CD REVIEW: “PLEKTRA”
Plektra Mandolin Ensemble (with Stephen Lalor)
Reviewed by Robert Margo
Classical Mandolin Society of America, August Journal 2014.
Of the various mandolin cultures in the world, Australia’s is arguably closest to that in the United States. Plektra, a seven-member ensemble from Sydney, is the brainchild of Stephen Lalor, one of the leading lights of the mandolin scene down under (CMSA members who attended the recent convention in Minneapolis no doubt have fond memories of Plektra’s outstanding performances there).
All of the music on the CD is arranged or composed by Lalor. The playing is highly polished with (very) tight ensemble and beautiful sound throughout. Lalor’s music is immediately appealing — harmonically straightforward, highly melodic and rhythmic with a strong Russian influence (such as the first and third movements of the “Brisbane Suite,” a highlight of the CD).
Many mandolinists talk a world music game, but Lalor (and Plektra) walk the walk and play for keeps.