ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Music from the Novels of Louis de Bernieres
WORKS: Music by Vivaldi, Hummel, Giuliani, Villa-Lobos, Lauro, Barrios,
PERFORMER: Craig Ogden (guitar)Alison Stephens (mandolin)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9780
Nothing surpasses rush-hour train travel if you want to get a fix on the nation’s reading habits. Having seen Louis de Bernieres’s phenomenally successful novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin being avidly scanned by legions of captivated commuters, I felt duty bound to try it myself. This spin-off Chandos recording, brainchild of guitarist Craig Ogden, will delight those who’ve read the book already, but should prove just as enticing even if you haven’t yet succumbed.
Captain Corelli is no mean mandolinist; he practises diligently, and entertains his friends with impromptu concerts which (as those who’ve read the novel will attest) can sometimes be infuriating. Alison Stephens clearly loves this virtually obsolete instrument (for which Mahler, strangely enough, found a place in two of his symphonies), and plays it with a passion and flair that Corelli himself would doubtless have relished. Her dexterity, particularly in original works for the instrument by Benedetto Persichini and Raffaele Calace, and in the more familiar Vivaldi and Hummel concertos, impresses even when the music itself doesn’t amount to much. Craig Ogden’s accounts of guitar pieces by Barrios, Romero, Villa-Lobos and others, are equally good. In sum, great entertainment, and a must for all de Bernieres devotees. Michael Jameson