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Subject: Mark O'Connor
From: "Mr. Paul Wells" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Irish Traditional Music List <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 18 May 1994 09:58:13 -0500

text/plain (33 lines)

> Paul sez:
> >No Irish or Scottish styles attempted, though.  Interesting that O'Connor
> >has never, to my knowledge, ventured into Celtic waters.
>      Ach, you should have come down the road a bit to the Panoply festival
>      in Huntsville (AL) this last weekend.  Mark put on a spectacular
>      performance including excerpts from some of his "commissioned" suites,
>      one of which (if I remember right) is called "Strings and Threads."
>      It documents (musically) the progression of traditional fiddle styles
>      in America from the early (Irish) immigrants to Be-bop.  The first few
>      minutes of this piece is in quite the Celtic style and you can hear
>      the Celtic influence on the other styles as he takes it along.  He did
>      call attention to his surname and mentioned his "Irish" roots.
>      As a fiddle virtuoso, I'm sure Mark wouldn't have any trouble with
>      just about anything, however, I found his playing too ornamented, too
>      fast.  The few trad. tunes he played (eg. Bonapart's Retreat) were
>      given the full "O'Connor" treatment, thus, flashy, double speed, 140
>      note turns ;-), etc.  I'd like to hear him play these tunes in the
>      "proper" manner, as he has such a beautiful feel for the instrument
>      and coaxes the "purest" sounds out...if he had played a proper
>      Irish/Scottish "slow air" I don't think I could have stood it.
Ahha!  I stand corrected.  Would like to hear him try some straight
renditions of Celtic tunes.  Someone else reminded me that he did some
work with the Chieftains when they appeared on TNN's "American Music
Shop" (for which Mark leads the house band) a couple years back.
Paul Wells

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