What the Media have to Say...
For starters in the very late 1920s it was an unknown genre which became known as “Hill Billy” music, from there to “Country and Western”, until the “Western” was dropped, and it became, “Country Music”. From this, a number of new sub-genres were spawned, “Country Rock”, “Alternative Country”, “Country Blues”, and a whole lot more. The merging of Country and classical music was never even considered until Marcus Holden made it all happen. His own special arrangements, with the addition of banjo, Dobro and assorted guitar sounds usually associated with country music create a brand new sound. Throw in fiddle and mandolin riffs, and the country, folk sound is further enhanced. Works by Puccini, Bach, and other great masters are featured, along with other traces of melodies that Marcus Holden remembers from his childhood, are entwined to form “new” tracks as well. I must admit I have never ranked classical music as my favourite form of music, but this would have to rank as one of the most relaxing CDs I have ever encountered and this includes some tracks which could almost fall into the “Bluegrass” category. His previous album which was released a couple of years ago, “Cicadas and Roses”, broke down whatever barriers my somewhat feeble brain had erected around classical music, and this one has followed suit. I suppose this album could best be described as Marcus Holden's, “Musical meanderings” as he puts his own stamp on all of the fifteen tracks. It carries the title of “The Brolga”. A glass or two or your favourite red, a good stereo, a comfortable chair and “The Brolga” and you've got it made. (Twang Talk, Burt Everett, Dec 2016, News Mail)
Marcus always comes up with something new, refreshing and very interesting. (Bob Cady, Highland FM)
(Judy Baker, ArtSound FM) s
Now that is what I call music! What an artist! He is brilliant.
(Merle Scott, Sweet FM)
Marcus has come up with a fascinating album by offering his own interpretation of some familiar melodies (familiar even to a folkie like me). He always seems to give a strongly individual twist to whatever music he's playing ... and it works. The album cover is gorgeous as well. Warren Fahey said to me once: "Ah, Marcus is a force to be reckoned with" and that he is. (Bruce Cameron, 'Come All Ye', 2MCE Bathurst)
We just dropped in to let you know that Marcus Holden's CD " The Brolga " has arrived safe and will be added to our programs. Great tracks and should do good things for Marcus.
(Joy and Pejay, Country Roads)
It's a great album.
(David Milne, Huon FM)
Great album --- Find it just so relaxing ---- Will put some tracks to air next week, and will review it in one of my columns in the next few weeks.
(Burt Everett, BUNDABERG GUARDIAN / 94.7 Coral Coast Community Radio)
‘Cicadas & Roses’
Marcus Holden has not exactly rushed into this. For four decades the violinist and multi-instrumentalist has been a fixture on Australia's music scene, yet this is the first album under his own name. He uses it to revisit classical pieces he studied as a young violin student, reverse-engineering them into the folksy, countryish, slightly jazzy idioms in which he has built his career. Purists coming from the classical perspective may loathe the imposition of grooves and improvising, and perhaps some rusted on to the roots aesthetic may find one or two pieces too twee. But put prejudice aside and what you have is a collection of gorgeous melodies by Faure, Handel, Paginini, Bach and more played with a charming naivety. Rimsky-Korsakoff's Song of India, Elgar's Salut d'Amour and Grieg's Anitra's Dance work particularly well; the Bach and Vivaldi less so. Holden ropes in a few colleagues while playing a van-load of bowed and fretted instruments himself.
(John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald)
What do you say about an artist who has appeared in over five hundred recordings and plays all bowed string instruments, mandolin, guitar, banjo, piano, qin, cittern, tenor guitar, dobro, and the musical saw.
He also does percussion!
I think I hate him!
Marcus is a member of Mic Conway's National Junk Orchestra, Jugalong String Band and Fiddler's Feast.
He is also the director of the Golden Fiddle Awards.
Obviously Marcus is a musical genius and prepared to share his knowledge and considerable musical ability and make music fun and it shows in this CD.
Marcus has compiled a CD of classical music to which he sometimes adds a personal twist.
He is ably supported by Raimondo Fioravanti (guitar), Garry Steel (accordion, piano), Elsen Price (double bass) and Andrew Toner (guitar synthesizer).
I loved the CD from the moment I began listening and it continues to provide further enjoyment the more I listen to it.
The opening 'Berceuse' by Gabriel Faure is a wonderful violin piece that is just so easy to listen to.
My favorite track was the second one, Handel's 'Allegro in F major'.
I am not sure Handel ever expected it to be played in a slightly reggae style but I defy you to listen and not be tapping your feet.
The 'Dolores Waltz' is quite a mournful melody that suits Marcus's viola playing perfectly.
Paganini's 'Caprice No 24' is another catchy turn played to perfection.
Marcus shows his skill on the mandolin in a beautiful rendition of 'Siciliene' from the Romantic Period.
This would make superb backing track to any movie set in a rustic vineyard in Sicily.
Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Song of India' is given an oriental touch at the beginning.
Once again this track is just beautiful to listen to.
Bach's 'Brandenburg Concerto in G Major, 3rd Movement' was another favorite track.
'Danse Macabre' by Saint Saens is again a different type of track with great guitar work.
Elgar's Salut D'Amor is one of those tracks you would love to listen to sitting in front of an open fire with a glass of your favorite beverage in your hand.
Another track that really intrigued me was 'Sympathetic Jasper' which gives the tune a Scott Joplin ragtime treatment.
The piano in this is great to listen to.
Grieg's 'Anitra's Dance' from 'The Hall of the Mountain King' suite is another interesting lnterpretatlon of a well known piece.
Vivaldi's 'Winter from the Four Seasons' was a wonderful penultimate track, again just so beautifully rendered and such easy listening.
Just to show those old composers that he can do it too, Marcus completes the CD with his own composition 'To Say Goodbye’.
It certainly holds up in that company and is another lovely track to just sit and enjoy.
I can’t recommend this CD highly enough.
I wish all young people could hear it as an introduction to classical music.
I loved it.
(John Williams, Trad & Now, July 2014)
Trad & Now Review (PDF Format)
Whilst quite outside my comfort zone, I really love this album.
(Warren Fuller, 2NUR)
A great album!
(Lorraine Pftizner, 2YOU)
Thanks for sending your beautiful music to Artsound. It is a pleasure to share it with listeners.
(Jeannie McLellan, Artsound FM)
"Beautifully crafted and presented, Holden’s ‘ownership’ of the classics recorded is amazing!"
(Tony Bates, 3MDR)
Marcus Holden’s best known in country circles as a fiddle player, having been involved in numerous projects, including the Fiddlers Feast and the Golden Fiddle Awards. But Marcus is also an accomplished classical violinist, and his new album draws on that as much as his folk and country sensibility. This is an exquisite album, which takes some of the great musical classics and brings them back to their roots, with a simpler, more folk sensibility that works beautifully. This album is stripped back and organic, but at the same time it conveys the subtleties of these timeless tunes in a warm, accessible way. My favourites included Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto In G Major, the ethereal Winter from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, the gentle Salut D’Amor and Marcus’s own wonderful composition, To Say Goodbye. Other standouts are Sicilienne and Song Of India. Marcus’s playing is superb, as is that of fellow musicians Raimondo Fioravanti, Garry Steel, Andrew Toner and Elsen Price. This album is a gorgeous, rich musical tapestry that is a sheer joy to listen to.
(Susan Jarvis, Country Music Capital News)
Country Music Capital News Review (PDF Format)
(Helen Bath, 99.9 Voice FM)
Another very interesting CD – Marcus Holden never fails to deliver something different!
(Bob Cady, Highland FM 107.1)
(Carol Lucas, 2Bobradio 104.7FM)
Whatever genre Cicadas & Roses is classified as, the musical works are brilliant. The release just shows the professionalism of Marcus as a Master a true musician.
(Raymond Phillips, Country Harvest)
(Burt Everett, Bundaberg Guardian)
Very impressed with the creative skills of all involved
(Tony ‘Slinga’ Slingsby, 5GTR FM MT.GAMBIER SA)