THE HARVEST HOME SUITE (Ungar/Mason orch. by Ellisor)
A musical voyage through the seasons on an American farm, from harvest to harvest.
Harvest celebrations affirming the strong connection between man and nature are found in all cultures around the world. The festival of Harvest Home, brought to America by European immigrants, is an age old event celebrating the bringing in of the last crops from the fields with music, dancing, feasting and revelry. It also includes the ritual of weaving the last sheaf of grain harvested into the shape of a woman, and saving it to be plowed into the first planting of Spring—thus connecting the end of one growing season and the beginning of another. Ungar and Mason endeavor to make that connection through music with each performance of HARVEST HOME SUITE.
A theme for the earth, suggesting ancient beginnings, Native peoples and the great mystery of the primal life force and fertility.
An early American Harvest Home celebration followed by a heartfelt hymn of Thanksgiving.
A return to the earth and stillness followed by a fertility dance, as nature’s deepest forces gather, awaiting the return of the sun and rebirth.
Life springs forth anew in the greening fields, the flowering orchards and the vast, verdant prairies.
The steady pace of summer’s endless labors continues and builds until yet another Harvest Home barn dance.
ASHOKAN FAREWELL (Ungar)
The haunting musical centerpiece of the Grammy Award winning soundtrack of Ken Burns’ PBS series The Civil War.
BONAPARTE’S RETREAT / HOEDOWN (Stepp /Copland)
A melding of Copland’sHoedown and the traditional Kentucky fiddle tune that inspired it, Bonaparte’s Retreat. Ungar developed his own set of variations on Bonaparte’s Retreat which combined with Copland’s Hoedown produce a uniquely American musical tour-de-force.
AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ (Waller/Razaf)
One of Fats Waller’s finest and best loved songs, with compelling 30s style vocal by Mason, hot swing fiddling by Ungar and a big-band orchestral arrangement.
ANCESTRAL DANCE (Ungar)
Composed for the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra under a grant from Meet the Composer, Ancestral Dance is a dance suite in two movements. The first develops a dark, foreboding, almost tormented Eastern European theme featuring Ungar and Mason on violin and piano. The second movement begins with a redemptive Celtic sounding pipe melody for clarinet and English horn followed by high energy fiddling with Ungar, Mason and the Orchestra.
THE BACKYARD SYMPHONY (Ungar)
A tribute to the outdoor jam session, Ungar teaches each section of the orchestra the basic Cajun two-step phrase, then launches into this lively piece featuring harmony singing and warmly humorous lyrics.
BROTHER’S KEEPER THEME
(Ungar) The atmospheric theme from Ungar and Mason’s soundtrack for the award-winning American Playhouse production, Brother’s Keeper.
CATSKILL CANTICO (Ungar/Mason)
Composed for the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra under a grant from Meet the Composer, Catskill Cántico incorporates four folk dance themes: The Robin Dance (Iroquois), The Mountain Ranger (19th century hornpipe), a big band blues, and Forest Flowers a beautiful waltz that, though Scandinavian in origin, sounds Mediterranean or Eastern European. Cántico— or Kintacoy — is a term borrowed by the first white settlers of the Catskills from their Indian predecessors to use as the name of a lively, uninhibited social gathering, marked by songs and dancing.
DEVIL’S DREAM (Trad.)
Melodic interest abounds when Ungar and Mason trade phrases with the orchestra on this traditional Celtic/American fiddle classic.
HARD TIMES COME AGAIN NO MORE (Foster)
Composed during a regional depression in the 1850s, Stephen Foster’s beautiful melody and poignant lyrics still speak clearly to us today.
HITS OF THE SIXTIES—1860s that is! (Work/Root/Emmett/Howe)
Four of the most stirring melodies of the Civil War, featuring Ungar’s and Mason’s instrumental skills on fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar and piano, and culminating in a rousing orchestral finish. TITLES: Kingdom Coming; Battle Cry of Freedom; Dixie; Battle Hymn of the Republic.
THE KING OF WESTERN SWING (Wills)
Three classics from Bob Wills, The King of Western Swing, featuring Ungar’s hot fiddling, Mason’s sweet singing with Western Swing-style fiddling from the violin section sparkling brass, winds and percussion. TITLES: Faded Love; A Maiden’s Prayer; Rose of San Antone.
THE LOVERS’ WALTZ (Ungar/Mason)
Ungar & Mason’s second most requested composition, this piece is the title cut of the duo’s CD of the same name (Angel Records).