventions and his abiding interest in traditional American mandolin playing. The Giessener Zupforchester is led by the talented guitarist Thomas Schfer. The group has recently celebrated their 75th anniversary with a series of concerts featuring works by Konrad Wolki, Armin Kaufman, Dieter Kriedler, and even our own Anthony Kaye's 'Honeysuckle Halfstep.'
Several members of this group joined us for our concert in the beautifully restored ballroom of the 'Kommedianbau' in the ancient walled city of Weilburg. This room, which measured roughly 80' by 30', with high arched ceilings, a polished floor, and a raised wooden stage, proved to be the ideal acoustic situation for our mandolin orchestra. In fact, at one point that evening, during a particularly profound fortissimo passage, I was convinced that this group was the LOUDEST mandolin orchestra on the planet (at that moment, anyway!).
The Weilburg concert, which was enthusiastically received by the public in attendance, consisted of Statman's ';Flatbush Waltz,' with eloquent soloing by concertmaster Josh Bell, Ulierte's 'Suite Espanola,' Debussy's 'Clair de Lune,' and to close the first half, Netsky's 'Chagall's Mandolin,' the passion and intensity of which were not lost on the audience. For the second half, we presented Hartford's highly rhythmic 'Cornflakes 14' and the full three-movement 'Walnut Valley Suite' by Greybill. 'Sky Colored Lake,' 'Family Squabble', and Dieter Kreidler's 'Rumba' made good closing material. Our 'Pedra Terra' with its evocative Brazilian jungle noises provided the encore for this enthusiastic audience.
Munich / Luxembourg / Strasbourg