Originally released in 1992 Winter With Mandolins is always popular at this time of the year.
Features Russian style massed mandolins (‘Christmas Candle’), Celtic inspired arrangements (‘I Saw Three Ships’), highly evocative Basque and Provencal carols, music from Handel’s ‘Royal Fireworks’ and Simon’s own compositions.
Stunning contributions from guests Alan Whetton on soprano saxophone and Brendan Power’s harmonica complete this superb album.
The Instruments: The mandolin, mandola and mandocello used on this recording are modern instruments built, essentially, like their violin family cousins. They incorporate carved tops and backs, bass bars (but no sound posts) and a scale length longer than the traditional Italian round-back.
The design originated in early 20th century America, originally as a classical instrument for the mandolin orchestras hugely popular at this time. Their use later spread to bluegrass and country music. While the round-back has a delicate, harpsichordal quality, the tone of the modern instrument has more of the bloom of the classical guitar, although the strings are metal.
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‘I Saw Three Ships’: