Brian Oberlin | Capriccio Fantastico

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Capriccio Fantastico

by Brian Oberlin

Italian Classical Solo Mandolin
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Valzer Fantastico
6:05 $0.99
2. Capriccio #5
2:23 $0.99
3. Notturno
2:14 $0.99
4. Costumi Siciliani
3:15 $0.99
5. Santa Lucia
2:27 $0.99
6. Capriccio #6
2:49 $0.99
7. Polka Studio
4:47 $0.99
8. Melodie
4:24 $0.99
9. Piccola Gavotta
3:31 $0.99
10. Piccola Gavotta Bruciacchiata
3:41 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Fresh air to the old masterpieces...Highly recommended. Complimenti!" - Carlo Aonzo

"A most admirable job...lovely as the bay of Naples... Bravo!" - Evan Marshall

Like most of my mandolin projects in the last ten years, this collection of music came as a sudden vision and challenge. Capriccio Fantastico - composition in a free style, whimsical, and fantastic! This phrase sums up my feelings and approach to this project that began in April, 2011.

For many Americans, playing old mandolin music means early to mid 20th century music: ragtime, blues, early swing and pop, and maybe even bluegrass. In contrast, and the attraction for me, the music on this CD represents the roots of mandolin - 200 years old and Italian. Excluding Tchaikovsky's Melodie and Piccola Gavotta Bruciacchiata (imagine Jethro Burns and Raffaele Calace drinking a half-rack of Old Style beer and jamming), all of this music was written for solo or accompanied mandolin between 1750 and 1900.

Not being trained in the art of classical mandolin repertoire, I take a scientific, step-by-step approach by notating the music and making improvements to my arrangement and, likewise, my own techniques. The music may have a ferocious and aggressive forte passage and then a beautiful and gentle piano passage, all the while using right and left-hand techniques that are rarely, if ever, used in American mandolin playing. Reared in the genres of bluegrass and swing, I arranged this music so the performance sounds authentic, but, also, fits my playing style. I felt I was on the right track when I read the liner notes of Vladimir Horowitz's penultimate album from 1989, Horowitz at Home:

"Classical, Romantic, Modern, Neo-Romantic! These Labels may be convenient for musicologists, but they have nothing to do with composing or performing. I cannot name a single great composer of any period who did not possess "romantic" qualities. Isn't, then, all music romantic? Music is the expression of feelings... style and form change, but not the basic human emotions... All my life, I have considered music of all periods Romantic... The notation of a composer is a mere skeleton that the performer must endow with flesh and blood... An audience does not respond to intellectual concepts, only to the communication of feelings". - Horowitz

*Note 1* - Brian has self published a book that contains the sheet music for this album. Contact Brian directly to purchase this book.

*Note 2* - A PDF of the album's artwork and liner notes is available (for free) for purchasers of digital downloads. Contact Brian directly.

Enjoy this music and thank you so much - Brian Oberlin July 7, 2014



to write a review

Joe Ross (Roots Music Report)

A very smooth, relaxing listen, with strong affirmation of the historic roots of
The Italian mandolin may have descended from such 10th century instruments as the Ud from Arabic lands, and following centuries saw such European instruments as the lute, quintern, chitarra, pandora, colascione and others appear on the scene. In the 18th and 19th centuries, developments in construction led to the successful mandolin. In the 1830s, luthier Pasquale Vinaccia redesigned a mandolin with eight strings (or four courses tuned in fifths like a violin) that was played with a tortoiseshell plectrum instead of a quill.
Brian Oberlin is a master mandolinist, and he taps into the instrument’s Italian roots. All of the music on “Cappricio Fantastico” was written for solo or accompanied mandolin between 1750 - 1900. At tracks 2 and 5, Oberlin offers tunes that may have been heard in an 18th century parlor in Naples. “Capriccio #5” and “Capriccio #6” were composed by Pietro Denis (1720-1790). Presumably, all of the pieces on Oberlin’s album of Italian classical solo mandolin eventually found their way to America by the late 1800s as Italians emigrated to this country, especially around New York.
For scintillating sounds using the duo style, I especially enjoyed “Santa Lucia” and “Melodie.” Oberlin also frequently plays the beautifully soothing lullaby “Notturno” in his live performances, with a nod to the hip name of its composer, Constantino Bertucci. I was very happy to see Oberlin close the album with two works from Raffaele Calace, a composer whom I was somewhat familiar. Raffaele (and his brother Niccolo) both received sound musical educations at the Naples Conservatorie of Music, and their compositions rank among the finest for mandolin. Raffaele’s compositions include several fine solos for mandolin with piano, and Oberlin certainly rises to the challenge of presenting them totally solo.
The eclectic Brian Oberlin is simply one of the most happening mandolin players at present. When playing swing or jazz, he grooves. On “Capriccio Fantastico,” we appreciate his technical accomplishment and mastery of the instrument with renditions that incorporate clarity, tone and dynamics. Oberlin’s tasteful rendering of these melodies make for a very smooth, relaxing listen, along with strong affirmation of the historic roots of the instrument. (Joe Ross)