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Mark O'Connor Caprice No. 1 on youtube


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Well firstly, thanks for the link. I visited youtube for the first

time 2 days ago and couldn't find anything useful.

This has now led me to all kinds of stuff...including Michael


I think one has to consider the type of fiddler that Mark is (it is

him playing?)......I have heard many famous players (live or

recorded, or sat in the Orchestra playing for them!). The fact that

my students play music arranged by O'Connor says a great deal about

the respect due, regardless of which side of the fence you




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For those of you who may not know,  O'Connor is the creme de

la creme of Country Music fiddlers. the equivalent of Menuhin and

Heifetz whipped together in a blender.  There is virtually

no-one in the business who would disagree.  He is also a

master of playing on pop tunes, behind & in-between a vocalist

(which is incredibly difficult to do well, esp while a studio clock

is ticking $$$)

However, his attempts at classical music have always left me a

little cold.  Puzzled, even.  He just always sounds like

a fiddler, somehow, and I agree with Ken that there is some

resemblance to Hann's sterility.

I'm also very surprised to see Mark missing many high notes in this

piece (imagine Heifetz playing the same thing)  because he is

usually dead-on.

If your interested in O'Connor's playing, his discography is

immense, but I'd recommend starting with any of the "Nashville

Cats" recordings. -That's where his heart truly lies, I think, and

where he is often at his most playful and forceful at the same


BTW - The guy's also a virtuoso guitarist.  How I

hate him!  (g)

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I'm thinking about the glorious long line of violinist composers -- Starting in the Baroque era with Corelli, Vivaldi, Tartini, Locatelli: on to the pre classical, Leclair, Nardini, on to the Classical, Viotti, Dancla: to the early romantic, Paganini, Spohr: the later Ronantics, Wieniawski, Vieuxtemps, Joachim, Sarasate, the early twentieth century, Ysaye, Kreisler.

And there the line seems to end. Kreisler was the last virtuoso-violinist-composer. And most of his compositions were written at least 75 years ago.

Could Mark O'Connor be the continuation of that line?

Of course, he isn't even close to Kreisler as a composer (or a violinist) but I dare say he's as good or better composer than some of the others such as Joachim and Ernst or Kreutzer or Accolay (if Accolay indeed ever existed.)

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You got to give Mark credit in that he has done a lot in bridging the gap between fiddling and classical violin and secondly he can play in so many styles fluently....whether it is classical, old time, Bluegrass, country, gypsy jazz, texas, celtic, swing, rock, cajun, he seemes to have no boundries. He is also very dedicated in promoting string music with his fiddle camps. He may not be my all time favorite in the classical world, but he definantly raised the bar for fiddlers. I can't think of another violinist/fiddler in my lifetime that has accomplished as much stylistic diveresity as Mark has.

David Blackmon

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Fiddler59: ...that has accomplished as much stylistic diveresity as

Mark has.

Right on!  I couldn't agree more.

Roy Sonne: Of course, he isn't even close to Kreisler as a composer

(or a violinist)...

Roy, sorry, but we don't see eye to eye there.  I think he's

very close to Kreisler in both areas.  O'Connor hasn't been

playing "straight" classical that long, I don't think.  If he

stays with it a few more years (doubtful? Mark O'C seems like a

fairly restless artist) I think he'll surpass Kreisler in playing

if not composing.

However, I heartily agree with you that Mark O'Connor is the

first really big composer/performer to come along since


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Originally posted by:
Roy Sonne


[ O'Connor hasn't been playing "straight" classical that long, I don't think.  

Hi Doc,

I'm not aware that Mark has ever played straight classical. If you know of any recordings or performances that he's done, I'd love to know about it.



Hi Roy! Ole gimpy here. ;-)

Mark would be the last person on the planet to say his playing is, was, or ever will be "straight classical." He prides himself on the melding of his fiddle playing into the classical genre. He's never even pretended that he's a classical violinist or plays like one. His joy is opening the people's eyes to the parallels of fiddle and classical styles. This is what his "classical" pieces accomplish. My personal favorite of all his "classical" pieces to date is The Fiddle Concerto. I just love it! His subseqent composition are good, but I've not heard any so far that I love as much as FC.

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