"Pure quality from a cimbalom supremo--prepare to be hammered"
"an inspired set of instrumentals from Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Ukraine....beautifully rendered and seemingly improvised on the spot"
The cimbalom of Central and Eastern Europe, a large hammered dulcimer that demands extraordinary technical skill, is both a virtuosic solo concert instrument and source of the harmonic density and glistening color effects characteristic of Gypsy ensembles and village dances in lands around the Carpathian mountains. Alexander Fedoriouk, one of Ukraine's greatest cimbalom players, is featured here performing fiery dances and delicate showpieces from Romania, Hungary and western Ukraine with an ensemble of top Eastern European instrumentalists.
Features the group Harmonia and guest violinist Vasyl Heker!
Notes include a history of the cimbalom, from the migration of Gypsies into Eastern Europe in the 14th century to the rural weddings and urban cafes of the present.
Alexander Fedoriouk: cimbalom, buben, drymba
Marko Dreher: violin, viola
Vasyl Heker: violin
Walt Mahovlich: accordion, clarinet
Paul Morrissett: bass
Catalin Petrescu: bass
Andrei Pidkivka: sopilka, nai, tylynka, fujara
Gheorghe Trambitas: taragot, saxophone
1. Geamparalele tsambalul
2. Veselo se divca/Bereznianka
3. Romanian Figura
4. Karpatski nahravannia
5. In Memoriam Soproni Tendl Pal
7. Mai neicuta mai gorjene
8. Sârba de concert
9. Hutsulka z Kolomyii
10. Sanie cu zurgalai
11. Briul pe opt
12. Sârba lui Pompieru
13. Cânta cucul primavara
14. Ca la Breaza
Reviews of The Art of the Cimbalom
"The cimbalom, a huge, heavy, intransigent hammered dulcimer, difficult to play, tune and simply cart around, has against all the odds become one of the most widespread instruments of central European folk music, although for some reason it has not ventured much south of the Danube or west of the Vltava. Fortunately for us, some of its players have. Even more fortunately, one of them is Ukrainian Alexander Fedoriouk, who is beautifully recorded here with a talented bunch of exiles and second-generation immigrants to the US.
According to the sleeve notes, which are literate, informative and a reliable joy to read, Fedoriouk started playing his instrument at the age of six, at weddings and then in the Conservatory. It shows. Not only does he have a complete command of the instrument, even at lightning speed, but he also controls the most subtle graduations of tone and timbre, and knows how and when to strut in front of the band and when to offer space to the other musicians, all without exception of high standard.
The choice of material is pretty wide, some of it very familiar, some less so, but it focuses on Romania and western Ukraine. It's dignified, it's graceful, it's thoughtful and detailed, and it's very beautiful. It also displays an undemonstrative passion--which is very welcome these days."
"The hammered dulcimer is a descendant of the cimbalom, which apparently first appeared in the ancient Middle East. Listeners familiar with Gypsy or other Eastern European music will know this marvelous instrument as the anchor of ensembles in which fiddles usually take the melodic lead. In fact, even on a disc on which the cimbalom is the focus there is plenty of excellent violin work to the fore, not that anyone should complain. Fedoriouk displays an effortless virtuosity achieved through years of study of classical and various folk approaches, and he can do things on his instrument that are really breathtaking....This extremely rewarding disc is enhanced by liner notes as well-written as they are informative."
Amazon.com Editorial Reviews:
"The cimbalom is a hammered dulcimer consisting of metal strings set on bridges over a trapezoid-shaped sound box. The concert version of the instrument, which is heard here, encompasses 4 and a half octaves and can mimic a piano, harpsichord, balalaika, or harp. The instrument has existed for a millennium, spreading West from Byzantium with itinerant Roma (Gypsy) bands, where it became a favorite with klezmer (Jewish) musicians, and Eastern European cafe orchestras. It is fiendishly difficult to play but in the hands of a great technician, it offers breathless rhythms, rib-shaking resonances, and an affinity for transmitting impassioned melody. Alexander Fedoriouk is conservatory trained but grew up in the frenzied dances and wild, primal laments of the Carpathian Mountains. Accompanied by fiddle, percussion, plus panpipes and other woodwinds, he performs an inspired set of instrumentals from Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Ukraine. All are beautifully rendered and seemingly improvised on the spot."