WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Mathias, Ginastera: Harp Concertos / Hobson Pilot, Jackson

Release Date: 06/28/1994 
Label:  Koch International Classics Catalog #: 7261   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  William MathiasAlberto Ginastera
Performer:  Anne Hobson Pilot
Conductor:  Isaiah Jackson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 50 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This disc is a delightful discovery. My previous encounters with William Mathias's music led me to classify it as pleasant enough but not encouraging of repetition. Now I need to go back to those Nimbus recordings to find out whether my taste has matured, or whether this harp concerto really does stand out among his works. First performed in 1970 by Osian Ellis, a Welshman like the composer, it is an economically and transparently scored work which avoids tired harp clichés in its impressionistic depiction of the Welsh countryside and psyche. The harp frequently is combined with the celesta and other pitched percussion instruments in an appealing way. The first two movements seem like night pieces—the first delicate, and the second Read more tougher with its repeated motive for timpani—and the final movement is a reticent jig that never quite comes out into the broad daylight.

I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't encountered Ginastera's concerto until now. It's a hotly exotic foil for the Mathias, and a sizzling tour de force on its own. Ginastera purposely wrote an outrageously difficult solo part; chewing on the strings and throwing the harp fifty yards down the auditorium aisles are practically the only things that the harpist isn't asked to do (they might make a neat sound, though). The South American influence is strong, and where I find Villa-Lobos a little too self-consciously picturesque at times, Ginastera pumps this concerto up with uninhibited sweat and sex. Imagine Prokofiev's Scythian Suite gone Latin.

I'm anxious to hear Nicanor Zabaleta's DG recording of the Ginastera—he gave the work's first performance—but it still isn't on CD. I can't imagine how he could be significantly more persuasive than Ann Hobson Pilot, who has been the principal harpist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1980, and is a faculty member of the New England Conservatory of Music. Her teachers included Mary Ann Castaldo, Marilyn Costello, Edna Phillips (who commissioned the Ginastera), and Alice Chalifoux. She sounds comfortable with the technical demands of both works. Luminous in the Mathias and low-down in the Ginastera, she contrasts the two works nicely. I can imagine a more authentic accompaniment than that provided by Jackson and the ECO, but they hold up their end of the bargain. Finally, the recording is dry and realistic. It must have been tempting to create a sonic boom in these scores, but Fine and engineer Antony Howell are to be commended for the natural sound that comes out of this disc.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm enthusiastic about this CD! (If only it were longer.)

-- Raymond Tuttle, FANFARE [11/1994] Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for Harp, Op. 50 by William Mathias
Performer:  Anne Hobson Pilot (Harp)
Conductor:  Isaiah Jackson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1970; Wales, UK 
Length: 27 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Concerto for Harp, Op. 25 by Alberto Ginastera
Performer:  Anne Hobson Pilot (Harp)
Conductor:  Isaiah Jackson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; Argentina 
Length: 22 Minutes 31 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title